CRN Exclusive: Cisco Consolidates IoT, Cloud Organizations; Appoints New Leaders
New CEO Chuck Robbins continues to restructure Cisco to fit into his vision of a faster, "flatter" company by consolidating Cisco's Internet-of-Everything software and cloud businesses into two new organizations with new leaders.
Robbins has consolidated Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group and its Software Platforms Group into an organization led by Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's collaboration group, according to sources familiar with the situation. The San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant's IoT Software Group as well as its Industry Vertical Solutions Group will now report to Trollope as well.
The new CEO is also consolidating its three separate cloud organizations under one leader, Yvette Kanouff, senior vice president and general manager of Service Provider Video Software & Solutions Group. Kanouff will lead a new organization that combines Cisco's Cloud Virtualization Group, Cloud Infrastructure Services and SP Video Software and Services teams.
"I have not seen anything that Chuck's done where I've not understood it or it hasn't made sense with the overall strategy," said Chris Bottger, senior vice president of collaboration services at IVCi, a Hauppauge, N.Y.-based solution provider and Cisco Gold partner ranked No. 226 on the CRN 2015 SP500. "Cisco has traditionally been a very layered company, so flattening it is absolutely the right thing to do. I think in years gone by, [what] would often slow them down was probably their own internal layering, and that's being fundamentally changed."
Cisco sources also said the company will be consolidating its IoT systems into the company's core product groups. Cisco's IoT hardware, led by Richard House, senior director of engineering for Internet of Things Group, will become part of the company's Enterprise Networking Group. The company's IoT software, led by Rajiv Taneja -- vice president, Internet of Things -- is slated to be part of Cisco's Core Software Group.
Bill Smeltzer, chief technology officer of Focus Technology Solutions, a Seabrook, N.H.-based Cisco partner ranked No. 431 on the CRN 2015 SP500, said Cisco's consolidating its IoT/IoE is the right move, as the emerging market covers a broad set of spaces.
"Consolidation of that IoE is important because a lot of the technology in that area is not going to be what we deemed as the core networking technology," said Smeltzer. "As they develop technology for IoT, I think it will go across any vertical or any application they're using IoT for."
"It's just so far away with what people want to do with IoT, so having that under one area does make a lot sense. That ties into the analytics consolidation aspect too, because of the power of the IoT," said Smeltzer.
Partners say former longtime CEO John Chambers molded Cisco, but Robbins is restructuring it to meet the speed of demand in the digital age.
"Chambers' tenure was very, very long -- things were structured the way that John Chambers structured it," said Smeltzer. "[Robbins] is not moving things around just for the sake of moving things around."
Solution providers said that although some popular channel veterans -- such as Edison Peres, Richard McLeod and Bruce Klein -- have left the company since the appointment of Robbins, the key strategic decisions he's made based on speed have been welcomed in the channel.
"Rowan [Trollope] has proven how quick Cisco can move, like with [cloud-based collaboration app] Spark, so he can take that philosophy and now apply it to the IoT parts of the business," said IVCi's Bottger. "The things he's done in terms of cleaning up the whole product line, how he's been involved in the [acquisition of cloud API platform provider] Tropo piece."
"Cisco wants to know how to behave and produce like an entrepreneurial company, but inside of a $50 billion company, and I think Rowan has proven he can do that," he said.
Trollope recently spoke via Periscope after the unveiling of the partnership between Cisco and Apple and is one of the few remaining Cisco executives to have spoken on the main stage during Cisco Partner Summer 2015 this year.
PUBLISHED SEPT. 10, 2015