Cisco Systems Cuts Hundreds From Customer Experience Organization


Cisco Systems has pushed through a round of layoffs in its Customer Experience business, saying the changes are part of the networking giant's continuing transformation into a software- and subscription sales-led organization.

"Over the last several years, we have been transforming Cisco to deliver even greater value to our customers," a Cisco spokesperson said in a statement regarding the cuts. "We continue to make decisions to ensure that our investments and resources are aligned with strategic growth areas of the business."

The layoffs came Monday, less than nine months after Cisco brought on Maria Martinez to lead the Customer Experience organization. Martinez joined the company last March with a $13 million new hire cash bonus and a salary of $675,000, according to a recent Cisco U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Martinez, a Salesforce and Microsoft veteran, fits well with Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins' drive to refocus Cisco on software, services and recurring revenue.

Cisco considers the Customer Experience organization a key part of its transformation, as well as its overall growth strategy. The division is organized around the company's software, subscription and services offerings and is focused on driving value through anticipating customer needs and providing personalized services throughout the customer lifecycle.

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The cuts affect between 200 and 300 people in the Customer Experience organization, according to a report Tuesday in the Register. A senior executive at one large North American solution provider that works closely with Cisco told CRN that range is accurate.

Cisco, which employs about 70,000 people worldwide, has nearly 4,000 positions open currently, leaving open the possibility of absorbing those being laid off into new roles. Also, the solution provider executive said the layoffs are an opportunity for Cisco partners to recruit customer experience professionals themselves.

"It's complementary for the channel, who is looking to recruit people," the executive, who wished to remain anonymous, said. "It's an opportunity for partners to recruit trained resources to build out their customer experience team around the software model. It's an opportunity to fill that gap. They know the people, they know the technology, so you're batting 1,000."