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Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins’ 10 Boldest Statements From Best Of Breed 2021

‘Software … allows us to move faster, innovate more quickly and allows the customer to actually get to the outcome faster. And if we get it right, it’s better for both our business models because [it provides] more predictability. But we have to get it right because it’s complicated to figure all that out,’ Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins tells an audience of solution providers.

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On Cisco’s Software Transition

The software transition--and I have to be careful because we still have great people building really good hardware--what we want to do is just bring more software to the portfolio and solve problems together with partners. Software … allows us to move faster, innovate more quickly [and] allows the customer to actually get to the outcome faster. And if we get it right, it’s better for both our business models because [it provides] more predictability. But we have to get it right because it’s complicated to figure all that out.

We just exited our last fiscal year--we rationalized a $16 billion run rate in software--we did $4 billion last quarter. And 80-plus percent of that is coming from subscriptions. So, it’s been a pretty good journey. We have more software from a balance sheet, which makes the quarterly rhythm a little less hectic than it was when I took over. But then the issue is, internally, we had a whole lot of things we have to do right to get the systems and everything [in place]. And one of the things I probably underestimated or didn’t understand because I’ve never done it before was the need to have the operational capabilities moving at a pace that the offerings were moving. We actually moved building offers faster and we made a few mistakes. We didn’t drive enough consistency in our licensing structures up front. And then we had to figure out the program because it’s super complicated to actually figure out how we can build programs that have profitability lined up with your cash flow needs, relative to when the customers are paying for these kinds of things, and that was more complicated as well. One thing I’ve told the team all along is, I don’t know what the solution is but the answer is we have to do it with our partner community, and that’s just the way it is.

 
 
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