Not Your Father’s Cisco
Cisco Systems is in the midst of a major transformation. The tech giant is making big moves that don’t necessarily involve new technologies or product launches.
Instead, Cisco is making headlines by pursuing a major business model transformation in favor of software and services, while shedding its legacy as primarily a hardware provider. Under the direction of Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins, the company vowed to transition the majority of its portfolio to an Everything-as-a-Service model. Robbins made it clear that every Cisco product would be evaluated, and nothing would be off the table. To that end, Cisco in April unveiled Cisco Plus, a new sales motion that is delivering networking, security, compute, storage, applications and observability offerings as a service to customers through channel partners. Cisco partners are currently in trial with the first of those offerings, which is getting rave reviews from both the channel and end customers transforming their own IT infrastructures. At the same time, Cisco realized it had to make it easier to buy IT. With that in mind, the Cisco Enterprise Agreement (EA) 3.0 was introduced with great fanfare in November as a new way for customers to buy from Cisco’s five portfolios with one set of terms and conditions.
On the channel front, Cisco made good on its promise for big changes to its partner program structure and in April rolled out the most significant changes in more than a decade. The newly simplified partner program honors the distinct roles that partners are playing with their customers.
San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco made some leadership changes, too. Its executive leadership team saw promotions of two Cisco veterans, Fran Katsoudas and Liz Centoni. Maria Martinez was also raised up to the chief operating officer seat. The security business got a new leader, too: Shaila Shankar, who replaces Gee Rittenhouse as senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Security Business Group.
As if that wasn’t enough news, then came the acquisitions—five deals closed in 2021, in fact. To name a few, Cisco landed Contact-Center-as-a-Service provider IMImobile for $730 million to boost its flagship Webex platform and app monitoring specialist Epsagon for a reported $500 million.
Here are the 10 biggest Cisco news stories of the year.