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Come Behind the Scenes of Tech Pioneer Cisco, Part 2

What is the goal of the technology? Where is the technology in its lifecycle? Is a customer buying components, an architecture or a system? How critical is the technology or the end-users needs? What is the technical capability of the customer and is other services required for success? What is the risk profile of the customer in a particular situation for a particular solution? When a customer evaluates an acquisition is he/she also taking into account the cost to maintain, to operate, to hire knowledgeable, quality engineers? I can build you a usable communication system with barbed wire, string and a few tin cups, but is that what you want in a hospital, or being used by first responders or in our classrooms?

Our goal is to provide competitively priced solutions that address our customer's needs that allow them to operate into the future. Lasting relationships are never developed on the price of a product or a solution but what happens when that product and solution is in production. We stand by our customers and ensure we support their needs. You can't put a price, a discount or a rebate on that type of approach. To reiterate, we provide competitive solutions focused on customer needs. I believe that solving customer problems creates the financial impact that is required.

Question #8

Cisco has acquired a good number of businesses through the years. On day 1, 30, and 90 from new people arriving at Cisco, how do you seek to integrate them into the Cisco culture and measure their performance?

Our main goal when we acquire a company is to let the individuals who created and have mastered their technologies before joining Cisco continue to do what they do best. One great example of working with an acquired company is Cisco-Meraki. We acquired Meraki, a San Francisco-based maker of Wi-Fi, security and mobile device management for medium-sized businesses, in December 2012. The tight-knit, young, do-it-yourself culture of Meraki was something that we wanted to preserve while integrating the 300 plus employees into our organization.

As part of that process, we created an innovation-friendly workspace in San Francisco for Cisco-Meraki employees that felt similar to their old office. Earlier, I mentioned the importance of inclusion, and that means creating a work environment that respects and appreciates differences, including diverse perspectives, work experiences, life styles and cultures. These differences are sources and drivers of innovation.

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Earlier, we talked about leaders being responsible for the vision and the mission. At Cisco, we make sure that our new employees are clear on the "road map" that our leaders have established. We then have to trust that this person has demonstrated their ability to do great things, and we have to give them the freedom to do what they do well in their own way.

It is important that we create this culture for new, acquired and tenured employees to ensure we have a healthy environment. We measure everything at Cisco but we focus our measurements on execution and outcomes. Many of our acquisition do the same thing. As we work through the integration process, we are aware of the "People, Process and Technology" that needs to be considered in order to create success.

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