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Cisco Evolves its Product Development Groups to Focus on Integration, Software and Collaboration

Organizational changes aim to help company take advantage of new business opportunities

December 6, 2007

Cisco today announced a new organizational model for its technology development organization designed to improve the company's ability to create products and systems for the next generation of communications technologies. News@Cisco spoke with Charlie Giancarlo, Cisco's executive vice president and chief development officer, about this reorganization and how Cisco hopes it will help the company continue its technology leadership.

What are the details of Cisco's organizational changes?

Charlie Giancarlo: We've consolidated a number of our related Technology Groups into larger business groups. The goal of this effort is to bring greater effectiveness and efficiencies to our product development operations. The biggest changes focus on our software groups, the data center business, and our core routing and switching businesses.

The new software group will be responsible for networking, management, communications and collaboration software. This large software organization will bring greater consistency, quality and greater integration to our product line. It will also provide for greater career opportunities to our software professionals.

The changes in our data center business will facilitate development of our next generation of virtualization services. The integration of a number of our Routing and Switching Technology Groups will enable us to drive greater consistency throughout these systems.

Along with these organizational changes, we are forming a Development Council made up of key leadership within the CDO, which I will chair. This council will be responsible for driving Cisco's ability to deliver more focused and integrated products and communications systems to its customers.

Why did Cisco make these changes?

Charlie Giancarlo: Cisco is entering what we believe will be the next phase of Internet innovation centered on the tremendous growth in video usage, the revolution in the data center, and collaborative Web 2.0 technologies. Because IP networks and Internet technologies have become the base of modern communications, we believe we now enjoy an increasing number of market and product opportunities. The changes taking place in CDO reflect our continued commitment to customer success and our drive to expand into new market opportunities.

What does Cisco see as the key benefits of these changes?

Charlie Giancarlo: We designed the new organizational structure to help us develop more integrated products and communications systems from conception through deployment, with the goal of reducing complexity for our customers and partners, thereby increasing quality. Also, the creation of larger groups of related businesses will enable us to do more with less. It should help each team drive greater efficiencies. They can then use the resulting productivity gains to invest in new activities. It will also improve the effectiveness of the teams by reducing the amount of complex interdependencies and interactions between non-aligned groups.

Finally, this new organizational structure will give us more flexibility. We are now competing in multiple markets and market segments, each requiring different processes, practices, and approaches. We designed our new management structure to give us the flexibility to customize and drive innovation in our approach to each market, while helping us focus our engineering efforts in the areas that we believe will drive the most growth for Cisco.

Many of the changes affect Cisco's software and data center groups. Why the focus on these areas?

Charlie Giancarlo: By placing all of our large software-based organizations in one group, it is our intent to drive greater consistency of our software services and features throughout all of our products. The consolidation of the groups will help drive best practices, facilitate career development for software professionals, enable the development of better tools and processes, and most importantly, improve the quality of our software from every perspective.

The changes to the data center group allow this important organization to focus on one of the most exciting new market opportunities, the transformation of the data center to a virtualized environment. The new Data Center, Switching and Services group will now have a very high degree of focus on the transformation of the data center created by innovations that Cisco is spearheading.

Are these changes related to Cisco's recent hiring of a new chief technology officer?

Charlie Giancarlo: No. They reflect Cisco's efforts to continually improve and remain the leader in modern communications technology. Our new chief technology officer, Padmasree Warrior, is not involved in these organizational changes. Her role will be to help shape and evangelize the technical vision for the company and work closely with top executives to guide the direction for Cisco's technology, markets, products, and services.

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