After years of stagnant or lackluster growth, Extreme Networks tapped Oscar Rodriguez to bring new life to the switch maker in 2010. He scrutinized global operations, streamlined the product line and brought a new focus that he says will really come through this spring with a new wave of switches. Rodriguez shared his goals for Extreme in 2012 with Network World Editor-in-Chief John Dix and Managing Editor Jim Duffy.
Can you start by giving us a review of 2011 and what kind of progress you made, and how you plan to map that into 2012?
2011 really is a transition year for Extreme. I came on board at the end of August 2010, and my first three months here were really going around the world and talking to customers, partners and our own internal teams with an eye towards understanding what are our competencies, lining our competencies up with where the market is going. By December 2010 we had a strategy together of what we were going to do and we announced that strategy in January: Extreme was going to focus on specific market verticals. We selected three market verticals: cloud services and cloud computing; education; (and) large-scale mobility. You've got to have products that are purpose-built for mobility, purpose-built for the cloud, and the operating system is really now purpose-built for a lot of the things going on in education and that can then dovetail in to healthcare and other things like that. We also selected those verticals to have a halo effect on other things that we were doing in the business so we weren't going to give up the ghost on the existing business.
What we've done is selected places that we're going to compete from a focus perspective, and what that enables us to do is really two things: focus your R&D on building very specific products for those areas as opposed to trying to address the wide requirements and the wide marketplace; the other is it lets you focus your marketing and market awareness generation in those specific places where you want to win. So that's really our goal -- it's to really focus in those spaces and not ignore the rest of it. We removed old products that were not focused on these new markets. Then in the June quarter and September quarter we made significant changes to the staff of the company, we've reduced in places where we didn't need specific staff, we reduced products, we changed processes, we've made ourselves more efficient. We're in our new cost structure and have our new strategy going out the door and in to January.
How are your customers responding to your organizational changes, your product line changes, your vertical market focus?
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