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Chambers: Cisco will become the number 1 IT company

John Gallant | July 23, 2013
Cisco boss talks about how SDN fits into its architecture, what Insieme is all about and why the Internet of Everything matters to IT pros.

Nobody's even thinking about putting the features into the silicon that we think are going to be required at the edge of network. We have probably two to four years of leadership there, and that assumes they start today to put it in their ASICs, which most of them have not even thought about doing. Everybody's doing the data center. I mean that's old world. It's how you take this data center to the cloud and meld this seamlessly with the network and accomplish the power of it, in my opinion.

So, John, let's talk about Internet of Everything. What should IT people be doing to lead this?
This is exactly what many customers ask. If you stay where you were, your job is keeping the lights on in a data center, with servers separate from storage, separate from switching, separate from software, separate from the cloud, separate from ease-of-use. If your ability to bring services to your customers or to your consumers or for your internal use [entails] cycles of one, two and three years, you will get left behind, with 90% of decisions going to the end user. Now we've all seen that movie.

As that happens, it will feel good for a couple of years and then you go: I can't combine them. I can't show you the data. I've got security problems. I've got more people maintaining the patchwork effect. That's a bad outcome too, although in the short term it might have some attractiveness. All of a sudden you can see a company move into this No.1 position in terms of the ability to deliver. And that's what we're going to try to do.

So what does it mean?  Should a CIO be the one who is developing the ideas for how to capitalize on the Internet of Everything? Who's driving that, and who should be driving it?
The interesting thing is when I talked to the Internet of Everything concepts two or three years ago - remember we started on smart, connected communities five-and-a-half years ago, we did Smart Grid four years ago, we did interconnected industries over two years ago - the techies got interested but not the top decision makers. That has changed in the last 12 months. They get it. You don't have to explain to Lee Scott, prior CEO at Walmart, or now Mike Duke what this means on retail. He watches it. He gets it. He knows that he can automate his parking lots, to following his customers, with their permission, through the stores to see what they buy, see what they don't buy. He can do his virtual walk-through that they did Saturday morning, and then walk through a number of stores through the week. He can do it at every store in the world combined. He can change completely his supply chain and efficiencies within it. He can interface to the consumers differently than ever before.


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