Cisco was founded in 1984 as a global technology powerhouse and a very admired corporation. Its seminal breakthrough of the router connecting two different computer networks laid the seed for the internet enabled networking industry. Looking ahead, Cisco is positioned to lead the evolution of the network to enable a ‘connected future’ which is increasingly collaborative, video-driven, personalized, and mobile. With more than 7,000 patents, Cisco today is the worldwide leader in networking technologies that are changing how the world works, lives, plays and learns. The company’s commitment to innovation and customers have been key to Cisco’s success over the years — and it helps shape the future of the Internet by creating unprecedented value and opportunity for customers, employees, investors and ecosystem partners.
In less than fifteen years since 1984, Cisco achieved the feat of the most valuable company ever on earth when its market cap soared to 500+ billion dollars during the dot.com boom era. Cisco is one of Fortune's most admired companies, and has been a technology bellwether, has successfully managed multiple transitions in its last 25 years plus years of existence. In the mid-1990s, for example, Cisco was strictly a router and switch vendor. But over time it has moved from making gear for data networks to providing all kinds of equipment for voice communications and video systems, highlighted by products like Cisco TelePresence. The company has also become much more focused on software to make networks work even better for communicating, collaborating, and entertaining. Perhaps more importantly, Cisco has also been able to reinvent its business operations – continuously!
Cisco is also widely credited as the tech company which has done the maximum number of acquisitions in the last 10 years and it scores as the leader in a number of areas and initiatives. Understanding Cisco’s mind and its style of execution is something that every investor, partner, executives across many industies show interest in. Inder Sidhu, Cisco’s senior VP has come out with a lovely book titled Doing Both describing Cisco’s strategy for success. Inder Sidhu points out that by pursuing new and existing business models alike — Cisco has positioned itself to be as nimble as it is strong and as flexible as it is precise. That, contends Sidhu, helps Cisco when the market transitions frequently! It should be noted that this book is not about technology. Instead, it addresses the fundamental dilemma that every business struggles with at some point — making a choice between two equally attractive strategic alternatives. Some of the nature of choices Cisco had to navigate through as brought out in the book include: