Bull's Eye Awards: Chief Executives of the Year
Cisco sure decided to mix things up in 2009. A traditional networking company entering an unfamiliar blade server market at the beginning of the new year shocked the industry. More so, Cisco’s entrance into the conventional rack server market several months later really threw down the gauntlet.
But the fact is that savvy CEO John Chambers has embraced the concept of data center convergence, from his push into unified communications to the foray into a server market now dominated by the likes of competitors HP and IBM. Chambers, the Champion for our Bull’s Eye CEO of the Year, is a smart, aggressive leader, acquisitive when he identifies a company or technology he believes will further Cisco’s goals and also willing to grow the company organically when that route is more fitting.
This past year, Chambers made no bones about expanding Cisco’s reach beyond its comfort zone. In addition to the server play, Chambers presided over Cisco’s efforts to define the unified communications market and as part of that enable partners to sell into these more sophisticated and ultimately higher-margin opportunities. Collaborative solutions that span voice, data, video and other solutions require partners to sharpen their business acumen and solutions sales technique. Cisco, under Chambers’ direction, has recognized that and worked on enablement practices that drive partners toward training and specializations that will focus their practices and allow them to see profitability in this new domain.
Cisco routinely puts on the model partner conference each year; in fact its Velocity event captured the Bull’s Eye Partner Conference of the Year Champion award this year. Chambers doesn’t skip it, and in addition to being the marquee speaker each year he spends time off the stage rubbing elbows with partners and talking to them about real issues that affect their businesses and relationship to Cisco.
Keeping a sharp eye on where the future of the industry is headed, then enabling the partner base needed to help drive you there is the mark of a true champion.