Cisco CEO Chambers on CEOs of the Future

Cisco CEO John Chambers used his Gartner conference keynote to talk how IT pros can justify costs to CEOs.

ORLANDO, FL--During his keynote presentation at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2010 here on Oct. 20, Cisco CEO John Chambers focused on the enterprise need to incorporate a wide variety of consumer devices within IT infrastructure--and wrestle with the resulting security and reliability issues.

Cisco itself "tried to limit devices," Chambers said, but "it became very obvious four years ago that we wouldn't be able to do that." That apparently help develop Cisco's current vision of providing network intelligence and tools capable of delivering content to users anywhere on any device, anywhere in the world. Deploying that network, in turn, involves advances in cloud, virtualization, and other technology.

Chambers took issue with the idea that a network could be run on a system of "dumb pipes" guided by a localized, server-centric intelligence. "Intelligence will be spread throughout the entire fabric of the network," he said. "A server separate from the network separate from storage ... is not the right way to approach it. I would never enter the server business as standalone; I'd enter it connected to the network and applications and software."

For the CIOs and other IT pros listening, however, the bigger question may be how to sell their CEO on the concept of such an intelligent network--and the costs that go with it. Pressed by Gartner analysts, Chambers insisted that his company's products contribute to customers' productivity.

"You talk to [a CEO] about clouds and network and video..." he said, following with a snoring sound. "It's about revenue per employee." For CEOs, he added, the first question is "how can I use my assets more productively?" The second is, "What are my new revenue streams?" Technology can contribute to both of those goals, according to Chambers: "We're going to see an inflection point where CEOs start to talk about ... evolving technology as a constant theme."

For more, read the eWeek article Cisco CEO Chambers Talks Video, IT Costs, CEOs of the Future.

This article was originally published on 10-20-2010
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