On the 21st of August, Mr Animesh Kumar, HR Business Partner and ER Manager of Cisco Systems India, visited IIT Kanpur and gave a talk on corporate strategy and acquisitions, and the strategic ecosystem with focus on Cisco India.
The session started on a lighter note, with an easy demeanor,and this was maintained throughout. Mr Kumar talked about the vision, goal and strategy of Cisco and how it is implemented constantly despite the changes that the company has gone through over a span of around 30 years of its existence. Showing some of the current trends and future projections in the networking industry, we got a brief idea about how cloud computing has currently become the most prevalent technology, and about the shift towards the Internet of Things (IoT) concept, which is known as the Internet of Everything (IoE) in Cisco. It is a concept of connecting “people, programs, data and things”, wherein everything around you will be connected via wireless networks and can make a revolutionary change in the way the world works.
Mr Kumar also talked about how surprisingly only 0.6% of all devices, appliances and ‘things’ are connected in the world, with the potential to connect the remaining 99.4% as well. He claimed that since with less than 1% connectivity, innovation at such amazing scale has taken place, the potential for innovation can only be imagined for when full connectivity is achieved. He talked about how hyperconnectivity can greatly increase speed, lower cost, and increase the volume of innovation.
The seminar took another turn with a description of the strategy of Cisco Systems, which was mainly focused on hardware – routers and switches, architecture – security systems and inter-cloud collaboration, and the outcomes – data analytics and IoT. He described how Cisco applies five concepts, namely: Build, Buy, Partner, Invest, and Co-development, in order to continuously grow in an industry which is changing and expanding at an incredible pace. There was also a brief given about the importance of divestment, keeping the organisation lean, and investment in areas of rising potential in order to stay relevant.
Other then the technicalities, the emphasis on the importance of improving and diversifying one’s skills on the job in order to stay current with the prevalent scenarios of the industry was also mentioned, as complacency will not lead to growth and might even result in obsolescence. Mr. Kumar talked about how Cisco also followed this practice of improving skills of existing employees by providing them on the job training as well as allowing them to work on cutting edge technology in their numerous incubation centers.
There was also a description on how this approach allowed Cisco to function in the best manner possible. It allowed the firm to “see around corners”, accelerate innovation, and helps in providing end to end solutions to customers. This is part of Cisco’s shift from a hardware oriented company to a solutions and security oriented company while still leveraging its reach and reputation it gained via its product manufacturing network.
Mr. Kumar also talked about how Cisco was working in collaboration with industrial giants such as Ericsson and Apple in a mutually beneficial partnership, and even presented videos to the same effect. He talked about how Cisco believed in acquiring firms that showed potential of growth in the new technology sector, and that Cisco had acquired around 185 companies till date. He went on to elaborate upon the procedure that Cisco follows when the Corporate Development team identifies a potential company for acquisition, right up to the point where the company is fully integrated into Cisco.
There were highly valuable insights given into the nuances of the industry and especially the industrial icon that Cisco is. Mr. Kumar parted with advice to the students about the importance of understanding the business model of any company, and how it would help in understanding our own role better, and contribute to the organisation in a much better manner.