Robert Whiteley at Forrester Research has done an interesting blog post that should catch the eye of CIOs doing business with Cisco (read: most CIOs.)Whiteley asks this question: “How many $40 billion-plus vendors out there sell mostly hardware? None.” Cisco is marching toward becoming a software company, Whiteley notes, and he has some thought-provoking predictions about what this will mean:
1. Cisco needs software development talent. In fact, to compete with HP, IBM, and Microsoft, it needs to acquire someone like BEA, Whiteley predicts. Intriguing idea. Someone’s going to acquire BEA soon. Will it be Cisco?
2. Cisco is eyeing virtualization. Whiteley says Cisco needs to get a stake in the virtualized data center, maybe even create some products specifically targeted toward VMware environments. Well, sure, every company is trying to figure out how its pricing models and future can be best shaped to accommodate virtualized data centers. But is the Cisco brand key to most enterprises’ vision of the virtualized data center? I am interested to hear how Cisco will stake its claim.
3. Cisco’s consumer strategy needs work. As Whiteley notes, “For the digital home, Cisco wants to “be the platform for work and play” and part of the “human network.” But they’ve got to do more than sell Linksys at Best Buy, Whiteley says. Agreed. Do you think home technology when you think Cisco? Or do you think about the wireless access points in your enterprise?
As a CIO, you can bet that the software part of this prediction list may be top of mind for Cisco as it strives to build out its revenue streams. So what do you think, WebLogic users? Would a Cisco/BEA marriage be made in heaven? If not, what kind of software and software talent would you like to see Cisco own?