Oct 15, 2016, 02.53 PM | Source: CNBC-TV18
Cisco chief expects the India business to contribute as much as ten percent of the company's total revenues in the next few years.
“I think India should get 10 percent our revenues in the next few years and then we will see where we go from there,” said Robbins.
He said: “There are some unique requirements based on what they are trying to achieve, and the things that we have introduced is a notion of co-innovation and co-development with some of our larger customers. It really understands what is it they really need that is unique because using what we find after we dig into it isn’t unique. But they are leading in around for the certain area so we have done some development here in India.”
Below is the verbatim transcript of Chuck Robbins’s interview to Ronojoy Banerjee on CNBC-TV18.
Q: Since this is your first television interview here in India as the CEO, allow me to take you back to May 2015 when you were appointed as the new CEO, Cisco taking over from John Chambers, 18 months ago. I remember John in one of his initial press conferences called you the execution man, he is somebody who could translate plans into real action and you have been executing a lot of this major transformation, the first of its kind in its 30 year old history. Talk to us a little bit about it, how has the journey been so far?
A: It is a pleasure to be here. It has been a great week here in India; we will talk about that. However, the last 18 months have been fascinating and as you know, the technology landscape is changing just so rapidly. The great news for all of us in technology is that technology becoming more important to our customers, technology is actually becoming the heart of how companies and countries define their strategy in the future as oppose to just it is sort of how we enable our strategy. It has become part of the strategy.
What that means is that our customer expectations are changing so rapidly, the role that we are playing is continuing to evolve and how our customers want to consume the technology is changing. What I mean by that is they fundamentally need to get to whatever business outcome they are trying to get to more quickly and that requires us to move more quickly, it requires us to think about how we package our solutions differently so this is sort of why customers want to buy from the cloud or buy as a service because it allows them to get that benefit more affectively. So, all of that and also the geopolitical dynamics, economic dynamics, all of those things just require us to move at a pace that we have never moved before.
Q: Talk to us a little bit about India because this is your first visit in India as a CEO and you have announced India will be the 12th country where you will be setting up the manufacturing operations. What does it mean for Cisco in India for you to make that sort of announcement?
A: India is just such an incredibly exciting place and it is incredibly important country for Cisco. If you go back to 1995, that is when we first came in to India, and then almost a decade ago we made a decision that this would be our second world global headquarters. Now, we employee just under 11,000 employees here, we have built a massive ecosystem in India with 3,000 partners, great interaction with many of the global systems integrators and then 15 months ago we met with prime minister Modi and understood his vision for digital India and at the time, sort of the second big thing we have done in India was we made a commitment to really align and invest to help achieve that vision and to participate very directly in this amazing journey that is going on here.
In this week, the third major thing which was actually one of the priorities that the prime minister laid out, but it also was just something that makes good business sense for us, we announced manufacturing here in India as part of the Make In India campaign. So, the way I think about India for Cisco is that we do have a 360 degree relationship here. It is not just a country we sell technology, it is also an area where we do deep R&D, we do deep innovation, every function of our company is actually represented here in India. Out IT organisation, our legal organisation, our sales organisation, our services organisation and now you have this ability to go through the early innovation cycle, drive the development of the technology and we could take it all the way through to the supply chain and not that mention that our business here has been really good. So, our local team has done such a good job that India was selected as the country of the year for Cisco in our last fiscal year.
Q: In fact India has been coming up in your conference calls also for the last I think nine quarters.
A: We have a lot of pressure on Dinesh Malkani, our local leader here. I told him that he needed to be country of the year for the next decade.
Q: Talking about numbers, just allow me to sort of let my viewers also know how India has performed. In the quarter ending July, the India revenues grew 20 percent whereas in some of the other big markets, China declined 12 percent, emerging markets overall fell 6 percent. What is happening, what is Dinesh telling you, why is and mind you, this growth in India revenues is not on low base effect, the base is already quite high so what is happening?
A: Dinesh tells me it is just absolute phenomenal leadership on his part. I think there is a combination, first of all I am joking but we do have a world class team here and they are doing an amazing job. However, also the country has a very clear plan and around the world there are several leaders who understand truly that technology has to be a key element of how they move their country forward and it has been fascinating even over the last 15 months to just see how the vision that prime minister Modi laid out and frankly the vision that many of the state leaders have as well, how consistently the technology is now being leveraged to achieve these missions.
So, the issues around just driving gross domestic product (GDP) growth, looking at smart cities to help deal with urbansation that is going to be occurring here, the education and the commitment to skilling students around technology.
Q: You see technology becoming a sort of a central piece in policymaking now? It is not a periphery anymore?
A: It seems to be core. It is the core and there is probably three things that are going on. Number one, we do have a great team here, so, I don’t want to underestimate that and we believe in India and have invested here for long time. Secondly, technology has been the find as a key element of the fundamental strategy of this country going forward and I think that our commitment and investments and alignments around those initiatives have helped us create a partnership with the country that we certainly appreciate and I think that all those things including the great GDP growth for a country that size is certainly helping as well.