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Cisco Systems, Inc.
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2019 Vault Rankings

At a Glance

Uppers

Excellent work/life balance and flexible work options

Good benefit package

Downers

Finding a career path and earning promotions can be challenging for some employees

The Bottom Line

Cisco Systems is a well-respected technology company with a top reputation as employer.

About Cisco Systems, Inc.

Cisco Systems is leading maker of the network gear -- routers, switches, and servers as well as software -- that moves information around the internet and corporate networks. The company, which has dominated the market for internet protocol-based networking equipment, also makes security devices, internet conferencing systems and other networking equipment for businesses and government agencies. Software that controls networks has become an increasing focus for Cisco, which also provides consulting services. Most sales come from customers in the Americas. Cisco's primary customers are large enterprises and telecommunications service providers, but it also sells products designed for small businesses.

Operations

Cisco offers products and services in four categories.

The company's infrastructure platforms, which generate about 60% of its revenue, consist of switching, routing, wireless, and data center products that provide networking capabilities and transport and store data.

Applications, which account for more 10% of revenue, are primarily software-related offerings that run on the company's networking and data center platforms. The applications include collaboration offerings (unified communications, Cisco TelePresence, and conferencing) as well as AppDynamics and Internet of Things software. 

The Security product category, about 5% of revenue, includes network security, cloud and email security, identity and access management, advanced threat protection, and unified threat management products. 

The Other Products category, 1% of revenue, consists of cloud and system management products. 

The Services segment, about 25% of revenue, provides service and support for customers, including technical support.

Cisco contracts with independent third-party companies to make printed-circuit boards, conduct in-circuit testing, assemble products, and make repairs.

Geographic Reach

Cisco does well in the US and the Americas, which account for some 60% of its sales. Internationally, Cisco runs up against competitors like Huawei and Nokia, which have strongholds in Asia and Europe, respectively. Cisco gets about 25% of its revenue from customers in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region and customers in the Asia/Pacific, China, and Japan region supply about 15%.

Cisco's headquarters is in San Jose, California, and it has regional headquarters in Amsterdam and Singapore. The company has  significant operations in Australia, Belgium, China, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Poland, and the UK.

Financial Performance

Cisco's revenue has trended higher in the past five years with some fluctuations on the way. The company's net income has followed a similar pattern.

In 2019 (ended July), revenue rose about 5% to $51.9 billion, about $2.6 billion higher than the $49.3 billion recorded in 2018. Much of the growth in 2019 came from product revenue in the US, where total revenue increased $1.9 billion. Sales in China, however, fell 16%. Sales in Security and Applications were up 16% and 15%, respectively, and the Infrastructure Platforms segment's sales were 7% higher. Service revenue ticked 2% higher year-over-year.

Net income for 2019 jumped to $11.6 billion compared to $110 million in 2018, when taxes took a cut of about $12.9 billion (due to the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act). Higher sales, a 15% reduction in general and administrative costs, and a lower tax rate combined to produce the stronger 2019 bottom line, which was more in line with past years' profits. 

In 2019, Cisco had about $11.7 billion in cash compared to $8.9 billion in 2018. Its operations generated $15.8 billion in 2019 and investing activities provided $14.8 billion, while financing activities used $27.9 billion (including $20.7 billion spent to repurchase stock).

Strategy

Cisco has been a hardware company, making the switches and routers and other devices that transfer information. But it is building up its software offerings for cloud computing and software-defined networks (SDN). Telecom service providers, in particular, are moving toward SDN to program their networks. In response, Cisco is shifting its business to more of a subscription and software-based model. To address the emergence of SDN, the company offers its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), which delivers centralized application-driven policy automation, management, and visibility of both physical and virtual environments as a single system. The system is composed of Cisco's Nexus 9000 portfolio of switches, improved versions of its NX-OS operating system, and the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC).

In another software-related strategy the company’s Cisco DNA Center, a centralized management dashboard for its intuitive network, and ETA are available through subscriptions on the Cisco Catalyst 9000 Series Switches. Such moves get Cisco closer to cloud-managed products and services across its networking portfolio. In 2019 (ended July), subscriptions accounted for 70% of Cisco's software revenue, 12% higher than 2018.

 

The company is using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools to make products smarter and increase automation and security. Cisco introduced an AI network analytics capability, which provides more visibility and insights across an entire enterprise network.

Cisco maintains a healthy level of cash that allows it to make several acquisitions a year and invest in research and development as well as pay dividends and buy back shares.

Slowing economic growth and trade tensions reduced Cisco's revenue in China 16% in 2019. Cisco believes it is a short-term situation and that its sales will rebound in China.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Cisco regularly acquires companies to expand technologies and fill gaps.

Cisco agreed to buy Voicea, which provides meeting transcription, voice search, and meeting highlights, to add to its Webex portfolio of products. Voicea's technology blends artificial intelligence and automated speech recognition to provide digital notes from meetings. The deal was expected to close in Cisco's quarter that ends Oct. 31, 2019. 

In 2019 Cisco agreed to buy Acacia Communications, which designs and manufactures high-speed, optical interconnect technologies, for about $2.6 billion. The deal allows Cisco to amplify its switching, routing, and optical networking products to address customer demanding for faster transmission of data. Acacia would join Cisco's Optical Systems and Optics business. The transaction was expected to close in second half of Cisco's 2020 fiscal year.

In 2019 Cisco acquired privately-held Luxtera, which uses silicon photonics to make chips with optics capabilities for faster transmission, for about $660 million. Cisco bought Luxtera's technology to increase the speed and capacity that its networking equipment can provide for webscale and enterprise data centers, service provider market segments, and other customers.

Also in 2018 Cisco acquired Duo Security, a developer of security software, for about $2.3 billion. Duo develops two-factor authentication software, which helps companies keep track of employees as they log in from multiple devices such as a computer at the office or a phone from home. The deal deepens Cisco's software portfolio and strengthens its security offerings.

 

Cisco Systems, Inc.

170 W TASMAN DR
San Jose, CA 95134-1706
Phone: 1 (408) 526-4000

Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: CSCO
Stock Exchange: , NASDAQ
SVP and Chief, Operations: Rebecca J. Jacoby
EVP and CFO: Kelly A. Kramer
Chairman and CEO: Charles H. Robbins
Employees (This Location): 700
Employees (All Locations): 74,200

Major Office Locations

San Jose, CA

Other Locations

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