About Cisco Systems, Inc. (IT Consulting)

Cisco inferno

Cisco Systems designs, makes and sells internet protocol-based networking products, as well as other products used in the communications and IT industry.  It additionally provides advisory and support services associated with the use of its own or similar products.  The firm specializes in the transfer of data, voice and video through its routers, switches and other advanced technologies.  Its clients include large enterprises, public institutions, telecommunications companies and commercial businesses, while its products can be found even in private residences.

The firm's enormous success and size, it has more than 100 offices worldwide and made almost $40 billion in sales in 2008, belie its humble beginnings.  In 1984, Sandra Lerner and Leonard Bosack, two Stanford computer support staffers who named their startup after the city of San Francisco, developed the blue box, one of the first multiprotocol routers.  Early networks were able to transfer and share data, but compatibility between computers was an obstacle.  Cisco's routers enabled computers to communicate across different network protocols.  Some venture capitalists recognized Cisco's potential in 1987, supplying $2 million in funding that led to the development of interior gateway routing protocol, a key element of the first large internets.  The firm was listed on the Nasdaq in 1990, and soon after, the world wide web began to enter the national consciousness.  The sudden demand for network communication products allowed Cisco to expand globally, opening locations in multiple locations in Europe, South America and Asia.  The firm's growth was also bolstered by an aggressive acquisition strategy, and by 2000, it was a multi-billion dollar enterprise.


Cisco's routers and switches have become essential vectors for much of the internet communication between businesses, governments and even individual personal computers.  If data is sent far enough, it will eventually pass along a Cisco system, if not many times.  This universality is mirrored in the firm's spectrum of products, which can be applied to the most complex networks, but are also available for the functions of home networking, small businesses, service providers and consumers.  Cisco's name will surely crop up even more in daily vernacular, after a March 2009 announcement that it would begin to build its own servers, pushing it into direct competition with HP and IBM.

Because of the broad applicability of its products and services, the firm targets a range of industries, including the energy, financial services, government, real estate, health care, legal, manufacturing, retail, public safety, and media and entertainment.  Services and products are frequently sold as a bundle, ensuring that any implemented systems operate at peak efficiency and continue to make use of the most up-to-date software.  

For example, in November 2008, Al-Othaim Markets, a supermarket chain in Saudi Arabia, tapped Cisco to build and maintain its entire system architecture, as well as provide data center services.  The project will result in all of the client's supermarkets being connected to a single network for inventory, delivery, sales data and other retail functions.  In October of that year, meanwhile, the firm helped Hofstra University deploy a wireless network for use during the final presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama.  More than 3,000 media representatives used the network to blog, broadcast and communicate.  And in December 2007, AT&T chose the firm's Carrier Routing System-1 as the platform of its IP/MPLS backbone network, responsible for the global delivery of voice, video, data and mobility services.  

Slices of the pie

Cisco's global strategic consulting unit is known as the internet business solutions group.  It advises Global Fortune 500 companies and public organizations on issues of customer experience, global IP economics, supply chain management, business technology, network accelerated innovation and workforce optimization, communication and collaboration.  Services typically account for around 15 percent of total annual revenue, a figure that also includes software development and networking services, such as application networking services and network management.  The remaining 85 percent of revenue comes from the sale of routers and switches, and related products.

Cisco Systems, Inc. (IT Consulting)

170 West Tasman Drive
San Jose, CA 95134
Phone: (800) 553-NETS


  • Employer Type: Public
  • Stock Symbol: CSCO
  • Stock Exchange: NASDAQ
  • President and CEO: John T Chambers
  • 2011 Employees: 70,000

Major Office Locations

  • San Jose, CA

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