Cisco CEO sings praises of Web 2.0 future

Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers said today that collaboration and Web 2.0 technologies will drive productivity for the next decade, and he's betting his business on it.

Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers said today that collaboration and Web 2.0 technologies will drive productivity for the next decade, and he's betting his business on it.

In an address to industry attendees at the Trans-Tasman Business Circle lunch in Sydney, the Cisco boss said business productivity was starting to drop as the first phase of the Internet tailed off. However, the next wave was just about here, Chambers said.

"The next wave will be about collaboration and Web 2.0."

Web 2.0 was simply a set of technologies that enabled collaboration, according to Chambers.

"And while social networking or Web services are part of it, it's also this TelePresence, virtual capability, unified communications," he said.

"This will, in my opinion, drive productivity for the next decade. And I'm going to go out on a limb and say ... if you don't understand the power of this collaboration, you'll get left behind as a company, as a country.

"Without a new phase -- what I believe Web 2.0 collaboration is, you will not get a productivity increase."

Chambers is in Australia for meetings with customers, in particular Telstra. Chambers met Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo yesterday coinciding with the carrier's unveiling of its AU$1.5 billion IP core.

Chambers said his insights were drawn from a recent conversation with the former head of the US federal reserve, Alan Greenspan.

The Internet had powered previously unthinkable productivity gains in the economy over the last 10 years, Chambers said. Collaboration technologies would be the driving force for the next 10.

He then explained how Cisco was acting on his predictions already.

Company management were using collaboration technologies and wikis in planning potential acquisitions, he said. Previously this was a paper-based environment. As a result, the speed and communication improvements had seen the time taken to acquire a company drop from 45 days previously, to eight today, said Chambers.

Cisco was also embracing videoconferencing in its business operations, in preference to travelling for meetings. The result would save the company US$150 million in travel expenses next year.

"I know for a fact that's going to occur because I've already taken the budget away from everyone," he said.

In another example, Chambers said 11 of his top executive staff had been redeployed to Bangalore, India, where Cisco continues to ramp up its staff. The redeployed executives would mainly communicate with the US via videoconferencing, according to Chambers.

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