Cisco Systems (2001): Building and Sustaining a Customer-Centric Culture

1701 Words Jun 8th, 2012 7 Pages
Cisco Systems (2001): Building and Sustaining a Customer-Centric Culture

Introduction/General Problem Statement:

Doug Allred was Vice President of Customer Advocacy organization of the Cisco’s corporation. This organization was erected to consolidated all functions that directly touched the customer but sales to provide high-quality customer service. Since August 2001, the IT market turned down and brought severe challenges to Cisco as the company had to lay off 18% of its employees and reorganized its structure, transforming from decentralized organizational structure with three business units to centralized organization. However, these changes stabilized the volatile situation of the economy but threatened Cisco’s customer focus, a
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Nevertheless, as the size of the corporation continued to grow, the problem of this culture became visible. “When will you have time to develop anything if you are spending all of your time with your customers?”ii Thus, Cisco tried to improve this culture not only by increasing the IT budget, but also by decreasing the direct staff service from different departments and using a centralized Technical Assistance Center to solve the consumers’ problems. Even though this action released some resource to be paid to the technology research, but Cisco still keep enough attention to the demand of the customers. Thus, the structure was still consistent with the culture. However, by 2001, Cisco ran into the burst of internet bubble. The collapsed profit compelled Cisco to take actions to stabilize its basic survival. In order to save the resource and product, Chamber, the CEO of Cisco tried to “shift the corporation from a decentralized operation to a centralized one focused on technologies”.iii He decentralized the Customer Advocacy’s power to marketing and engineering to make departments pay more attention to technological development and the market. It is undeniable that the new structure helped Cisco to eliminate the overlap in research and resource so that Cisco could hold its market share. But it also threatened the core culture of Cisco, for the decentralized structure could not have enough

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