Enterprise Risk Management at Cisco|Enterprise Risk Management|Case Study|Case Studies

Enterprise Risk Management at Cisco

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Case Details:

Case Code : ERMT-014
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 2003
Pub Date : 2003
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Cisco
Industry : Information Technology
Countries : Global

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Cisco Systems, founded in 1984 by a group of computer scientists from Stanford University, shipped its first product in 1986. Since then it had grown into a global player in the information technology (IT) industry, with over 10,000 employees in more than 200 offices in 54 countries. Cisco was the worldwide leader in Internet Protocol-based (IP) networking solutions, the backbone of the Internet and most corporate, education, and government networks around the world. Cisco provided a wide range of products and services for transporting data, voice and video. Cisco's bread and butter products were routers and switches. The switch line included equipment based on Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, Token Ring, and ATM technologies.

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Other products included remote access servers, IP telephony equipment used to transmit data and voice communications over the same network, optical networking components, and network service and security systems.

The company's heavy investment in Internet Protocol-based telecommunications equipment had proved costly when an industry wide downturn beginning in the early 2000s, slowed spending among telecom service providers building next-generation voice networks. Cisco responded with job cuts and organizational changes. It realigned its operations around its core technologies, and centralized its engineering and marketing efforts.

Background Note

Cisco Systems was founded by Stanford University husband-and-wife team Leonard Bosack and Sandra Lerner and three colleagues in 1984. Bosack developed technology to link his computer lab's network with his wife's network in the graduate business school. They sold their first network router in 1986. Originally targeting universities, the aerospace industry, and the government, the company began to target large corporations in the late 1980s. Venture capitalist Donald Valentine of Sequoia Capital bought a controlling stake and became chairman. He hired John Morgridge of laptop maker GRiD Systems as president and CEO.

Cisco, whose products had a proven track record, had a head start as the market for network routers opened up in the late 1980s. Sales leapt from $1.5 million in 1987 to $28 million in 1989. The company went public in 1990, when a major upheaval took place in the company. Morgridge fired Lerner, with whom he had clashed, and Bosack quit. The couple sold their stock for about $200 million.

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