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Cisco Systems, Inc.
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2019 Vault Rankings

At a Glance


Excellent work/life balance and flexible work options

Good benefit package


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 makes 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, set-top boxes, and other networking equipment to 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.


The meat-and-potatoes of Cisco has been its switching equipment which generates 30% of its revenue while its next-generation networking routing gear accounts for 15% of revenue. Services provide about a quarter of the company's revenue. The rest of the company’s product lines are collaboration products (about 10% of revenue), data center (less than 10%), and wireless and security (about 5% each).

Cisco engages independent third-party contractors to make printed-circuit boards, conduct in-circuit testing, make product repairs, and assemble products.

Geographic Reach

While the Americas is Cisco's largest market, accounting for some 60% of its sales, about half its employees reside outside of the US. European customers generate 25% of revenue and the Asia/Pacific region supplies about 15%.

Cisco's headquarters is in San Jose, California. It also has regional headquarters in Amsterdam and Singapore. Cisco has a Globalization Center East campus in Bangalore, India. The company has other significant operations in Belgium, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Norway, and the UK.

Financial Performance

Cisco Systems’ revenue slipped 3% to $48 billion in 2017 (ended July) from 2016. Product revenue fell 4% while service revenue rose 3% year-to-year. Revenues from Switching and NGN Routing were off 5% and 4%, respectively, in 2017. Switching sales were hurt by lower sales of switches used in campus environments due to general economic uncertainty and competition. Sales in Security and Wireless grew by 9% and 5%, respectively.

Net income dropped 11% to $9.6 billion in 2017 from 2016. While the company reduced costs in 2017, it had a higher effective tax rate for the year.

Cash flow from operations closed out 2017 at $13.8 billion compared to about $13.6 billion in 2016.


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 a more 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-centric 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 2017 (ended July), the company’s deferred product revenue related to software and subscriptions grew to $5 billion, a 50% year-to-year increase and a doubling over two years.

The company is also addressing its software capabilities through acquisitions. In 2017 the company was to spend nearly $6 billion to shore up its software side in networking, file systems, and telecommunications.

In 2015, Cisco partnered with Ericsson to develop products and services in areas such as 5G, cloud computing, internet protocol, and the Internet of Things. Their goal is to add $1 billion in revenue for each company by 2018. The deal helps Cisco and Ericsson counter the merger of Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia, which created the second biggest provider of telecom equipment (Huawei is #1).

In 2017, Cisco teamed up with Google to build more efficient hybrid cloud offerings. They are to work on the security, configuration, and policy requirements of enterprises, as well as capabilities for delivering real-time networking and performance data.

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 started 2017 with the $3.7 billion acquisition of AppDynamics, which develops software that monitors performance of applications. The acquisition further fills out Cisco's networking software lineup. Cisco's acquisition offer came just before AppDynamics sold stock to the public in an initial public offering. The deal, concluded in March 2017, reinforced Cisco's software-centric strategy.

In mid-2017 Cisco agreed to acquire Springpath Inc., a developer of a distributed file system built for hyperconvergence that enables server-based storage systems, for about $320 million in cash. The companies have had a relationship that includes development of HyperFlex, an integrated hyperconvergence infrastructure. Cisco also was an investor in Springpath. Hyperconvergence integrates computing, storage, networking, and virtualization resources in hardware.The deal further builds out Cisco's data center capabilities.

Cisco continued its software shopping spree later in 2017 with its agreement to buy BroadSoft, a developer of telecommunications software, for $1.9 billion. The deal would provide Cisco with a range of software and services that allow mobile, fixed-line and cable service providers to offer unified communications over their internet protocol networks. The transaction closed in early 2018.

In another 2017 deal Cisco acquired MindMeld Inc., an artificial intelligence company that develops conversational interfaces for applications and devices, for about $125 million. The acquisition would help Cisco build voice and text capabilities into its collaboration products.

In 2016 Cisco completed the acquisition of Jasper, which develops a cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) service platform, for $1.4 billion. With the deal, Cisco can provide more comprehensive range of IoT products and services.

In 2016 Cisco completed the acquisition of Jasper, which develops a cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) service platform, for $1.4 billion. With the deal, Cisco can provide more comprehensive range of IoT products and services.

Cisco Systems, Inc.

San Jose, CA 95134-1706
Phone: 1 (408) 526-4000


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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