Cisco Not on Modi’s Agenda in San Jose!

That’s a Surprise Given the Company’s Large Investments in India

In December 2006, Cisco Systems announced that India would be its second headquarters with the establishment of the Globalisation Centre East in Bangalore and moving senior executives there from San Jose. It included Wim Elfrink as Chief Globalisation Officer.

With a colleague on my first visit to San Jose in August 2005, soon after I joined Cisco Systems

With a colleague on my first visit to San Jose in August 2005, soon after I joined Cisco Systems

Credit must go to the then Indian government for Cisco placing its big bets on India then.

Cisco has a huge presence in Bangalore.

India’s Silicon Valley, is home to the Cisco Global Development Center, the largest outside of the U.S. The company has a headcount of more than 10,000 personnel at its seven offices in India.

In June 2015 Cisco also announced it would invest US$2 billion more in India this year.

It was part of an initiative to support some of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet projects:

  • Make in India
  • Skill India
  • Digital India
Cisco campus in San Jose, on my second visit there in 2006

Cisco campus in San Jose, on my second visit there in 2006

Chambers, Chairman of US-India Business Council: Moreover, just a few days ago, John Chambers, Executive Chairman of Cisco, was elected as the new chairman of the US-India Business Council (USIBC), the apex advocacy group for Indian and American companies in the U.S.

So I find it a surprise to note that Cisco does not figure in the agenda of Mr Modi’s September 27 visit to San Jose, the company’s global headquarters.

There is no technology company with a bigger presence in San Jose / Silicon Valley than networking giant Cisco Systems.

Ubiquity and Telecommuting: Almost anywhere you turn in San Jose you will see a Cisco building – so ubiquitous is their presence in the Silicon Valley. But it has been of late selling and exiting some of its buildings there, partly due to downsizing and partly because most of its staff there work from home.

I have been to its buildings there during many of my visits to San Jose while I was employed with the company (2005-2010). Even then I would see empty cubicles everywhere. Cisco has always been big in encouraging the idea of telecommuting.

Cisco_Way_VTA_2165_09Even in Singapore, while I was always working from the office, I had my home equipped with the necessary equipment for connectivity – an IP phone and networking gear. That was helpful because every other night I had to dial into the bridge for conference calls with business units in San Jose.

I do not have to read too much into why Mr Modi has no Cisco meeting scheduled in San Jose. Mr Chambers had, in any case, met him when he visited India earlier this year.

Incidentally, I had visited its offices in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai a few times during my stay with Cisco, based in Singapore with bid management responsibility for the Asia-Pacific region.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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