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Cisco Business Model Canvas

Cisco Business Model Canvas
Photo By Thomas Jensen, edited By Grey Knight

A Brief History of Cisco

Cisco Systems, Inc. is a multinational technology conglomerate that specializes in networking hardware, telecommunications equipment, and other high-technology services and products. The company was founded in 1984 by Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner, who were two computer scientists at Stanford University. They originally developed multi-protocol routers and started selling them to customers.

In 1986, Cisco Systems, Inc. was formally incorporated with their first CEO, Bill Graves. The company quickly gained attention and established itself as a major player in the technology industry. In 1990, Cisco became a publicly traded company, and in the following years, it continued to grow through various acquisitions and strategic partnerships.

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Cisco expanded its product line and services, becoming a leader in networking solutions for businesses and organizations. The company also played a significant role in the development of the Internet and the expansion of its infrastructure.

Today, Cisco Systems, Inc. is a global leader in networking and cybersecurity solutions, with a significant presence in the telecommunications industry. The company continues to innovate and develop new technologies to support the growing demand for secure and reliable network infrastructure. Cisco is recognized as one of the most influential and successful technology companies in the world, and its products and services are widely used across various industries.

Who Owns Cisco?

Cisco Systems, Inc. is a publicly-traded company, which means it is owned by its shareholders. The top 10 shareholders of Cisco Systems, Inc. as of 2021 are The Vanguard Group, Inc., BlackRock, Inc., SSgA Funds Management, Inc., Capital World Investors, Wellington Management Company, LLP, Geode Capital Management, LLC, Norges Bank Investment Management, Northern Trust Investments, Inc., and Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Inc. These shareholders collectively own a significant portion of the company’s stock and have a vested interest in its success. Cisco Systems, Inc. is a global leader in networking and telecommunications equipment and services, and its shareholders play a crucial role in shaping the company’s direction and future.

Cisco Mission Statement

Cisco Mission Statement
Photo By Cisco

Cisco Systems, Inc.’s mission statement is to shape the future of the Internet by creating unprecedented value and opportunity for its customers, employees, investors, and ecosystem partners. They aim to be the leader in the development, manufacturing, and selling of networking hardware, telecommunications equipment, and other high-technology services and products. Cisco is committed to helping its customers use technology to solve their biggest business challenges and create new opportunities for success. Their mission is to continue to innovate and drive the transformation of the world through their technology and solutions.

How Cisco Makes Money?

Cisco Systems, Inc. operates as a multinational technology conglomerate that specializes in networking hardware, software, and services. The company generates its revenue through various streams, including the sales of networking equipment, such as routers, switches, and security products, as well as offering services such as technical support, consulting, and training. Additionally, Cisco earns income from software subscriptions and licensing fees. The company’s business model is based on providing comprehensive networking solutions to businesses and organizations, helping them to manage their communication and data needs efficiently and securely. Cisco’s diverse revenue streams and broad range of offerings contribute to its status as a leader in the technology industry.

Cisco Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool that allows companies to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot their business model. It consists of 9 essential building blocks that help an organization understand how it creates, delivers, and captures value.

Customer Segments:

– Large enterprises: Cisco provides networking solutions to large enterprises, including hardware and software for data centers, collaboration tools, and security solutions.
– Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs): Cisco offers networking solutions tailored to the needs of smaller businesses, including switches, routers, and security solutions.
– Service providers: Cisco provides networking solutions for telecommunications companies and internet service providers, including infrastructure, video, and cloud services.

Value Propositions:

– Broad product portfolio: Cisco offers a wide range of networking products and services, providing customers with comprehensive solutions for their networking needs.
– Innovation and R&D: Cisco invests heavily in research and development, constantly innovating and introducing new technologies to the market.
– Brand reputation: Cisco is a trusted and respected brand in the networking industry, known for its high-quality products and reliable solutions.


– Direct sales: Cisco sells its products and services directly to customers through its sales force.
– Channel partners: Cisco utilizes a network of channel partners, including resellers, distributors, and system integrators, to reach a broader customer base.
– Online sales: Cisco also offers its products and services through its website and online marketplaces.

Customer Relationships:

– Personal selling: Cisco’s sales force builds relationships with key customers, understanding their needs and providing tailored solutions.
– Customer support: Cisco provides technical support and assistance to customers, ensuring their network infrastructure operates smoothly.
– Community engagement: Cisco fosters a community of users, partners, and developers, creating a network of support and collaboration.

Revenue Streams:

– Product sales: Cisco generates revenue from the sale of networking hardware, such as switches and routers.
– Software subscriptions: Cisco offers software solutions on a subscription basis, providing a recurring revenue stream.
– Services: Cisco provides consulting, implementation, and support services to customers, generating revenue through service contracts.

Key Resources:

– Research and development: Cisco invests heavily in R&D, developing new technologies and solutions.
– Sales and marketing: Cisco maintains a robust sales and marketing infrastructure to promote its products and reach customers.
– Infrastructure: Cisco’s global network of manufacturing, distribution, and support facilities is a key resource for delivering products and services.

Key Activities:

– Product development: Cisco continuously develops new networking hardware and software solutions to meet evolving customer needs.
– Sales and marketing: Cisco engages in promotional activities and sales efforts to drive customer acquisition and revenue growth.
– Customer support: Cisco provides technical assistance and support services to ensure customer satisfaction and retention.

Key Partners:

– Channel partners: Cisco works with resellers, distributors, and system integrators to extend its reach and offer complementary products and services.
– Technology partners: Cisco partners with technology companies to integrate its products with other solutions, enhancing its value proposition to customers.
– Service providers: Cisco collaborates with telecommunications companies and cloud service providers to deliver networking solutions to end customers.

Cost Structure:

– Research and development: Cisco incurs significant costs in R&D to develop new products and technologies.
– Sales and marketing: Cisco invests in sales and marketing activities to promote its products and acquire new customers.
– Operations and support: Cisco bears costs related to manufacturing, distribution, and customer support to deliver products and services.

Cisco’s Competitors

Cisco Systems, Inc. is a multinational technology conglomerate that develops, manufactures, and sells networking and telecommunications equipment, software, and services. As a leader in the industry, Cisco faces competition from several other major players in the market. Some of its top competitors include:

1. Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
2. Juniper Networks, Inc.
3. Arista Networks, Inc.
4. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)
5. Dell Technologies, Inc.

Cisco SWOT Analysis


1. Strong brand recognition and reputation in the industry
2. Diverse product portfolio including networking equipment, security solutions, and cloud services
3. Extensive global presence with a large customer base
4. Strong research and development capabilities, leading to innovative technologies
5. Strong financial performance and stability


1. Dependency on a few key product lines for a significant portion of revenue
2. Vulnerability to market trends and technological advancements
3. Limited presence in some emerging markets


1. Growing demand for cloud-based services
2. Increasing need for cybersecurity solutions
3. Expansion into emerging markets
4. Development of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies


1. Intense competition in the industry from both established companies and new entrants
2. Rapid technological advancements leading to product obsolescence
3. Regulatory challenges in international markets
4. Economic fluctuations impacting customer spending.

Concluding Analysis

So, in a nutshell, Cisco Systems, Inc. has established itself as a global leader in networking and communications technology, with a business model focused on innovation, strategic acquisitions, and strong customer relationships. As an analyst, I’m optimistic about the future of the business. With the increasing demand for connectivity and digital transformation across industries, Cisco is well-positioned to continue its growth and remain a key player in the market. The company’s commitment to R&D, its strong financial position, and its ability to adapt to changing market trends make me confident that Cisco Systems, Inc. will not only thrive but also continue to shape the future of networking and technology.

Additional Resources

To keep learning and advancing your career, we highly recommend these additional resources:

Business Model Canvas of The Top 1,000 Largest Companies by Market Cap in 2024

A List of 1000 Venture Capital Firms & Investors with LinkedIn Profiles

Peter Thiel and the 16 Unicorns: The Legacy of Thiel Fellowship

9 Biggest IPOs of All Time

List of Fortune 500 Companies in 2023

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