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

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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 key element of its competitive advantage and a principle of its core operating processes. In order to overcome the disharmony between the structure and the culture, Cisco introduced a Customer Focus Initiative to hold the favor of its key customers. Nevertheless, Allred had no confidence that this action would fix the perceived gap between the structure and the culture.

Situation Analysis:

The main problem in this case is that how to keep enough resources to be used on the customer focus, which is the core component of the Cisco Company, under the reintegrated decentralized structure. At the beginning of the establishment of Cisco, Lerner, who is one of the founders, “realized that success was developing cutting-edge technology that was relevant to the consumers”.i Thus, she set up the organization which was called “ Customer Advocacy” to centralize all of the functions of the corporation that directly touched the customer. This means every member of this company, no matter which department he/she was in, he/she should keep in mind that the customer satisfaction was his/her greatest pursuit. The early success of Cisco…...

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