How Cisco Applies Companywide Expertise for Integrating Acquired Companies Faster, smoother integrations help to realize acquisition value. Cisco on Cisco Case Study/Business Management/Cisco Acquisition Integration: Acquiring companies that offer attractive technologies, products, or market opportunities has been a major growth strategy for Cisco®. To help integrate these companies rapidly, consistently, and with minimal disruption, Cisco has formed cross-functional teams, defined common principles, and developed standard processes. This wellestablished approach to integration allows Cisco the ability to quickly gain the value expected from the acquisition, among other benefits. Cisco customers can draw on Cisco's real-world experience in this area to help support similar enterprise needs.
Acquiring other companies is an important strategy for Cisco to rapidly offer new products, reach new markets, and grow revenue. Since 1993, Cisco has acquired more than 120 companies, from small startups to large, wellestablished firms such as Linksys, Scientific Atlanta, and WebEx. Integrating the employees, products, services, operations, systems, and processes of acquired companies can be a daunting effort. With multiple acquisitions occurring each year, it became clear that Cisco could not approach the integration effort in an improvised manner, with different personnel and activities engaged each time. Instead, acquisition integration needed to become a standard way of doing business for Cisco employees. Cisco needed an integration approach that would be consistent across the company, repeatable for each new acquisition, and adaptable as Cisco began to acquire large companies with different operational parameters. “Cisco acquires only companies that will help to grow
“We centralize acquisition integration for several good reasons: It is efficient, and it allows us to capture best practices, use our skills and resources most effectively, and apply discipline and oversight to the entire acquisition process.” – Graeme Wood, Director, Acquisition Integration, Cisco Business Development Group
our business, so we always ask how we can protect and grow the value that we expect to obtain from an acquisition,” says Graeme Wood, director of acquisition integration in the Cisco Business Development group.
Cisco has developed—and continues to evolve—a well-defined approach to integrating acquired companies. This approach encompasses the following elements:
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Formalized and centralized integration management through a designated team in the Cisco Business Development group. Cross-functional teams for each acquisition that plan, manage, and monitor integration activities across Cisco. Standard principles, metrics, tools, methods, and processes that can be repeatedly applied to new integration efforts, yet are adaptable to the unique issues and parameters of each deal. These standards are defined both at the corporate level and within the many Cisco departments involved in acquisition integration.
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Cisco IT Case Study Acquisition Integration
Extensibility of the acquisition integration model to other major change events, such as divisional consolidations, divestitures, or acquisitions by Cisco divisions.
“We centralize acquisition integration for several good reasons,” says Wood. “It is efficient and it allows us to capture best practices, use our skills and resources most effectively, and apply discipline and oversight to the entire acquisition process.” He continues, “If you get mired in the simple integration activities, and a lot of companies do, you never get around to resolving larger business issues that come with an acquisition. Standard processes allow you move quickly through the straightforward...