Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Three months ago, Cisco chairman, chief executive officer, chief cheerleader and top evangelist John Chambers delivered a somber quarterly earnings report as the company moved toward laying off 6,500 workers, cutting lose 4,000 others in a spin-off of a cable box manufacturing venture, and cut 1,200 contractors.

Thursday evening, the enthusiasm returned as Chambers delivered what could be described as a “pep talk” about Cisco’s (Nasdaq: CSCO) latest quarter. (Read about the results here.)

The past year has been nightmarish for the Silicon Valley and tech bellwether, which employs some 4,000 people in RTP. Chamber’s own pay was slashed 32 percent as the company took a buzz saw to its work force, trimmed products and repositioned itself in an attempt to fight off increasingly tenacious competitors such as Juniper.

Results topped Street expectations, and while Chambers said work remains to be done – especially on improving margins – his opening remarks in a conference call with analysts was vintage John Chambers.

The Pep Talk

“When I reflect over the last 20 years I’ve spent at Cisco, I continue to be impressed with the expanding franchise value, that is Cisco,” he said, according to a transcript provided by the website SeekingAlpha.

“Our ability to change with industry trends, customer needs and get in front of major technology shift, is quite remarkable. When I look back at the last two, three quarters, the steadfast commitment of our people to adapt to a rapid change, and continue to execute against market demands, reflect the intangible value of Cisco and our relationship with our customers. The ability of a $40 billion revenue company to turn quickly and move forward, and not emerge weaker but much stronger.

“Our customers not only expect this,” he added. “It was interesting when you talk to them, they almost assume that is a given, that we would adjust to these market trends. Of particular importance to me, is the feedback that I’m receiving from the meetings I’ve had with enterprise CEOs and CIOs and service provider CEOs and Chief Technical Officers. They are strongly supportive of the changes we’ve made.

“In short, we’ve organized our business around how they want to buy their key technology, how the business transitions they’re focused on, and as I said above, their goals whether their expense reduction or revenue growth is a 1:1 correlation.

“Our customers’ feedback is that they understand the importance of the transitions we’ve made and strongly, strongly support our strategy and the new organization structure. In many cases, given our footprint with customers, this change was not optional. They needed us to be more aligned with their needs, because we are such an important technology partner to them. This is to me, an indicator of long-term value creation.”

“We’re in the Right Spot …”

In general, analysts spoke approvingly of Cisco’s quarter and the changes that the company is making. Looking ahead, Chambers sees many reasons to smile.

“In summary, our strategy is working, we are capitalizing on the major generation shifts happening in IT,” he said.

“These include the consumerization of IT, movement to the cloud, everything mobile, business social network and pervasive video. We’re in the right spot at the right time. These generation shifts, lead to a convergence of both our products and of our customer segments, where no longer will enterprise and service provider and commercial and public sector be separate, where the products be separate from routing and switching in the data center and the end devices, you will see them all come together in an architecture-shared approach.”

Is Chambers’ enthusiasm justified? Time will tell.

Read the full transcript here.

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