In the early 1990s, when we launched our Internet initiatives, we had been focused on our customers. We weren’t as quick to realize that the Internet requires a major internal transformation. It wasn’t until 1997, when we took our first step toward Internet supply chains, that we realized we had to change how we operate — inside and out. Now we’re changing the way we think about productivity and the way we interact with our employees, customers, suppliers, and partners. In five years, we’ve reduced the cost of Cisco’s finance function as a percentage of revenue by 50 percent. We’ve cut the time it takes to close our books from two weeks to one day. When people think about the Internet, they don’t think about closing their books faster.
This isn’t a two-year transformation. Try a decade. But we’re one-third of the way through this revolution, and most companies still don’t understand that they need a new backbone.