Cisco reported strong results for Q4 fiscal 2012, with net sales of US $11.7 billion, a 4% year-over-year increase. This equaled US$ 0.47 per share, beating Bloomberg estimates of $0.46 per share.

Cisco also performed quite well during the entire fiscal year 2012 (fourth quarter and fiscal year both ended July 28, 2012), posting net sales of US$ 46.1 billion, a 7% year-over-year increase.

Innovation Drives Income

Cisco cited a number of new innovations released during the past fiscal year that helped drive net sales growth. These included:

  • Cisco Aggregation Services Router (ASR) 5500 -- a platform Cisco says is capable of improving performance over the previous Cisco ASR 5000 Series systems by up to 10 times and providing an elastic mobile networking solution.
  • Cisco Cloud Connected Solution -- a solution delivering cloud-enabled routing and WAN optimization platforms, along with software and services enabling users to securely connect to cloud services.
  • Cisco WebEx Social -- An extension of the WebEx platform delivering social collaboration to mobile devices, email and business productivity applications, and extending WebEx beyond web conferencing to include social and telepresence. 

Cisco Credited for Controlled Collaboration

Cisco is at heart a provider of network connectivity technology that more recently has transformed itself into an enabler of collaboration. Judging by FY and Q4 2012 financial results, so far this move is paying off for Cisco. One reason is that while companies are seeking collaboration more than ever, they are realizing that without the systems and controls, collaboration can actually do more harm than good.

A recent study by the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Learning Innovations Laboratory noted that 52 percent of U.S. workers believe the quality of their work suffered because they couldn’t sort through the information they needed quickly enough. The same study revealed that interruptions caused by information overload cost U.S. companies US$ 650 billion a year.

When it comes to effective collaboration, access to information is just a part of the solution. Enabling teams to collectively create, assign, prioritize, execute and track their best plans requires more than just document storage -- it requires the kind of collaborative solutions offered by Cisco (and others).

Cisco May Face Bumps

All the news for Cisco is not necessarily good. In addition to introducing a variety of new products and services, Bloomberg points out the company also cut 7,800 jobs, closed some subsidiary businesses and reduced prices in the past year to streamline operations and draw in new customers. And networking technology demand has been low in Europe and India and from government agencies. As the leaner, meaner Cisco launches its fiscal year 2013, a continued combination of innovation and frugality will be needed to continue its success.