Cisco watchers have been wondering whether the company’s realignment is to take advantage of much-talked about market transitions or to hunker down for battle with the current generation of formidable competitors (like HP, Huawei, Juniper). Some might see this week’s appointment of Gary Moore as COO as an indication that the business has lacked operational excellence, but that’s easy to reject. I remember sitting down with Randy Pond nearly 10 years ago (he was EVP operations -- the de facto COO for Cisco at the time) and talking about operational priorities required to profitably take advantage of market transformations and build world class capabilities across Cisco’s complex environment. At the time, Cisco was a complex combination of acquisitions (like Crescendo where Randy had been VP Operations) and contract manufacturing around the globe. Operational excellence has always a hallmark at Cisco; that’s not the central issue facing the company. Instead, it is facing a fundamental transition to “incumbent” status. Cisco is now the object of every competitor’s attention, and high-growth markets that are large enough to make a substantive impact are increasingly hard to find.