Cisco

Cisco's Padmasree Warrior: Why I'm backing Box

March 21, 2014: 9:47 AM ET

The Cisco CTO explains why she's backing Aaron Levie's soon-to-IPO enterprise content management company.

140321094548-cisco-cto-padmasree-warrior-620xa

FORTUNE -- Earlier this week, the file-sharing service Box announced that Cisco Systems (CSCO) CTO Padmasree Warrior will join its board of directors. The Los Altos, Calif.-based company, which recently raised $100 million in new funding at around a $2 billion valuation, is expected to make its public market debut in the coming months.

Snagging Warrior is a good step along the path to legitimacy with large enterprises, which are Box's target customers -- unlike competitor Dropbox, which has traditionally catered more to the consumer demographic. In a blog post, Box CEO Aaron Levie said Warrior will help the startup transform from a file sharing and storage service to a "far more strategic partner for our customers, and a much more powerful platform for the next wave of enterprise applications."

Fortune caught up with Warrior -- currently at the TED conference in Vancouver -- to find out why she's throwing her weight behind Box and what she thinks she can bring to the boardroom table.

Fortune: Why did you join Box's board?

Warrior: I believe information technology in the next decade will be shaped by three major transformations -- cloud, mobile, and the Internet of Things. Box is innovating at the intersection of two out of these three trends. It is one of a handful of companies that has the potential to become the next generation enterprise leader. With my years of experience in mobile, cloud, collaboration, I can contribute to their trajectory going forward.

How long have you known [Box CEO] Aaron Levie, and how would you describe your relationship?

I have known Aaron for more than two years. We first met at a small dinner and debated the future of business. I have to say, it was a fun and robust debate. On the surface, we each represented the proverbial conflict in ideologies -- disruption vs. consistency; ideation vs. scale, chaos vs. discipline. At a deeper level, we both share a passion to change business and enterprise software as we know it today. Since that time we have become friends, and I watched Box mature as a business. I enjoy Aaron's intelligence, passion, bold vision, and, of course, his sense of humor. I would characterize my relationship with Aaron and Box thus far as that of an informal adviser.

What do you think you can contribute to Box as a member of the board?

I have over two decades of experience in the tech industry with expertise in a broad range of domains from semiconductors to mobile to cloud -- covering consumer and enterprise. For businesses to grow profitably there are challenges to be tackled across multiple fronts -- building highly scalable technology operations, establishing new routes to market, driving new business models, attracting and developing talent, and so on. As Box continues to grow, I hope to contribute my expertise in technology, strategy, talent development, and global scale.

What do you see as the company's trajectory and potential? 

I see Box redefining enterprise solutions for the next generation of IT. Their key strength is uniquely combining technological disruptions with a delivery model from the cloud and on mobile. They have the potential to become the platform for the future enterprise.

  • An ex-Cisco exec reflects

    In conversation with Jayshree Ullal, CEO of Arista Networks.

    FORTUNE -- Jayshree Ullal made her career at networking leader Cisco Systems, before leaving in 2008 and shortly after that joining a new company started by Andy Bechtolsheim, a founder of Sun, and several others. In a recent interview, she discussed what she learned at Cisco—and how her new company, Arista Networks, competes against it. Below, her words as told to Fortune's MORE

    - Mar 20, 2014 10:55 AM ET
  • Cisco's new collaboration tools: Videoconferencing for the rest of us?

    Forget Telepresence. The networking giant's new systems are intended for small- and medium-sized businesses.

    FORTUNE -- Cisco Systems (CSCO) has long realized that most companies don't have the need or the money to buy its pricey and bulky Telepresence technology, an elaborate videoconferencing system that combines 65-inch screens, cameras, integrated lighting, and even custom-made desks.

    To push its collaboration wares into a wider range of corporate customers' conference rooms, the company is MORE

    - Mar 13, 2014 2:05 PM ET
  • Cisco wants a piece of the 'smart cities' business

    A partnership between Cisco and AGT plans to roll out a suite of analytics technologies in dozens of cities over the next five years, challenging IBM in the data-driven city management space.

    By Clay Dillow

    FORTUNE -- When it comes to building so-called smart cities -- the data-driven, ubiquitously connected cities of the future where everything from traffic signals to law enforcement to trash collection is optimized to algorithmic precision -- MORE

    Feb 18, 2014 12:28 PM ET
  • Cisco may now be better at seeing the future than thriving in it

    Cisco has historically foreseen changes in the market and positioned itself to take advantage of them. It still has the crystal ball, but has it lost the resourcefulness to capitalize on those visions?

    By Kevin Kelleher, contributor

    FORTUNE -- For most of the 12 years since the dot-com bubble burst, Cisco was a true tech bellwether. Its stock performance has largely tracked the Nasdaq. Its switches and routers composed the nervous system of MORE

    Nov 21, 2013 11:19 AM ET
  • Which tech company offers the best child care?

    Which tech companies offer the best child care services? Hint: Not one with many women at the top.

    By Jennifer Alsever

    FORTUNE -- Facebook's recently announced plans for a sprawling $120 million housing community near its Menlo Park campus will include affordable employee homes and a laundry list of amenities like a pub, convenience store, bicycle repair shop, hair stylist -- even a doggy day care. One perk missing from MORE

    Oct 14, 2013 12:35 PM ET
  • Robots with your face want to invade workplaces and hospitals

    So-called robotic telepresence allows people to communicate remotely. Will it take off?

    By Clay Dillow

    FORTUNE -- Robotic telepresence remains one of those technologies that is always lingering just on the horizon; it's going to change everything, the futurists say, just as soon as it gets here. But while several clever telerobotics solutions have come to market in recent years (Vgo and Double Robotics for instance), no solution has yet been MORE

    Jun 10, 2013 11:56 AM ET
  • Mobile growth is about to be staggering

    It's the biggest shift in technology since the advent of the Internet, and mobile is still only just beginning.

    By Kevin Kelleher, contributor

    FORTUNE -- "I remember traffic lights before smartphones," sighed a friend as we sat in traffic behind a car that remained still after the light had turned green. Sure enough, the driver's head was tilted downward as if lost in solemn prayer -- or, more likely, a texting/map/music app MORE

    Feb 20, 2013 8:40 AM ET
  • Cisco: Middle-aged and loving it

    Markets for the products Cisco is best known for have changed. But with a $45 billion cash pile, it has plenty of options for transforming itself.

    By Kevin Kelleher, contributor

    FORTUNE -- As a purveyor of switches and routers that form the Web's backbone, Cisco Systems is responsible for building the Internet. Perhaps more so than any other company. But as the Internet evolves, Cisco has entered a kind of middle age, struggling MORE

    Nov 26, 2012 10:00 AM ET
  • Tech investors brace for a cruel summer

    The living will most definitely not be easy. A sense of deep unease is settling in among technology investors as second-quarter earnings approach.

    By Kevin Kelleher, contributor

    FORTUNE – Summertime may be when the living is easy for many people, but not for tech investors this year. As the time draws near for many companies to report their second-quarter earnings, a last-minute sense of unease is setting in among investors and analysts.

    Since MORE

    Jul 13, 2012 9:50 AM ET
Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.