The four big opportunities for new Cisco CEO

Chuck Robbins has some pretty big shoes to fill.

The Cisco Systems Inc. CSCO, +0.12% chief executive has taken the reins from John Chambers, who led the company through the dot-com boom and bust, and now into another tech boom. After 20 years at the helm, Chambers has moved to the executive chairman seat and left the little-known Robbins to lead Cisco.

Robbins takes over at a critical time for Cisco. The company’s networking equipment helped fuel the Internet boom, and it has continued to lead the field despite challenges from waves of upstart rivals.Technology is a rapidly changing field, however, and Cisco must navigate those challenges and still find growth to sate investors.

Chambers has set up Robbins to succeed, FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives said recently.

“When you look at large-cap, traditional IT stalwarts — Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, H-P, SAP, etc. — the only two that have differentiated themselves in a positive way, especially in cloud, has been Microsoft and Cisco,” Ives said.

Robbins must continue that momentum to capitalize on Cisco’s growth opportunities if he wants to experience similar success to Chambers. The executive’s biggest opportunity yet to define how he will accomplish that task will come at Cisco’s Global Editors Conference on Monday, when Robbins is scheduled to give his first major external keynote address since taking over as CEO (unless you count his “Happy to be here!” appearance at Inc. CRM, +1.40% Chief Executive Marc Benioff’s Dreamforce keynote last month).

MarketWatch tech editor Jeremy C. Owens will be in attendance at the speech, so follow him on Twitter for live updates Monday morning starting at 9 a.m. Pacific time.

Here are four potential growth opportunities MarketWatch expects to hear about from Robbins.

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