Categories Earnings Call Transcripts, Technology

Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO) Q2 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

CSCO Earnings Call - Final Transcript

Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ: CSCO) Q2 2023 earnings call dated Feb. 15, 2023

Corporate Participants:

Marilyn Mora — Head of Investor Relations

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Analysts:

Ittai Kidron — Oppenheimer and Company — Analyst

Amit Daryanani — Evercore — Analyst

Paul Silverstein — Cowen and Company — Analyst

Meta Marshall — Morgan Stanley — Analyst

Simon Leopold — Raymond James — Analyst

Sami Badri — Credit Suisse — Analyst

George Notter — Jefferies — Analyst

David Vogt — UBS — Analyst

Tal Liani — Bank of America — Analyst

Tim Long — Barclays — Analyst

Samik Chatterjee — JP Morgan — Analyst

Presentation:

Operator

Welcome to Cisco’s Second Quarter Fiscal-Year 2023 Financial Results Conference Call. [Operator Instructions]

Now, I would like to introduce Marilyn Mora, Head of Investor Relations. Ma’am, you may begin.

Marilyn Mora — Head of Investor Relations

Welcome, everyone, to Cisco’s Second-Quarter of Fiscal 2023 Quarterly Earnings Conference Call. This is Marilyn Mora, Head of Investor Relations. And I’m joined by Chuck Robbins, our Chair and CEO; and Scott Herren, our CFO.

By now, you should have seen our earnings press release. A corresponding webcast with slides, including supplemental information will be made available on our website in the Investor Relations section following the call. Income statements, full GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliation information, balance sheets, cash flow statements and other financial information can also be found in the Financial Information section of our Investor Relations website.

Throughout this conference call, we will be referencing both GAAP and non-GAAP financial results, and we’ll discuss product results in terms of revenue, and geographic and customer results in terms of product orders, unless stated otherwise. All comparisons made throughout this call will be done on a year-over-year basis. The matters we will be discussing today include forward-looking statements, including the guidance we will be providing for the third-quarter and full-year of fiscal 2023.

They are subject to the risks and uncertainties that we discuss in detail in our documents filed with the SEC, specifically the most recent reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q, which identify important risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. With respect to guidance, please also see the slides and press release that accompany this call for further details. Cisco will not comment on its financial guidance during the quarter unless it is done through an explicit public disclosure.

I will now turn it over to Chuck.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Marilyn. And hope everyone is doing well. With the tremendous results we delivered in the first-half of the year, fiscal ’23 is shaping up to be very strong, fueled by demand for our cloud-driven networking portfolio, our continued business transformation success and an improving supply situation. Thanks in large part to our teams aggressive actions.

Before I dive into additional details on the quarter, I wanted to take a moment to say how incredibly proud I am of the team here at Cisco. While the environment we’re operating in remains dynamic, Cisco is better-positioned today than at any time since I became CEO almost eight years ago. We have reshaped and transformed the company and our portfolio, while remaining highly disciplined both financially and operationally. This gives me great confidence that we will continue to succeed in the long-term.

Now, I will touch on the quarter in more detail. Our Q2 financial results were strong as we again exceeded the high-end of our guidance ranges. We delivered our second-highest quarterly revenue of $13.6 billion, up 7% and record non-GAAP EPS at $0.88. We also delivered solid ARR growth, sequential non-GAAP margin expansion and record non-GAAP net income.

In terms of our business model shift, we continue to make great progress, with 10% growth in software revenue, and with software subscription revenue up 15%. Recurring revenue also now represents 44% of our total revenue. In addition, we have built-up nearly 32 billion in remaining performance obligations and our backlog remains robust. Even as we drew down backlog by 6% sequentially, our total backlog still grew year-over-year. These metrics, along with our increasing visibility, led us to raise our full-year outlook, which Scott will address in a moment. This quarter, we also achieved record operating cash flow, enabling today’s dividend increase, and the buyback over 1 billion. We continue to deliver on our commitment to drive returns to our shareholders.

Let me also provide an update on the supply situation. While components for a few product areas remain highly constrained, we did see an overall improvement. Combined with the aggressive actions our supply-chain and engineering teams took to redesign hundreds of our products, we increased product deliveries and saw significant reductions in customer lead times. As our product deliveries increased, channel inventories also declined as our partners were able to complete customer projects. Like I shared last quarter, as supply constraints ease and lead times shorten, we expect orders would normalize from previously elevated levels as customers return to more typical buying patterns. As a result, sequential quarterly order growth is a better indicator than year-over-year growth. And in Q2, despite improving lead times, our quarter-over quarter order growth was again in-line with our historical ranges across most of our geographies and customer markets.

With that, let me touch on what we’re seeing with customer demand. In our customer markets, we experienced normal double-digit sequential growth in both our enterprise and commercial markets, while public sector performed better than we’ve seen historically. Within our service provider business, our order rate was below recent sequentials as some customers are absorbing the improved delivery of our products into their production environments. We saw another consecutive quarter of rapid adoption of our 400 Gig Cisco 8000 and Silicon One platforms. This reflects the ongoing investments our customers are making in our innovative solutions and AI optimized infrastructure.

Within webscale, while we saw overall slowing due to normalizing product lead times, two of our largest customers grew their orders with us over 40% in the first-half of fiscal ’23. We continue to take share in this space. And over the past few years, we’ve grown our webscale cloud infrastructure from effectively zero into a multi-billion dollar run-rate business. I’m incredibly pleased about the overall progress we’ve made as we are continuing to win more and more use cases within their infrastructure. We are also still at the beginning of what we believe to be a massive growth opportunity going forward. While we continue to closely monitor the global macroeconomic conditions, the overall demand environment remains steady and on par with Q1 and our pipeline and win rates remain stable.

Looking at the broader landscape, digital transformation and hybrid cloud remain top areas of spend, which is fueling growth across our portfolio. Many customers have told me that while their spend levels may be slowing in some areas, technology remains essential as it is vital to their overall business resilience, competitive differentiation and success. In fact, Gartner and IDC’s most recent surveys, make it clear that technology budgets are growing as they forecast IT spend to increase in the mid to high single-digits in 2023. We are also seeing many customers moving ahead with their hybrid work, AI and ML investments, while building the modern infrastructure they need to deliver on their objectives. IoT has also been accelerating. We saw record revenue growth in Q2 as customers look to connect their Industrial Systems in order to optimize power consumption, automation and efficiency.

Lastly, cyber security and full stack observability remains strategic priorities, where we continue to invest and innovate. From a product revenue perspective, we saw strong double-digit growth for Catalyst 9000, Enterprise Routing, Wireless, Meraki, Duo and ThousandEyes, reflecting the ongoing investments our customers are making to modernize their infrastructure to rapidly digitize and secure their organizations. We are increasing our investments in our cloud management platforms that deliver the simplicity our customers need. You will see us continue to bring AI and ML into those platforms to further simplify how networks are managed. For example, in Q2, we announced several new innovations across our cloud managed networking and security portfolios that offer greater visibility with AI driven insights, enable secure connectivity and give our customers the ability to simplify their IT operations.

Last week, we introduced a preview of our cloud-native full stack observability platform. The first network visibility solution to support open telemetry. This platform brings together our ThousandEyes and AppDynamics capabilities for unmatched data correlation and insights from the user to the application to the network. To simplify network security and policy management, our unified SASE solution, Cisco Plus Secure Connect, now supports integration into Cisco SD-WAN fabrics, using Viptela technology, as well as our existing Meraki SD-WAN fabric. We also introduced new flexible more powerful and energy-efficient servers, which not only help lower-cost, but also help our customers meet their sustainability goals, an increasingly critical area for most of our customers.

To close, I’m proud of what we achieved this quarter. We delivered a strong financial performance, innovated across our portfolio, and continue to make great progress on our business transformation. In addition, the increased visibility we have from almost 32 billion in RPO, a healthy backlog and pipeline, and improving supply, give us the confidence to raise our full-year outlook. We expect those same factors to continue into fiscal year ’24, giving us conviction in our ability to deliver on our commitments. The modern resilient and secure networks we are building serve as the backbone of our customers’ technology strategy. Cisco is well-positioned to benefit from multiyear investment cycles, with our market-leading hardware, as well as our innovative software and services. Together, these allow our customers to digitize rapidly, secure their environments, and achieve their sustainability goals, all while delivering differentiated experiences.

Now, I’ll turn it over to Scott.

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, John. We delivered another strong quarter and exceeded both our top and bottom-line expectations, driven by our focused execution, continued success of our business transformation and improved availability of supply as the actions our supply-chain team has taken over the last several quarters are bearing fruit. Total revenue was $13.6 billion, up 7%. Non-GAAP net income was a record $3.6 billion and nonGAAP earnings per share, also a record, was $0.88.

Looking at our Q2 revenue in more detail. Total product revenue was $10.2 billion, up 9%, service revenue was $3.4 billion, up 2%. Within product revenue, Secure Agile Networks performed very well, up 14%. Switching revenue grew in the double-digits with strength in campus switching, driven by our Catalyst 9000 and Meraki offerings. While data center switching declined slightly, we saw strong growth in our Nexus 9000 offerings. Enterprise routing had double-digit growth, driven primarily by strength in our Catalyst 8000 series routers; SD-WAN and IoT routing. Wireless had very strong double-digit growth with strength across the entire portfolio.

Internet For The Future was down 1%, driven by declines in Optical and Edge. We saw growth in our Cisco 8000 offering and double-digit growth in webscale. Collaboration was down 10%, driven by declines in meetings and Collaboration Devices, slightly offset by growth in Contact Center. End-to-End Security was up 7%, driven by our unified threat management and Zero Trust offerings. Optimized Application Experiences was up 11%, driven by double-digit growth in our SaaS based offering ThousandEyes. We made solid progress on our transformation metrics as we shift our business to more recurring revenue-based offerings, driven by higher levels of software and subscriptions. We saw strong performance in our ARR of 23.3 billion, which increased 6% with product ARR growth of 11%.

Total software revenue was $4.2 billion, an increase of 10%, with software subscription revenue up 15%. 84% of the software revenue was subscription-based, which is up four percentage points year-over-year. We continue to have 2 billion of software orders in our product backlog. Total subscription revenue was 6 billion, an increase of 9%. Total subscription revenue represented 44% of total revenue. And RPO was $31.8 billion, up 4%. Product RPO increased 7% and service RPO increased 2% and total short-term RPO grew to $16.9 billion.

While total product orders were down 22% that compared against 34% growth in Q2 fiscal ’22, which was one of the largest quarters for product orders in our history. We saw a year-over-year declines across our geographies and customer markets. Sequentially, total product order growth was in-line with our historical growth rates. Within our customer markets, we experienced double-digit sequential growth in both enterprise and commercial, and public sector was better than we’ve seen historically. We continue to have very low order cancellation rates, which remain below prepandemic levels.

Total non-GAAP gross margin came in at the high-end of our guidance range at 63.9%, down 160 basis-points and up 90 basis-points sequentially. Product gross margin was 62.1%, down 220 basis-points year-over-year and up 110 basis-points sequentially. Service gross margin was 69.1%, up 30 basis-points. In our product gross margin, the year-over-year decrease was primarily driven by higher component and other costs. This was partially offset by our strong product mix and positive pricing, as the benefits of the actions we took in the prior fiscal year, flowed through as we shift our backlog. Non-GAAP operating margin came in at the high-end of our guidance range at 32.5%, down 180 basis-points year-over-year and up 70 basis-points sequentially. The year-over-year decline was primarily driven by the higher component and other costs that I just mentioned.

Backlog for both our hardware and software products continue to far exceed historical levels. As we navigated a complex supply environment, we were able to draw down total backlog by 6% sequentially, although it still grew year-over-year. Just a reminder, backlog is not included as part of our 31.8 billion in remaining performance obligations. Combined, our significant product backlog and RPO continued to provide great visibility to our top-line.

Shifting to the balance sheet. We ended Q2 with total cash, cash equivalents and investments of $22.1 billion. We had record operating cash-flow for the quarter of $4.7 billion, up 93% year-over-year, driven by strong collections and we deferred our Q2 federal tax payments due to the IR tax relief related to the California floods. We expect to pay these federal taxes by the end-of-the fiscal year. We returned $2.8 billion to shareholders during the quarter, which was comprised of 1.6 billion for our quarterly cash dividend and 1.3 billion of share repurchases. We also ended the quarter with 13.4 billion in remaining stock repurchase authorization.

Today, we announced that we are raising our quarterly dividend by one penny to $0.39 per share, which represents our 13th consecutive increase. This reinforces our commitment to returning a minimum of 50% of free cash flow to our shareholders annually and confidence in the strength and stability of our ongoing cash flows.

To summarize, we had a great quarter, delivering better-than-expected top and bottom-line performance. We continue to make progress on our business model shift to more recurring revenue, while making strategic investments in innovation to capitalize on our significant growth opportunities.

Turning now to our guidance. Our guidance ranges reflect our strong pipeline and significant visibility, driven by healthy backlog, ARR, RPO and improving availability of supply as we continue to benefit from the actions our supply-chain team have taken over the last several quarters. We expect those same factors will continue into fiscal 2024, giving us greater visibility and confidence in our longer-term goals.

For fiscal Q3, our guidance is, we expect revenue growth to be in the range of 11% to 13%. We anticipate the non-GAAP gross margin to be in the range of 63.5% to 64.5%. Our non-GAAP operating margin is expected to be in the range of 33% to 34%. And our non-GAAP earnings per share is expected to range from $0.96 to $0.98. There’s also a significant change to our full-year fiscal ’23 revenue and nonGAAP earnings per share guidance, driven by these same factors. For fiscal year ’23, we are raising our expectations for revenue growth to be in the range of 9% to 10.5% year-over-year. Non-GAAP earnings per share is expected to range from $3.73 to $3.78. In both our Q3 and full-year guidance, we’re assuming a non-GAAP effective tax-rate of 19%.

I’ll now turn it back to Marilyn so we can move into the Q&A.

Marilyn Mora — Head of Investor Relations

Thanks, Scott. I’m going to turn it over to Chuck just for a few comments before we start the Q&A.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Before we get into Q&A, I just wanted to send our condolences to those impacted by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. It’s been absolutely devastating to watch as the death toll has climbed and we’re working closely with our teams in the region to give them support and help on the ground as much as we can. We just want to let them know that we’re all thinking about them and we’re here to help.

Marilyn Mora — Head of Investor Relations

Thanks, Chuck. Michelle, let’s go ahead and open up the queue for question-and-answers.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you, Marilyn. Ittai Kidron, you may go ahead with Oppenheimer and Company.

Ittai Kidron — Oppenheimer and Company — Analyst

Thanks, guys. And nice quarter and nice guide. The big question is, when you think about the outlook that you have for continued supply-chain improvement, how long would the order backlog normalization process is going to take in your view? And maybe you can quantify in the quarter itself, or perhaps on the guidance, when you look at the guidance, how much of that is coming from your ability to fulfill more versus the true underlying demand? I’m just trying to gauge for how long you can kind of keep this going at above normal growth rates for yourself.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, Ittai, thanks for the question. And shockingly enough that was the first question I expected. Let me just summarize sort of what we’re seeing and then I can give you more detail. But number one, let’s start with the fact that our demand is stable. And that’s first based on the sequentials that we saw, demand remained stable. And in fact, if you look at it, our Q3 forecast, which we normally wouldn’t give you, the current forecast in Q3 is also in-line with historical ranges of sequentials. So that’s the first piece.

The second thing is, as Scott said, while we’ve — backlog came down 6% sequentially, it was up year-over-year. And we expect that we will end the fiscal year, even with the guidance we gave you today, with a backlog that’s roughly double what we would normally end the year with.

The other thing to take into consideration is the business transformation with 44% of our revenue now recurring, really helps a great deal and we have $23 billion of ARR, which we can actually renew in the next 12 months. So if you go back eight or nine years ago, we might have had to take orders for 75% of our revenue in any given quarter and now we have 44% of our revenue coming from the balance sheet and recurring revenue.

So, all that said, we actually believe that we’ll still be able to deliver. We’re confident that we’ll deliver positive growth in fiscal ’24, obviously with pretty significant comps based on the guidance that we gave today.

Ittai Kidron — Oppenheimer and Company — Analyst

Okay. I guess, when I think normal, given your historical ranges before the pandemic, I always think about four to six is kind of the range, plus-minus, that you run at. Is it fair to say that from here on anything above is kind of order eating into backlog. And while your backlog is double, that can still mean that you can run above-normal ranges for at least couple of years, it sounds like, unless something unusual happens. Am I misinterpreting your comments?

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Scott, you want to take that?

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

No, not at all, Ittai. But what I would say is that, obviously too early for us to guide fiscal ’24, what — and we wanted to give you confidence as we have better visibility than we’ve ever had in the past, both from the backlog and the 17 billion, almost $17 billion of RPO that’s current, that’s going to turn into revenue in the next 12 months in the ARR. But I — and we’re going to roll-in backlog, that’s roughly double what it normally would be at the end of the year. So we have good confidence in where we’re headed in fiscal ’24. I think it’s a bit too early given where we are in the year, just at the end of our second-quarter, for us to be a little more precise on that.

Ittai Kidron — Oppenheimer and Company — Analyst

Okay. Appreciate. Good luck. Thanks.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks.

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thanks.

Marilyn Mora — Head of Investor Relations

Thanks, Ittai. Next question please.

Operator

Amit Daryanani from Evercore. You may go ahead, sir.

Amit Daryanani — Evercore — Analyst

Thanks. Congrats on a really good quarter from my end as well. Maybe if I think about the Secure Agile Networking segment growing at 14%, that’s really notable and I don’t think the industry is growing nearly close to that pace. So I’d love to understand, I mean, do you think you’re starting to see some share gains come back towards Cisco, especially the supply-chain start to improve. Is that a tailwind that you’re seeing and perhaps that continues for the rest of the year? Maybe you could just talk about that and also maybe talk about how campus did within that segment? That would be helpful.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Amit. Let me take the share question because I think I’ve said on several calls that obviously market-share is reflective of revenue and with our backlog that, as we began to ship certain products that we would be a gainer of market-share. And we certainly expect that when these numbers are digested and new reports come out for Q4, that you’ll see that to be the case. One example is during last quarter, our wireless revenue was up 57% year-over-year and I suspect that that’s going to be a share gainer.

And the other thing to keep in mind is that market share is inexact, I would tell you that when we ship products into the webscale infrastructure space as an example, it goes into our routing reports and many of our competitors put it in datacenter switching. So it’s very difficult in some cases to get complete apples-to-apples, but I do believe that as we continue to ship our backlog that we will be gaining share.

Do you want to talk a little bit about that? The campus switching?

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes, sorry, I missed that part of the question.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Amit, can you repeat your question about the campus switching, the second part?

Amit Daryanani — Evercore — Analyst

Yes. I was just wondering, like, within this context of 14% growth that you saw in that segment, how is campus performing for you very specifically and how the supply-chain kind of alleviated over that view?

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes, campus is doing well for us. And the supply-chain, while — I don’t want to leave the perception that supply-chain just got better. Our supply-chain team and our product engineering teams have worked pretty relentlessly over the last several quarters. So with product redesign, with qualifying alternative components, with working with our suppliers to get their sub-components to make sure we can free this up so that the increase in supply that’s leading to some of the share gains that we’re talking about is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people inside the company. And I think frankly it puts us in a better position than many of our peers in the industry right now from a supply-chain standpoint. But the longer answer or the short answer is, yes, we’re doing quite well in that space. And as we continue to deliver what we’ve just laid out as our guidance for the second-half of this year, I think you’ll continue to see share gain grow for us.

Amit Daryanani — Evercore — Analyst

Got it. That’s really helpful. But let me just ask you really quick on, your back-half guidance is obviously fairly impressive, but in April quarter, you’re sort of implying gross margins will be down 130 basis-points year-over-year I think for the April quarter, can you just talk about how much of a downtick you think is, cyclical things like the supply-chain and logistics and so on versus structural? And what do you think normalized gross margins could look like for the company if supply-chain is truly normalized? Thank you.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, the midpoint of the guide for the April quarter is about a 10 basis-point improvement from the quarter we just announced. So we do see gross margins improving and it’s largely driven by — it’s less driven by cost. We’re seeing some reduction in cost around logistics in particular but component costs are kind of staying where they are in most cases. It’s more driven by the fact that as we shift the backlog more-and-more of what we ship, reflects the price increases that we put in-place last year. So, I think you’ll see gross margins potentially continue to expand from where they are, maybe as much as 50 basis-points in Q4.

Amit Daryanani — Evercore — Analyst

Perfect. Thank you.

Marilyn Mora — Head of Investor Relations

Great. Thank you. Next question please.

Operator

Thank you. Paul Silverstein with Cowen. You may go ahead, sir.

Paul Silverstein — Cowen and Company — Analyst

Thanks. Chuck and Scott, appreciate that you all addressed in your prepared remarks, the visibility demand trend issue, but — so my apologies, but I’d ask you to revisit, especially in your enterprise business, including government in US Federal. I’m sure you and your team are aware what your competitors have served. I know, Chuck, you just addressed the market-share issue. But can you give us some more color in terms of the solidity of the demand trends and the visibility that’s translating into?

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, as I’ve said, the — our enterprise and commercial business, which is reflective of how most of our peers represent enterprise, they were — that was up double-digits sequentially, which is in-line with our historical ranges. And Public Sector actually performed better than — it was above our historical range during the quarter.

So, the other thing I would point out is that our quarter itself, from a linearity perspective, was quite normal and we actually had a — we’re unique in that we had the January month in our Q2, and one of the questions that we had was, what’s going to happen to budgets as we enter into calendar ’23? And we clearly — we actually finished stronger than we started the quarter. So those are just a few data points for you.

And I think If you look at what our customers are focused on right now, I mean, think about some of their top priorities. They’ve got a complete re-architecture of their applications to be cloud-native, running in both public and-or private clouds. They’re having to re-architect their infrastructure to actually deal with the changing traffic patterns that multicloud brings to them. They’re dealing with hybrid work and how do I transform my IT infrastructure for that. They’re dealing with cyber security threats on a massive scale. And they’re also all focused on sustainability, which is leading to our IoT business growing significantly as we connect industrial systems for our customers. So if you think about those big five trends, we’re actually in the middle of those with all of our customers. So we feel good about where we are.

And the last thing I’ll say is that I was in Tokyo and Singapore last week and at the same time a lot of my leadership team were in Amsterdam for Cisco Live Europe and no one is talking about cutting technology spending right now. Everybody is, it seems, very committed to it. I think the underlying power of technology as it relates to all of our organizations strategy is just too strong right now.

Paul Silverstein — Cowen and Company — Analyst

All right. Scott, back on the margin question. I appreciate you’ve got to walk before you run, but you’re now three percentage points roughly below peak on both gross and operating in terms of the initial recovery. Any thoughts for how much of the three percentage points — can you eventually get back to 67 gross? Can you can get back to 35 operating? And it’s just a function of time or because of the price increases, with respect to SMEs or other things, that’s just a bridge too far?

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I mean, as you talked, long-term, there’s a number of tailwinds that will come into gross margins. So not necessarily talking about our guide for fiscal ’23, but longer-term, there’s several things that are going to be a tailwind there. One is, continuing to work our way through the backlog and reflect the price increases. I think we will continue to see leverage and logistics costs, both from a reduction in the freight cost per kilo, but also in the mix of how we ship between what has supply air-freight and will go on the ocean. So, I think we’ll see some leverage there as well. I don’t see a lot of our component providers, outside of commodity areas like memory, lining up to reduce cost to us, right? So, I think that it will be a combination of mix that will be beneficial to us and some cost leverage in the non-component areas that will drive that north.

Paul Silverstein — Cowen and Company — Analyst

So, you think you can get back to 67, 35?

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So, are you asking me for a five-year forecast on gross margin, Paul? Is that where you’re going?

Paul Silverstein — Cowen and Company — Analyst

Yes, long-term, long-term, can you get back to that model?

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Long-term, there is definitely leverage to push it back to where it’s been historically, for sure, and if not beyond.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes.

Paul Silverstein — Cowen and Company — Analyst

Thanks, guys.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Marilyn Mora — Head of Investor Relations

Thanks, Paul. Next question please.

Operator

Thank you. Meta Marshall with Morgan Stanley. You may go ahead.

Meta Marshall — Morgan Stanley — Analyst

Great. Thanks. I’m assuming, as you’re having conversations with customers, they are looking for more flexible subscription methods, and part of your subscription transition has kind of been evolving, kind of the ELA model or kind of the subscription model, you guys have had. And I just wanted to get a sense of where you think you are on some of the subscriptionizaation of some of your products and whether you are seeing a big impact to that right now? And then, just, maybe just some commentary about how you see the M&A environment currently? Thanks.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Meta, thank you. So, we are probably, I’d say still in the early innings of transitioning the traditional portfolio to subscription models. The team is working hard on that right now. And we will just continue to keep you updated. But I think we’re several quarters away from really having anything to speak about relative to the size of that business, but we’re working hard on being able to deliver that. And the key is to give customers flexibility. That’s what — over the last seven years or so, we have disaggregated hardware and software and silicon, we’ve virtualized software to run on x86 appliances. So we want to give all — we want to give our customers whatever kinds of flexibility that they would like. So, that’s the first part.

On the M&A side, I would say, our strategy, as you would expect has not changed. I think, the market dynamics have changed and I think that the longer valuations remain somewhat muted from their peaks. I think some of the companies are probably coming to more of a real position on what, how long these valuations may exist and were the prior valuations even realistic in the first-place. So we continue to stay aware of what’s going on, we continue to scan the marketplace, but our strategy remains the same.

Meta Marshall — Morgan Stanley — Analyst

Great. Thanks.

Marilyn Mora — Head of Investor Relations

Thanks, Chuck. Next question please.

Operator

Thank you. Simon Leopold with Raymond James. You may go ahead, sir.

Simon Leopold — Raymond James — Analyst

I wanted to see if we could talk a little bit about the trends you’re seeing in datacenters. In the prepared remarks, I think you mentioned campus was good but datacenter was weak. And I guess, maybe I’m looking from not just the switching part of it, but your UCS business. And what are the broader trends? How much of that is reflective of hyperscale slowing versus the broader market? Just try to unpack that a bit. Thank you.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, I’ll make a couple of comments, and Scott, I don’t know if you want to give any detail. But I would say that our customers are increasingly balanced around how they’re thinking about private cloud versus public cloud. And so, we’ve seen continued focus on revitalizing the private datacenter infrastructure. And I’ll let Scott speak to — and I’m not sure on the infrastructure side or UCS, if you want to share that. But the other thing I would point out, Simon, as I said in my comments earlier about market-share, everything that we sell in the infrastructure within webscale, flows into our routing market-share numbers, in our routing business. So it doesn’t actually boost our datacenter switching the way we report it. So it’s a little bit of an apples and oranges issue. I just want to make sure you understood that.

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

No, that’s a really good point. And on UCS, if that’s the root of your question, Simon, we are seeing nice growth in UCS as well. And at least based on our calculations, I feel like we’re gaining share there as well.

Simon Leopold — Raymond James — Analyst

Thanks. And then just maybe a quick follow-up. I was little bit surprised that the metric of hardware attached software in backlog is 2 billion, same as it was in the prior quarter. I would have guessed it would have come down with the — basically improvement of shipping, the hard associated hardware. So, maybe — maybe I don’t understand that value or you can talk a little bit to why that 2 billion didn’t come down with the extra shipments of the related hardware? Thanks.

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes, it’s a great question, Simon. And we actually did see — if you noticed, our overall software revenue grew 10% this quarter. So back to double-digit growth. And some of that growth is on the back of shipping — some of the backlog out, both the hardware and the software that’s in backlog. So we are seeing the benefit of shipping that out. At the same time, as Chuck said earlier, demand remains steady. And so, our overall backlog, while it came down only about 6% sequentially, there is still a significant amount of software stuck in that backlog, some of it attached to hardware.

Simon Leopold — Raymond James — Analyst

And software as a total percent of revenue, or product revenue, that metric, where’s that now?

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes, just for software, it’s in the 30% range. Overall, we are in the 44% range.

Simon Leopold — Raymond James — Analyst

Thank you very much.

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thanks.

Marilyn Mora — Head of Investor Relations

All right. Thanks, Simon. Next question.

Operator

Thank you. Sami Badri from Credit Suisse. You may go ahead, sir.

Sami Badri — Credit Suisse — Analyst

Hi, thank you. I had one quick one and a follow-up. The first one is on just the datacenter switching redesign. You guys have made several mentions regarding supply and the team kind of working hard to get redesigns through, but does that actually mean the data center switching portfolio is now completed with redesign and that partly did drive the better revenue guidance for the year? So that’s my first question.

The other one is, we’ve seen several companies report elongated lead times for sales cycles and extra signatures and all these other elements, and I appreciate, Chuck, you did hit on the fact that you aren’t seeing any kind of tech spend get cut, but are you seeing some kind of resistance or slow down as far as sales cycles impacting the speed at which you guys have historically done business? And I take into account, also I appreciate your comment regarding linearity. I just wanted to kind of ask this question and get it through.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, let me take the second one first. And then, Scott, you can talk about the datacenter switching redesign. We absolutely are seeing some elongated sales cycles. What our teams have told me is that in many cases there are extra signatures required, we just seem to, in general, be getting them. It just takes a little bit longer. So — but, look, it’s a complex world right now. But If you look back at historical sort of, what we would consider a bit of a crisis or a complex world environment, I’ve experienced demand falling off a cliff, and we obviously haven’t seen that in the current situation.

Scott, you want to talk about the redesign?

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes, just to finish up on that, pipeline looks strong, close rates still look good. So we’re not seeing a huge difference there. There is, in some cases, a slight elongation. On the redesign, that’s absolutely contributed to the growth that we’re seeing, particularly in Secure Agile Networks, less so from in terms of releasing the next successor product, more being able to design around problematic components that we couldn’t get supply of. And as we work those redesigns to build the product around components we can get our hands-on, that’s what we’re talking about when we talk about the redesign. And so, there is no question that’s driven some of the growth that you saw in the quarter we just announced. It will continue to drive the significant growth that we’ve put out for the second-half. And to be clear, we will continue to see growth into fiscal ’24. All the trends we’ve talked about that are driving the uptick that you see in our guidance in the second-half of this year, those trends continue into fiscal ’24 and we continue to expect nice growth there. I just think it’s a little too early to start to quantify that and give you a guide.

Sami Badri — Credit Suisse — Analyst

Got it. Thank you.

Marilyn Mora — Head of Investor Relations

Next question please.

Operator

Thank you. George Notter from Jefferies. You may go ahead, sir.

George Notter — Jefferies — Analyst

Hi, guys. Thanks very much. I guess I wanted to ask about your impressions of backlog and product orders relative to three months ago. And I think I have this correct, about three months ago, you guys were talking about if product orders were down 10% for the year, then your product backlog at fiscal year end, would be two to three times higher than the normal kind of $4 billion or $5 billion range. And Chuck, I think you were quick to say that it didn’t feel like a 10% order decline was in the cards for you. So it feels now like you are going to burn more backlog than you were thinking previously and orders will be a bit worse than previous. Am I perceiving that correctly? And what are your thoughts there? Thanks.

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes, George. I’ll take that, Chuck, and then you can jump in. I don’t think it is burning down backlog. We clearly are — the good news is we’re able to ship more of the backlog. That’s good news for our customers. They’re waiting for these components. They’ve got projects that they are holding up that they need to get done. It’s good news for our channel in the sense that the channel is sitting on, in some cases, partial shipments. They need that last box that they can go out and implement that and relieve some of the pressure on their own working capital.

So it’s not — I’m responding to the burning down backlog. This is good news, our ability to ship the backlog, and that’s what you see reflected there in the guide down, or sorry, in the guide up that we have in the second-half of the year. We have — what you see now is a significantly higher revenue projection for the second-half of the year than we had before, and some of that clearly is our ability to ship backlog, because of the great job our team has done to free-up supply.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And I would say on the demand side, if I go back 90 days, I would say, in general, I think there was more risk — at least it felt like there was more risk. And when I talked to my customers, there was more uncertainty. And even when you hear — listen to the news and we talked — I talked to my colleagues, we were in Davos, it feels like the longer we go without seeing some major shift, then the better our customers are feeling. So obviously, we’re not immune to anything and we’ll have to continue to monitor it. But after traveling in Asia last week, our team being in Europe, I actually saw customers in New York while I was here this week, and customers are moving forward.

George Notter — Jefferies — Analyst

Great. That’s helpful. Thank you very much.

Marilyn Mora — Head of Investor Relations

Thanks, George. Next question.

Operator

Thank you. David Vogt with UBS. You may go ahead.

David Vogt — UBS — Analyst

Great. Thank you, guys. And I apologize if you covered this, my line cut out a little bit before. Scott, I am just trying to clarify the order versus the backlog comment. I think, if I am not mistaken, your run-rate backlog had been sort of roughly $5 billion as you exited fiscal year. So, are you suggesting to us that the backlog comes down by about $3.5 billion over the next several quarters? And if that’s the case, if I just kind of back that out of your guidance, would that imply sort of that the business is effectively flat year-over-year, ex the backlog drawdown, as we exit ’23 into ’24? And then, I have a quick follow-up.

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So, let me try and walk through some of the moving parts there, David. It’s a great question. What we said previously is we thought we would end the year with somewhere between two and three times normal backlog. And normal backlog, as we said last quarter, is between $4 billion and $5 billion at the end of the year. What we now see is that it’s still going to be roughly double what — that same range. So, there is definitely our ability to ship some out of the backlog, which is, again, great news for our customers and for our partners.

The one piece that’s missing in your equation is, as we ship the backlog, remember, we said there is more than $2 billion of software in there, a lot of that software is ratable. So, as soon as we ship it, it doesn’t all drop into the revenue stream, it ends up dropping into deferred revenue and being recognized overtime. So, there is a — you have to consider not just the reduction in backlog, what’s the uptick in the revenue guide, but also how much of this is going to contribute to growth in deferred revenue. That may be the piece that you are missing.

David Vogt — UBS — Analyst

Got it. And then, maybe just as a quick follow-up. So, as we enter, let’s say, the next fiscal year, I mean, given your excellent work on supply-chain, and the team has done a phenomenal job, would that imply — I mean, basically, we could be back at normalized backlog within a quarter, maybe two at the worst-case scenario, if trends hold consistent where we are today. Is that a reasonable expectation?

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Rather than try to say it’s a quarter or it’s two quarters, I do expect it to normalize in fiscal ’24.

David Vogt — UBS — Analyst

Great. Thanks, guys.

Marilyn Mora — Head of Investor Relations

Next question please.

Operator

Thank you. Tal Liani with Bank of America. You may go ahead, sir.

Tal Liani — Bank of America — Analyst

Great. He stole my thunder with the previous question. That was exactly my question. So, I want to — I understand the — I want to understand something, just a clarification on what you just answered. So, at the minimum, the decline in the backlog was $600 million, at the minimum, because end of year is going to be $8 million to $10 million. Take 6% of that and the backlog is now higher. So that means, at the minimum, your backlog declined $600 million. And that means that product growth, we should take out some of the $600 million because some of it goes into deferred revenue. Am I correct with what you just answered?

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. Well, you are close. Let me run through it again, Tal, and if it’s still not clear, we can catch in, in the follow-ups. The 6% was the decline in backlog from Q1 to Q2, right? So, we were able to work off about 6% of the backlog that we came into the quarter with. What we have said is, at the time that we gave you that Q2 guide and the full-year, the previous full year guide, we expected to end the year with somewhere between two and three times our normal backlog. We are not saying it’s going to be roughly double the normal backlog. Some of that, obviously, will ship out and will be a part of the significant guide-up that we have given you in the second-half revenue. Some of it will instead of turning into immediate revenue, will go into deferred revenue and be recognized ratably overtime. I hope that’s clear.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And show-up in RPO.

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes, it will show up in deferred revenue and RPO. I hope that’s clear, Tal, if not, we can follow-up.

Tal Liani — Bank of America — Analyst

Yes. Very clear. So, my question — I want to go back to the basics and understand, last quarter, we were all concerned about environment slowing down. We don’t hear it. We don’t hear you saying environment continues to slow down. We didn’t hear Arista saying it. We didn’t hear you saying that service providers were weak. Can you take us through the big customer account and tell us what is the situation of spending with your enterprise customers, commercial customers, service provider customers? Did the environment further deteriorate from the previous quarter, or did it stabilize? And does it make you think that at least the trends so far, the year would continue to be normal on a sequential basis? Or do you expect some more deterioration going forward?

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, Tal, so, we — on the enterprise and commercial space, we saw a double-digit sequential growth, which is in-line with what we have seen historically. And as I have said, public sector was actually higher than historical ranges and Federal was — US Federal was extremely strong during the quarter from a demand perspective.

On the service provider side, I think you are seeing many of our competitors and peers, some of them anyway, don’t give order data. And so, I think for us, those customers are the ones who did the most planning for long-term ordering. So, as lead times begin to come down, we would expect them to change their ordering patterns and they have already got six months to 12 months’ worth of consumption lined up in the backlog. So, we’ll see that normalize over the next few quarters.

I will say in the webscale space, there are roughly 35 use cases or franchises within the largest players, and we’ve actually been designed into 18 of those at this point. And we are very confident that we will continue to get designed in. I got a note today that we had just got notice that, about a new design win today. And so, we are still very optimistic long-term, we just think it’s a short-term normalization for our service provider space.

Tal Liani — Bank of America — Analyst

Got it. Layoffs and the economic slowdown, my question was whether these factors you see an impact on your business on orders or they stabilized from previous quarter?

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, you mean layoffs in, like, in our customers?

Tal Liani — Bank of America — Analyst

Yes. Yes, across the industry.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Well, if you think about what occurred, there was a lot of companies that had a massive surge in employment, and we didn’t. But I think the thing that we are seeing right now is that we’ve seen the sequential growth be in-line and some — like, it was towards the lower end. So, it’s not performing at the highest end, but I think that it’s in range. And if you — and I also shared that in Q3, our current forecast is also in line sequentially with historical ranges, which we normally don’t give. We just wanted you guys to have that visibility. So, look, it’s certainly an uncertain time, and I am not — I don’t want to paint a picture that we are immune, and I don’t want to paint a picture that every customer is spending everywhere on everything. But we have been able to maintain and continue to see our customers moving forward with projects. And the one thing that was really encouraging for me was to see January as strong as it was, given our — the uncertainty around ’23 budgets.

Tal Liani — Bank of America — Analyst

Got it. Thank you.

Marilyn Mora — Head of Investor Relations

Thanks, Tal. Next question.

Operator

Tim Long with Barclays. You may go ahead, sir.

Tim Long — Barclays — Analyst

Thank you. Just hoping I can get two in here. One, could you talk a little bit about — obviously, the enterprise campus is still very strong, but I think traditionally, that it’s kind of a GDP-ish type of business that it has been running above that. And it sounds like your confidence for next year is pretty strong as well. So maybe, Chuck, any insights? Like, what’s kind of different there? Or are we starting to decouple from, like, macro GDP for that campus networking fees? Any thoughts there would be great.

And then, second, obviously, a lot of excitement out there about AI, ChatGPT, all that stuff. Just curious what you think for your datacenter and cloud businesses, what kind of impact — if there is kind of more of an arms race with big customers around AI, what that would mean for switching and routing business for you guys? Thank you.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Tim. So first one, on enterprise campus, I do think that the pandemic was a great educator for our customers about the need to maintain modernized infrastructure because moving into the pandemic, I think it became quite obvious to many of our customers that they had not been updating, and they had — they were sweating assets a little longer. So, that’s one thing that’s shifted. The second is we are really seeing these trends of multicloud, the trend of hybrid work and the overall re-architecture of their networks. If you really think about what — how we built networks for 20 years, we built it on a premise that we have branches and we have a private data center, and all the traffic flows are very understood. Now, I have to upgrade my entire infrastructure to deal with this brand-new world that I live in, supporting hybrid work, supporting hybrid cloud, et cetera. So, I think that’s been driving a lot of this, as well as safety in the office, IoT, creating new experiences to get our employees back to work, et cetera. So, that’s what I think has been driving a lot of the enterprise campus stuff.

As it relates to your second question around the AI play, I think that, look, these AI networks that are being built, whether it’s in webscale or whether we have some of our largest enterprise customers that are building AI networks and training AI algorithms, these are — like, in the webscale space, they are like bigger than the core infrastructure networks that they are running, which was astonishing to me when I learned that. And the network performance required is three to four times what they have historically needed. And so this is a massive opportunity for us. And we are in active discussions with lots of customers around it. And so, we do think that this shift is going to create a good opportunity for us in the future.

Tim Long — Barclays — Analyst

Okay. Thank you. Very helpful.

Marilyn Mora — Head of Investor Relations

Thanks, Chuck. Next question.

Operator

Thank you. Samik Chatterjee with JP Morgan. You may go ahead, sir.

Samik Chatterjee — JP Morgan — Analyst

Yes. Hi. Thanks for taking my question. Congrats on the strong guide. Maybe if I can just quickly hit on two of the product areas, firstly, security, what sort of benefits are you seeing given your broad portfolio there in terms of customers looking to maybe some level of vendor consolidation, just given your position as a more broader security portfolio supplier? And what sort of benefits, as supply eases, maybe on the firewall side, should we expect greater revenue growth? And a similar question on Internet for the Future segment, seems like a bit more supply constrained than other segments. But what sort of are you — what are you seeing on the supply-side there? Thank you.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Okay. I will take security and you can take the supply side. So, I think that — look, all of our customers definitely want to consolidate their security infrastructure. They have got 40, 50 different vendors, and trying to correlate these threats is very difficult and it’s just — you can’t add enough people. So, our teams right now are heads down working on some new capabilities that we are going to be bringing out over the next 12 to 18 months. And some of that is focused on exactly that, how do we consolidate and how do we create the ability to correlate threats in real-time much more effectively. And so, we think that you are probably going to start seeing the benefit of that three quarters or four quarters out. So, the team has got work to do. We have hired a significant amount of outside talent. We have invested heavily in this space. So, while we may see — we may not see the growth that you want to see in the near-term, but you will see this begin to accelerate in FY ’24. And I think that we’ll — we’re playing a long game here and really believe that there is a lot of consolidation that we can drive over the next few years. Scott?

R. Scott Herren — Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. Internet for the Future, Samik, it is one of the spaces. We’ve worked so hard and done so much across our entire product portfolio and we’ve made great progress in many cases. I would say Internet for the Future is one of the spaces where we’re still — we’ve improved lead-times there, but we are still not back to more normal lead-times in that space. What I’d also say though, is we have already picked up orders just in the last several weeks from some of our peers that are also selling into that same space who couldn’t meet demand. And those orders came to us instead. So, while — it’s a space we continue to work on, and while we are seeing improvement, it’s not where we want it to be. I feel like we’re performing pretty well on the supply-side in Internet for the Future.

Samik Chatterjee — JP Morgan — Analyst

Yes, got it. Thank you.

Marilyn Mora — Head of Investor Relations

All right. That wraps up our Q&A. I am going to turn it over to Chuck for some closing remarks.

Charles H. Robbins — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, first off, I just want to thank everybody for spending time with us today and also really thank our teams. They delivered on very strong results. I want to thank the supply-chain and our engineering teams for quarter-after-quarter after quarter of hard work and redesigns, over 100 product redesigns, aggressive actions to get us to the position we are in today, the entire company for the progress we have made on our business transformation. And I will just leave you with our feeling that our demand has remained stable. The business transformation is contributing significantly, our backlog, all of those give us the visibility and confidence in the future. I think the relevance of our portfolio, given the most pressing needs of our customers, is as high as it’s been in a very long time, and I am super proud of what our teams have accomplished. So, look forward to talking to you in the future and thanks for joining us today.

Marilyn Mora — Head of Investor Relations

Thanks, Chuck. Cisco’s next quarterly earnings conference call, which will reflect our fiscal 2023 third-quarter results, will be on Wednesday, May 17, 2023 at 1:30 PM Pacific Time, 4:30 PM Eastern Time. This concludes today’s call. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to the Cisco Investor Relations group, and we thank you very much for joining today’s call.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

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