About Us


Cunning Systems was named after the Cunning Burn, which runs in a valley in Aberdeenshire.

Cunning Systems evaluates product and service ideas in computing and communications. We offer systems analysis, technology risk analysis, and management consulting to companies who can benefit from our experience and current knowledge. Areas of expertise include artificial intelligence, machine learning, large scale computing and communications systems, embedded systems, electrical power and energy metering. Some customers are recent startups, some are very long established.
As of 2022, we have moved from Silicon Valley where we were based for more than 20 years, to Edinburgh in Scotland.

Anne CM Johnson, CEO

Blending business reality with broad, deep, systems architecture and science background in information technology and energy. Investing, advising, and operating in early stage startups in the US and Europe. Delivering value by identifying significant computing and communications technology trends and consequent business opportunities. Operating experience in successful large and small companies in Silicon Valley and the UK.


On Program Committee for the UK Network Operators Forum (volunteer). Investor. Board observer for cPacket Networks.  Global Scot, and adviser for Scottish Business Network.


Technology adviser for global investment funds manager.

Treasurer  and director for a Silicon Valley charity supporting the Los Altos Library.

Vice President for Xockets LLC, identifying early adopters for a product using new hardware and software architecture to incorporate FPGAs and embedded ARM processors in a Big Data analytics appliance.

Mentor and angel investor at Techstars.

Adviser at VidGrid, which was acquired by Paylocity.

Adviser at Cluster HQ, which built open source multi-host container orchestration software. Located in Bristol and Los Altos.

Non executive director for Musemantik, Edinburgh.

First presence outside the US for Arista Networks and for XKL LLC.

Technical leadership and program management at Cisco Systems with major partners (IBM, Intel), and smaller companies in the Data Center business unit and Service Provider business unit, reporting to the VP GM.
· Reviewed potential corporate investments and acquisitions with a security focus. Ran post-acquisition integration of several companies, reporting to the VM GM of the Service Provider business unit and the CEO.
· Built and managed a group of consulting engineers in Consulting Engineering, a corporate troubleshooting group reporting to the CTO, focused on infrastructure applications (DNS, DHCP, network management, security and encryption). Presented regularly at Cisco’s customer conferences.
· Broad background in routing, switching, network infrastructure, optics, and network security.

VP at Netsys Technologies, acquired by Cisco Systems. Netsys Technologies developed visualization and simulation software for routed data networks.

CTO at Chernikeeff Telecommunications, London. Chernikeeff was Cisco’s first UK reseller, selling network systems, network design and systems integration, hardware and services. It was subsequently acquired by Dimension Data.

MA University of Aberdeen Economic Science
MSc University of Edinburgh Artificial Intelligence, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science

Steven L Johnson, CTO

Engineering management for large scale communications and computing systems.


Software tools development for structured and embedded programming.


Principal Engineer at Silver Spring Networks (now part of Itron)

Consulting Engineering manager at Cisco Systems

Director, Engineering at GES JvNCnet

Software development manager at JEOL


BSc Michigan State University Chemistry, Computer Science