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An Architectural Approach to Mobility

When it comes to mobility, everyone is learning fast in order to keep up. With what seems like daily advances in mobile technology and rapid consumer adoption, it is not getting any easier for organizations to break the cycle of reactive IT decision making. For many of our customers, enterprise mobility happened to them and the initial supporting architecture was built at light speed to respond to the demands of the business. While this approach was necessary to stop the deluge, it didn’t put all of the pieces in place to enable organizations to adapt the continuous change and emerging new realities of mobility. For instance:

  • Users now connect to the network with three or more mobile/WLAN devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, resulting in complex wireless infrastructures and network bottlenecks.
  • Inconsistent management tools and policies across the wired and wireless segments of the network increase the burden for network managers and drive up management costs and complexity.
  • Employees demand access from devices not only within the corporation, but also beyond the firewall.
  • Risk management dictates that corporate data must remain protected.

The need to balance productivity with security and coordinate business justification with the various line of business (LOB) owners has never been greater. IT leaders who want to break out of the reactive cycle of just keeping up must take a step back to evaluate what’s coming next. What changes are on the horizon? How will it impact my network? How can my network help me adapt to the changing needs of my employees?

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Revenue-Generation Marketing: The Proof is in the Pipeline

November 14, 2013 at 9:47 am PST

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” -- Winston Churchill

In a recent blog, I scratched the surface of revenue-generation marketing and how we’re transforming marketing from a cost center to a revenue generating center within Cisco. This week, I want to dig a little deeper.

Marketing that contributes measurable ROI to the bottom line… that sounds great, right? But how do you get there? The core of revenue-generation marketing and what makes it work is the partnership between sales and marketing. And, the first step of revenue-generation marketing is alignment of the revenue-generation marketing plan with the overall business plan for the company. Without that, the whole revenue-generation marketing process, from executing to managing the funnel with account teams and having regular funnel management business reviews, won’t work. You have to execute against the priorities of the business overall.

As marketing organizations transition into a revenue generators, an almost natural shift happens. Marketing begins speaking the language of the business and sales. We talk about planning, forecast, pipeline, bookings and revenue. Marketing hasn’t historically done that, so there’s another evolution occurring in the industry.

From a sales and marketing revenue alignment perspective, you obviously want to align on priorities with sales. But at the end of the day, what makes the marketing plan a revenue-generation marketing plan is the fact that a revenue contribution target is set, either focused on pipeline or bookings and revenue. That target is usually set or communicated as a percentage of sales. According to Sirius Decisions, the industry standard for business to business (B2B), high-tech marketing contribution-to-revenue baselines is that >$5 billion companies source less than 10 percent of sales pipeline, with high of 20 percent and a low of 2 percent of sales pipeline. The industry standard provides a baseline of where you want to be. At that point, you need to realistically evaluate where you are – your run rate and marketing’s current contribution to revenue.

Beyond run rate, there are only three levers for driving this plan: volume, visibility, and conversion rate. What volume of leads are you driving; how much of that is visibly available and reportable in your sales force or customer relationship management systems; and how much of that is being accepted and converted by the sales team into the pipeline or revenue?

Now we’re humming along. We’re aligned. We’re speaking the language. We’ve set our contribution revenue target based on industry standards. The “Rocky” theme song splits the air, and we’re on top of the world. Well, not quite yet. Now that we’ve taken a look at our plan from a top-down perspective, it’s time to reverse engineer the demand waterfall to determine if the revenue contribution target is realistic. By calculating the amount you need in sales all the way back to how many leads you’re going to have to source to reach that number, the bottom-up piece meets the top-down piece, and you can adjust your revenue contribution goal based on if you have the budget and resources to meet that number.

As you know, that number at Cisco is $1 billion worth of qualified leads in midmarket for partners this fiscal year. We’re here to help you position your business for success, and I’d love to hear your perspectives in the comments section or via twitter @sherriliebo.

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UCS E-Series: The Survivability Guide | Inside the Branch

Free Cisco learningIt goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway): reliability is important, as well as ensuring that you have a backup plan to continue that reliability. Just yesterday as I was embarking on my 50-mile commute into the office, I discovered that one of my car tires was completely flat. A spare tire, a standard feature in most cars here in the States, came to the rescue. Knowing how to change the tire myself, now that’s a different story…

In all seriousness, reliability and high availability are especially critical when it comes to keeping your business – including your branch locations – up and running. After all, downtime has disastrous consequences on your day-to-day operations, productivity, customer experience, and revenue. Imagine you’re in a retail environment and the WAN goes down, even for 10 minutes: the Point of Sale (POS) system is kaput, thus transactions are halted, customers are upset, and you’ve just lost thousands of dollars or more in revenue!

So what happens if your server, WAN, or worse, total system, fails? Read More »

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Cisco Collaborates with Partners to Provide IT Skills and Career Opportunities to Veterans in Michigan

Each year, thousands of U.S. veterans return from the battlefield with exceptional leadership, technical and other skills they have acquired overseas. Even so, many experience difficulty finding a job, and return feeling overwhelmed by the high unemployment rate they are up against. Today, in a program to assist veterans in transferring their military experience into successful careers, the Michigan Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and Cisco are teaming up to pilot IT training and certification programs aimed at connecting veterans with in-demand job opportunities.

Vets“We’ve got all these young people coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, have made incredible sacrifices, have taken on incredible responsibilities — you know, you see some 23-year-old who’s leading a platoon in hugely dangerous circumstances, making decisions, operating complex technologies. These are folks who can perform, but unfortunately, what we’re seeing is that a lot of these young veterans have a higher unemployment rate than people who didn’t serve. And that makes no sense.”

 - President Barack Obama

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Understanding the Changing Mobile User

The mobile market continues to evolve at a blindingly fast pace. It seems that new faster, sleeker, and more powerful mobile devices are launched every day, with new device categories created almost overnight. The number of available applications to run on these revolutionary new devices is staggering, numbering in the millions. Now you can do everything, from banking and controlling your home thermostat to shopping, entertainment, and printing a boarding pass, all from the palm of your hand. In addition, we now have faster ways to connect these devices to the Internet using 4G/LTE or Wi-Fi technologies.

While service providers are clearly benefiting from the rise of mobility and all the innovations in devices applications they are constantly trying to understand how consumers are using mobility and where the mobile market is heading. To continue to derive business value from mobility, service providers need to better understand mobility from the users’ perspective and translate what they discover into new sources of business value.

To learn more, Cisco conducted a survey of 620 U.S. mobile users to understand their needs and behaviors, use of devices, applications and mobile access technologies, and how they have changed since our 2012 mobile consumer survey.

The study revealed Read More »

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