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IT Transformation: Avoiding Pitfalls

In the last two blogs, I talked about the reasons for IT Transformation, understanding Enterprise Environment and how to effectively set management goals. As more and more companies begin to move towards IT Transformation, there are mistakes that businesses should be weary of. Today I will discuss the pitfalls that can slump the IT transformation process, as well as, the services Cisco has been developing to help Enterprise on the journey to IT transformation. Read More »

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Social Selling in Action—Part 2: Attribution for Accurate Metrics

As the number of users of social media continues to grow, the boundary between our personal and professional  lives begins to overlap. Unsurprisngly, the customer buying cycle is also beginning to change. By the time a prospect has reached out to a sales rep, in most cases they already know what they want because they’ve done their research on social channels, canvassed their peers on community forums and downloaded materials. The social selling strategy leverages the skills and expertise of Ciscos sales reps by giving them the tools and support they need to interact and engage with customers in this new and constantly changing environment. 

In part 2 of a 3-part series, Bernard Chiu (@bernardchiu) talks about social selling attribution and unexpected results. Read Part 1: Innovation Starts with Sales for an introduction to the social selling program at Cisco. 

Jennifer Roberts (JR):  Social Selling can be a difficult concept to define and be more difficult to track. How do you work with the sales organization to create a program that works?

Bernard Chiu: Social Selling is a partnership between Marketing and Sales.  We work closely with our sales reps to test what’s working, what’s not, and what makes the most sense for their customers.  Their feedback is extremely important as our vision is to create a program that creates business value.  We also believe in investing in our reps to help create the sales teams of the future. For example, we are creating web pages that reps can send out to their contacts. We’re also looking at developing videos in the future that can showcase how individuals are innovating in this space. All of these tools are integral in creating a new way to do business.

JR: One of the common complaints about social attribution is that it’s difficult to do.  How is the type of tracking working to date?

BC: We worked closely with the revenue team; our initial conversations were around both the best and simplest ways. We needed a method that was pretty easy to adopt as this was a new experience for us and the sales reps. Criteria was that it should only require a one-to-two-clicks and not be too much outside their normal activities.

One concern we had was around defining the difference between Marketing-sourced and Marketing-enabled and what that means for attribution. Marketing-enabled means a sales rep used tools or processes enabled by marketing to reach out. For example, a sales rep can check LinkedIn before calling a prospect but that doesn’t really qualify as social selling.  Marketing-sourced was defined as the content—what marketing provided vs. what marketing enabled (i.e. Viewing LinkedIn)—and is considered a part of the social selling process. It’s a blurry distinction but an important one. We want to make sure we are tracking appropriately and only tracking those opportunities that have a strong marketing component.

JR: Any surprises to come out of the recent proof-of-concept?

BC: The biggest surprise has been the types of engagement the sales reps have had on Social. When we first started, we weren’t certain if our customers were really using social media channels.  Once we realized that our customers were quite active on social, we became excited about how sales could engage and connect with customers earlier in the buying process. As the proof-of-concept has gone on, we’ve also been surprised by the how innovative our reps are.  They are finding new ways to utilize social to find opportunities like syncing their contacts and leveraging groups on LinkedIn.  These innovations have created a sense of excitement among our sales team as the processes are being shared with one another.

JR: What are the next steps for Social Selling at Cisco?

BC: By the end of Q4, we will have run a pilot for about 3 quarters. Next steps will be to assess the program’s overall performance: regional differences, technology and other key performance metrics.  We’ll use that lens to see what expansion looks like in FY15.

In part 3, Social Selling in Action, Carolyn Charles will talk about rolling the Social Selling program out  to EMEAR & APJC.

Jennifer Roberts (@rideboulderco) is a Social Media Marketing Manager and leads the Social Selling program. Bernard Chiu is a Marketing Project Specialist and co-leads the Social Selling program.

Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – July 25, 2014

July 25, 2014 at 7:30 am PST

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco partner news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

I posted a new Voice of the Partner Blog earlier this week. It focused on Cisco Solution Partner, Tegile, and their work with the Minnesota Wild of the NHL. I love working on the Voice of the Partner series, as it gives me the opportunity to see what partners are doing with customers in order to provide real life, effective business solutions.

See how Minnesota Wild achieved a cost reduction, reduced power usage, and increases data center agility with the help of Tegile. There is an included, full case study and we welcome your feedback.

Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

Gary Serda wrapped up his coverage of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) by giving us one last recap on the Channels Blog. Be sure to check out Gary’s final blog on WPC.

The Future of Cloud

Learn what leading providers have to say about the Future of Cloud. In parts three and four of this ongoing series, OneNeck and Sungard share their perspectives on “Transparency in the High Performance Cloud” and “Building a Resilient Cloud for the Future.”

Good Reads

Keep An Eye Out

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Cyber Threat Management from the Boardroom Risk: Lost in Translation

I was at the Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit at the Gaylord National Harbor and had the opportunity to attend the session, “Finding the Sweet Spot to Balance Cyber Risk,which Tammie Leith was facilitating.

Tammie Gartner Session

During the session, the panel had been discussing how the senior leadership teams address the problem of putting their signatures against the risk that cyber threats pose to their organizations. Tammie Leith made a point to the effect that it is just as important for our teams to tell us why we should not accept or acknowledge those risks so that we can increase investments to mitigate those risks.

What caught my attention was that the senior management teams are beginning to question the technical teams on whether or not appropriate steps have been taken to minimize the risks to the corporation. The CxO (senior leadership team that has to put their signature on the risk disclosure documents) teams are no longer comfortable with blindly assuming the increasing risks to the business from cyber threats.

To make matters worse, the CxO teams and the IT security teams generally speak different languages in that they are both using terms with meanings relevant to their specific roles in the company. In the past, this has not been a problem because both teams were performing very critical and very different functions for the business. The CxO team is focused on revenue, expenses, margins, profits, shareholder value, and other critical business metrics to drive for success. The IT security teams, on the other hand, are worried about breaches, data loss prevention, indications of compromise, denial of services attacks and more in order to keep the cyber attackers out of the corporate network. The challenge is that both teams use the common term of risk, but in different ways. Today’s threat environment has forced the risk environment to blend. Sophisticated targeted attacks and advanced polymorphic malware affect a business’s bottom line. Theft of critical information, such as credit card numbers, health insurance records, and social security numbers, result in revenue losses, bad reputation, regulatory fines, and lawsuits. Because these teams have not typically communicated very well in the past, how can we ensure that they have a converged meaning for risk when they are speaking different “languages”?

Read More »

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Not All 802.11ac AP’s are Created Equal: Demand the Full Story

It’s always interesting and often entertaining to observe how competitors promote their products and what they choose to focus on—and more importantly, what they choose not to focus on and what they hope people won’t ask questions about.

Consider yet again how a competitor chooses to position their “purpose built” AP vs. the Cisco Aironet 3700 802.11ac Access Point Series.

This competitor frequently (and somewhat obsessively) points out that its 802.11ac AP has dual “active” 800 MHz cores while the Cisco AP3700 has only one “active” 800 MHz core. This is not completely true since it completely overlooks the fact that the Cisco AP3700 also has a dedicated CPU core and DSP for each radio subsystem.

Furthermore, it also overlooks that the dual “active” cores in the competitor’s AP share 512 MB of DRAM. The single “active” core of the AP3700 has dedicated 512 MB of DRAM. Also each radio subsystem has a dedicated 128 MB DRAM (for 768 MB total DRAM in the AP3700).


Why is all of this important? Read More »

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