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Help Me to Help You: Reflections on C-Scape 2007

Post by Alan S. Cohen, Vice President, Enterprise & Mid-Market SolutionsLast week we completed our annual C-Scape event, an annual gathering of industry, & financial analysts, press and Cisco executives and thought leaders in close proximity for two days of dialogue, discussion and debate. Whether it was the select roundtables with key analysts, main tent sessions revealing our expanding vision as a software company or a WiMAX player, or guest speakers such as Steve Hellmuth, the CTO of the NBA clarifying the fan experience through the use of Web 2.0 technologies, I found the event intellectually electrifying, pivoting between the lofty peaks of evolving Cisco into more of an IT company and the deep challenges of supporting the ever expanding networking requirements of our millions of customers.With our key focus on the role of video and the rapidly approaching 2008 Oscars, I am turning to one of my favorite flicks, Jerry McGuire, to briefly channel some of my observations about C-Scape. Among Jerry McGuire’s many qualities is a series of memorable lines that can be applied to any situation. There were many rich and varied nuances and threads to C-Scape. Please excuse me the liberty of narrowing some of it down to a few movie lines. Read More »

Why I Love What I Do

Last weekend was pretty much a lost one for me, and this coming weekend will likely be more of the same. When you invite more than 400 industry influencers from across the globe to your backyard for two days of meetings and interactions, you can expect the last few days before everyone arrives to be filled with one or two last-minute issues.While I was working on Sunday on myriad things related to our upcoming C-Scape Global Forum, my computer suddenly went dark. I may have screamed out an expletive. My youngest daughter burst into the home office. Read More »

Measuring Effective Success

We’re now just a month away from C-Scape Global Forum 2007. The agenda for both days has been finalized. Attendees have been registered. Speakers have been confirmed. And content is being crafted as I type … and will likely continue to be crafted right up to the time I jump on stage to welcome you to the conference on December 11.Putting on an event like this is an incredibly involved and difficult exercise. And it does cost me a dollar or two. Surprisingly, my boss and the rest of the senior management team here at Cisco expect me to prove the value of that expenditure by measuring and qualifying the”success” of this forum. Can you believe that?The evaluation forms you fill out are not just a critical piece of that final assessment; they are the central component of it. (OK, that’s the first instance of you being reminded that filling out your eval forms is really important. I’m willing to bet that we mention that 57 more times before 3:30 p.m. on December 12.) Read More »

Customers as Influencers

Who owns the customer?Ask that question at a company meeting and nearly every hand at the gathering will shoot up in the air. Sales. Field marketing. The channel folks. Product managers. Product marketing. And at some level, all those factions do have some piece of the customer relationship. (That sarcastic chuckle you just heard came from the account manager.) Well, I’m happy to say that I now proudly raise my own hand when I hear that question. We made a small -but telling -change to my organization recently, and I believe it will significantly extend and enhance our influence strategy because my team is now responsible for driving our strategic customer engagements in addition to our relationships with the analysts.Hmm, Skip. Sounds like a bunch of meaningless buzz words. Spell it out for us. Read More »

The Changing Rules of Influence

Whether you like it or not, the influence game is changing. And if you don’t get on the train that’s rumbling through the industry now, you face the real prospect of being relegated to the dust bin of irrelevancy. Right next to the Slyvester Stallone movie 3-pack of F.I.S.T., Rhinestone, and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.The traditional business models that analyst firms have employed for years -some combination of specialized analysts providing seat-based syndicated research through year-long retainer contracts to a highly technical, IT-focused customer base -will become less relevant within the next three to five years. I don’t welcome that development with any type of mirth or glee -as an Analyst Relations guy, I’m quite interested in things like job security and my function’s own continued relevance -but I definitely sense a shift in the air. Read More »