Earlier this month, we received some great news. Cisco ranked 25th on the InformationWeek Elite top 100 leading-edge IT organizations. Our ranking is a clear result of how we are embracing mobility, analytics, and cloud technologies to cut costs, boost productivity, and essentially, provide the best possible user experience. A prime example of how we are taking great strides in adopting the consumerization of IT is eStore.
What makes eStore truly innovative is its ability to not only simplify the employee experience, but make the business process more efficient. By consolidating several systems into a unified e-commerce storefront for ordering any type of IT service, such as a home office setup, eStore offers higher efficiency, decreased costs, a 70 percent reduction in support cases was seen when we added Webex Conferencing to the store, and all around, a better user experience.
The eStore works using two Cisco products, Cisco Prime Service Catalog and Cisco Process Orchestrator.
Prime Service Catalog offers IT services to employees and manages the service request process. By using the Prime Service Catalog API’s, the eStore team customized the mobile client in HTML 5 so that it works across multiple mobile platforms for eStore. Prime Service Catalog ensures that eStore has a single source for subscription information for all services and apps ordered at Cisco. Cisco Process Orchestrator automates the provisioning of services and apps through integration with other systems.
Ease of navigation, an intuitive interface, and a simplified ordering process offers our end-users an improved user experience and takes the guesswork out of using the store. Since eStore for mobile launched, on Friday, December 13, 2013, eStore has:
- Decommissioned two legacy stores, AppCenter and AppFridge, with savings close to US$500k annually in support personnel and license renewal
- Saved approximately 15 minutes per user per visit, an estimated cost avoidance of US$4.7 million
What’s more, we expect employee productivity savings in the region of US$900,000 over the next 18 months.
The next big step for eStore is launching estore.cisco.com in May 2014, which will focus on a new generation user interface for PSC to enhance the user experience.
We’re proud of our ranking 25th on the 2014 InformationWeek Elite 100. It represents how we fare against companies across North America who use IT innovatively. To top off this achievement, eStore is a finalist for the CITE Award for best collaborative project (we’ll find out its ranking soon).
Here are some valuable lessons we learned from the eStore project.
- Know your audience: Before building the store, listen and understand the needs of your audience(s). Recognize that they want to access their business apps and software (mobile and desktop) as well as IT services in the same way they access their personal software and social accounts—anytime, anywhere, and from any device.
- Design a consumer-oriented shopping experience: Organizing services and apps by category speeds navigation. Bundling items simplifies ordering and speeds up order processing.
- Create a compelling user experience: Surprise and delight your user base. Have an expert on your team that understands user experience.
- Fill the store with what your users want and need: Think through the most used items that your users need and want. You won’t be able to put everything in the store at once.
- Deliver relevancy: Make the store clever! It should be context-aware, and know who users are and where they are from. Provide content and services that are relevant to the people accessing the store. Offer them recommendations based on who they are and also on what others are using with a similar profile to them. Feature content based on algorithmic analysis to ensure it’s always relevant.
- Keep it simple: Be the best advocate for your end-users by keeping it simple at every turn. End users should be able to navigate without any training. If you have to provide extensive FAQs or training, you have failed to meet the simplification objective. Take the guesswork out of using the store. It should just work.
- Use automation: This goes hand-in-hand with simplification and user experience. Automate the ordering process for the end-user as well as the service management team. End-users want one-click ordering. Accomplish this with automation. IT organizations want to save dollars. By automating the back-end service ordering processes, you will accomplish cost savings at the same time.
- Understand your end-state vision before starting to build the store: If you have a clear and compelling vision, you will be able to sell your idea company wide. It takes time to build your entire end-state vision, but figure out what you need to focus on first to get going. The vision will help you keep track of your end goals and also builds momentum with those who will fund the initiative.
- Remember, if it were easy, it would have been done already: With eStore, we’re combining a traditional catalog concept with a mobile app store. That hasn’t been done before, and its riddled with complexities. Not all IT services can be ordered from a mobile device; some may require a long form to fill in, for example, and that’s not a very good experience from a mobile device user. Think every challenge through from a user experience perspective and keep it simple wherever you can.
Find more information on the eStore here:
- Introducing the Cisco IT eStore and a Service Catalog for BYOD
- Cisco eStore Modernizes Shopping for IT Services
- The Cisco IT Story: ITaaS with Cisco Prime Service Catalog