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Cisco’s Musical Legacy: The Story Behind the Song You’ll Definitely Recognize

This story is about a piece of music you’ve already heard, although you may not have realized at the time. It’s that song that has you tapping your feet while you’re on hold with customer service, or humming along to the piano riff halfway through.

The song is called Opus No. 1, by Tim Carleton and Darrick Deel. It’s never been on a Top 40 list or gotten radio play, and yet it’s heard around the world by the millions of people who are placed on hold each day.

Darrick and Tim’s story actually begins back in 1989, when as teenagers and friends they recorded a song in their garage. Unfortunately, they didn’t go on to rockstar fame and fortune, but years later Darrick would go on to take a job with Cisco. In his role building Cisco’s first version of IP phones, he was aware of Cisco’s need for a piece of music to use as the default hold music for the new system. Cut to several years later, and their high school composition has become the hold music for the world’s most popular phone systems with over 65 million IP phones sold. With that, Opus No. 1 has left the safety of Darrick and Tim’s childhood recording studio and entered earworm status.

Now Darrick and Tim’s story has gone viral, with their famed hold music being heard everywhere from an episode of NPR’s This American Life, to articles in The Atlantic, to NBC and Network World. You can hear more about Darrick’s rise to hold music stardom from him here:

Read More »

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Cisco Ships Millionth IVR Port

Cisco achieved a major milestone in the interactive voice response (IVR) industry in December, 2013 as we shipped our one millionth IVR port.  This includes cumulative shipments of new ports of the award-winning Cisco Unified Customer Voice Portal, Cisco Unified IP-IVR, and IVR ports shipped with Cisco Unified Contact Center Express.  This achievement is all the more remarkable given that we’ve been in the IVR market for just ten years.  In that time we’ve also become (and remain) the world’s top IVR vendor--by a wide margin.

In addition to our success in the IVR market, Cisco continues to grow and lead in the contact center industry.  To date, we have shipped nearly 3 million contact center agent seats, providing front line business personnel with the resources needed to maintain relationships with customers.  Cisco shipped 900,000 seats in just the past two years, and over the last three years, Cisco has closed the market share gap with Avaya by nearly 10 points worldwide and by over 22 points in North America.

On average more than 2,600 businesses purchase Cisco Contact Center products each year, from small and medium-sized companies to very large enterprises in markets ranging from healthcare, finance, and education to communications, travel, entertainment, and retail.  Cisco Unified Contact Center solutions remain key components to managing multiple, simultaneous customer interactions over the phone, via real-time chat, web collaboration, social media, and email.

Our sustained success in IVR and contact center is a testament to our differentiated architecture, award-winning customer care solutions, a rich partner ecosystem, and a knowledgeable, energized sales force.

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Meet the World’s Most Virtual Manager

January 28, 2014 at 2:49 pm PST

Three lessons from the next frontier of managing

Thomas Winter works from a village of 3,000 people outside Zurich, Switzerland.  Not a single member of his 100-person team works in the country.  He conducts weekly meetings and delivers performance reviews virtually using video conferencing.  He’s accountable to business leaders in Cisco’s San Jose, Calif., headquarters and others in cities across the globe.  Oh, did I mention his team is responsible for driving adoption of a new commerce platform for $40 billion in Cisco product revenue through 1,000 partner organizations and 20,000 Cisco sellers?

What’s interesting talking to him is how normal all this seems to him.  Jack Welch recently said, “The Jack Welch of the future cannot be like me.”  Talking to Thomas, I’m pretty sure I’m getting a glimpse of one of those “jobs of the future.”  A new frontier of managing from anywhere using virtual technologies is emerging.  So what does it take?   If new opportunities present themselves but require – or allow – us to lead virtually, how ready are you?

Here are three take-aways from my conversation with the person I’m dubbing, the “world’s most virtual manager”: Read More »

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Summary: A Balanced Approach to Mobile Security

For the benefits of collaboration to be better realized, IT leaders must take a balanced and strategic approach to mobile security that focuses more on protecting the network and proprietary data and less on implementing overly broad restrictions.

Gartner recently made three interesting predictions about mobility in the workplace. And while each of these predictions are compelling – they only offer one-side of the story and the solution:

  1. Twenty percent of BYOD projects will fail by 2016 due to IT’s “heavy hand.”
  2. Strict mobility policies will drive employees to want to isolate personal data from business data.
  3. Mobile browsers will gain market share for app delivery for multiple platforms, and the role of HTML5 in solving issues that arise with the multiple platform problem.

Instead, IT leaders should encourage employees to use secure solutions on devices connected to the network. Managing belief and behaviors of users and deploying a flexible infrastructure that can support an open BYOD policy and mitigate advanced security threats, can have tremendous impact on creating an immersive collaborative environment.

Learn more about how Gartner’s mobility and security predictions can affect the future of collaboration by reading the full blog: A Balanced Approach to Mobile Security.

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Employee Engagement Goal: Encourage Laughter

January 22, 2014 at 7:27 am PST

I like to laugh. I find humor in all sorts of places and situations. Often unlikely ones. I’ve laughed in the most appropriate of situations and some of the most awkward. And I laugh at work. A lot.

Frankly, I think the Food and Drug Administration should have a recommended daily allowance for laughter along the lines of those identified for Vitamin C, Iron, and Riboflavin.

Peter Bregman recently had a great post on Harvard Business Review blog network. In “Why You Should Treat Laughter as a Metric,” Bregman writes about the lack of laughter as a symptom of a problem within organizations. And he suggests that increasing the opportunity for laughter should be a leadership priority. Read More »

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