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MEAR is leading the way

Potential growth area

South Africa: Potential growth area

The balance of power is shifting to emerging economies. Compared to stagnant Western markets, business growth and investment in the Middle-East, Africa and Russia (MEAR) continues unabated.

It’s a shift that’s amplified by technological advances. In under a decade, these seismic changes have levelled the playing field, opened the door to a global market and made rapid business growth a reality:

 

 

  • The connected world where we can work, play and learn anytime, anywhere and with anyone.
  • Virtualization made it easier to manage multiple servers and reduce physical computing power.
  • Computing power has exponentially increased capacity and processing speeds so we can do much more for a lot less time and money.
  • The cloud offers all the applications and storage businesses need minus the server infrastructure.

You’ll probably point out many other factors, but I picked these because they are particularly relevant to MEAR countries and their IT spending patterns. Specifically, they are backed up by Forrester research in 2012. This showed that over half of MEAR-based companies plan to invest more in mobility, analytics, security and collaboration.

Unlike more mature companies, their spending isn’t being eroded by having to maintain and support legacy systems. This frees up budgets to completely replace or expand their IT in ways that improve their competitiveness. The top three areas that Forrester highlighted from 2011 to 2012 were mobile apps (spending increase of 47%), business intelligence (44%) and collaboration tools (41%).

Further research was carried out by Canalys in February 2012 of its online channel community – resellers, systems integrators, service providers and distributors. The results showed a positive outlook across MEAR despite ongoing economic uncertainty. Over half emphasized a move from capital expenditure to operating expenditure, with the highest demand for IT services expected from small to midsize companies (with 100-499 employees). As a respondent said, “Companies working their way out of the crisis by expanding.”

As more companies seek new technologies to secure future growth, our partner network across MEAR needs to be ready to help them become the technology leaders of tomorrow.

*Forrester, 2012, Forrsights: Cautious Optimism in 2012 IT Spending Plans -- A BT Futures Report

*Canalys, 2012, Navigating through dramatic industry change

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HOW WELL DOES TELEWORKING TRANSLATE?

Teleworking in emerging markets is on the increase. It’s helping businesses across Emerging countries to work and collaborate effectively, and be more productive wherever they are located.

In South Africa, 85% of companies offer flexible working*, which is a much higher proportion than some European countries. The next generation of workers in the Middle-East and Africa are expecting to have the option to work at home. In fact, only 9% think they’ll be in the office full time*, which suggests the days of a fixed workplace and 9-to-5 working are over.

At Cisco, we’re committed to offering choice to our workforce. We think this is fundamental to a positive and engaging employee experience. Teleworking here is encouraged and let me offer you a personal story from this week.

We had an Emerging Theatre ‘All Hands’ hosted by my boss and myself via WebEx. Let’s consider the numbers: we set this up giving our teams just 10 days’ notice; and we brought together over 500 of our colleagues from their desktops, workplaces and home offices to educate and inspire them using video collaboration: presentations, webcam and a Q&A via chat, text, email and audio.  This was one of the largest assemblies of our team this year and it took place across 12 timezones for 90 minutes.

Those numbers are quite staggering, even more so when you begin to consider the wider benefits: minimal disruption, maximum attendance, no additional travel arrangements, venues, (catering, flights, taxis, or hotels) and the bonus for employees is minimal impact on their private lives. The value for us is not merely in having the capability and flexibility to host this kind of event but also the level of participation and commitment from our teams.

What employees need – as well as choice -- is sensitivity to their circumstances and flexible workspaces that match their needs. For companies, not only does finding the right solution help to maintain productivity levels, it can also motivate existing staff and help you attract talent from the next generation who expect teleworking to be an option throughout their careers.

On a daily basis the power of our teleworking is bringing our talented people from across the whole of Emerging closer together at Cisco and the effects of teleworking on our productivity at work and our quality of life cannot be underestimated. We look forward to seeing you on a screen near us soon!

*Regus, 2011, global research report based on responses from 17,000 businesses across 80 countries

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Working from Everest

Life is truly an adventure, especially if you plan it out that way.  Over the past five years I’ve been on a quest to climb the 7 summits (the highest peak on the 7 continents).  A week ago I topped out on number 6, where I ended up soloing Aconcagua down in Argentina.

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In 2011 I soloed Mount Everest with a dramatic descent, I went completely snow-blind on the summit and had to descend alone and visionless. Along my journey I’ve discovered a lot about myself and my purpose in life.  Now when I travel to each region of the world, travel I visit orphanages to deliver toys and gifts.  It may seem small but we have so much to give to those in need if we step outside of our comfort zone to help make a difference.

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I’ve worked at Cisco for over 6 years and have witnessed a lot of changes throughout that time. Cisco has truly transformed the way I work, live, play and learn.  In a past life, I worked in an office for 8 straight hours occasionally leaving for a meeting or for travel.  For the most part I was efficient with in time management but overall unproductive as I tried to look busy to fill the whitespace in my calendar.  Random drive-bys and travel not only wasted valuable time, but kept me further from my customer and deflated my morale.  Cisco’s innovative teleworking solutions have completely evolved my experience allowing me to continue my passions for travel and philanthropy.

I’ve often found myself trying to be in multiple places at once while balancing several tasks across the massive gamut of Cisco’s portfolio.  Navigating resources is half the battle to ensure the appropriate data is delivered in a timely fashion.  My flexible work schedule and productivity tools have increased my ability to deliver beyond what was possible less than a decade ago.  Teleworking allows me to multitask across work disciplines, deliver results and increase customer satisfaction while maintaining a well rounded work life balance and debatable level of sanity.

Climbing the highest mountains on the continents adds another level of complexity.  However I’m able to manage my training schedule of early morning climbs by utilizing Cisco collaboration solutions such as Webex to take voice and video calls from my smartphone or home office.  A typical day starts hours before ‘normal’ people wake up. I’ll carry 50lbs in a pack up a local 4000′ peak, check email as I grab a Starbucks and take a few video calls from home before heading out to visit my customer.

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During my Mount Everest climb in 2011, I first visited the Early Childhood Development Center in Kathmandu.  I brought along Cisco equipment to orchestrate HD video via 3G connection to multiple cities around the world and let the children interact with one another.  This is the first time these underserved children saw this type of technology and I continued to collaborate with similar children halfway around the world.  This is the type of powerful, life altering solutions technology brings to the table.  Additionally, I was able to hold regular Webex sessions with Cisco, partners, my church and my family.  Being away from my wife and children is the hardest part of the climb.  Cisco kept us connected during my two month expedition as I scaled the highest mountain in the world.  Teleworking is reshaping my expectations of communication and creating the new baseline of excellence.

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You can follow my adventures at http://briandickinson.net.

Tomorrow starts MEAR

The land of opportunity

The land of opportunity

Without Cisco, the internet would be very different.

It’s unlikely that billions of people would be online; myself included. The web would be less robust, not as social and we probably wouldn’t be on the verge of The Internet of Everything – and the endless possibilities it will create.

We haven’t spent the last 27 years only building technology. By enabling businesses with the right tools and helping to connect 1.2 billion workers, we’ve stayed at the forefront of building entrepreneurial capacity worldwide. Our networks enable people to work better, and keep in touch anywhere and at any time. And now we’re playing our part in connecting an estimated 50 billion machines and devices by 2020*.

Against a backdrop of global recession, we’re supporting emerging economies and the next generation of entrepreneurs. In fact, across the Middle-East, Africa and Russia (MEAR) a staggering 37% of the population is under 15 years old – the consumers, business people and leaders of the near future – and 47% are living in urban environments. These are all statistics that I’m personally very excited about, as they provide massive opportunities.

As well as the sheer scale, the diversity, infrastructure challenges and newness of these markets mean that mobility and collaboration are absolutely key to business growth. So with that in mind our partner-led activity in MEAR is vital to our overall success – MEAR is simply an unmissable and untapped channel. And our network of 2,100 partners and 10,000 partner account managers across 84 countries are vital to catching this wave.

I want 2013 to be a fresh start for supporting our partner-led activities. We’ve proved we can transcend national, geographical and cultural boundaries to build strong relationships. That’s exactly what we need to do with our partners, starting now.

So please feel free to share your thoughts and comments on how we can work more productively together with our partners.

 

*The Internet of Things: How the Next Evolution of the Internet Is Changing Everything, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), 2011

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Shaping the Next Cisco in India

Jeff White, president of India & SAARC and leader of India Board, Cisco

Jeff White, president of India & SAARC and leader of India Board, Cisco

Cisco marked a new milestone in India with the appointment of a new leader last week. Jeff White, previously vice president for the company’s Service Provider business in the APJC (Asia Pacific, Japan and Greater China) region, has taken on the role of president for Cisco India & SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), with responsibility for Cisco’s sales and operations in the area.

White will also take on the role of leader of a new India Board, which comprises senior executives from Cisco’s headquarters as well as India and will chart Cisco’s continued engagement with one of the largest emerging economies in the world.

Reporting to Jaime Valles, president of Cisco in APJC, White will partner with Faiyaz Shahpurwala, senior vice president, Industry Solutions and India Site leader, to drive innovation and talent in alignment with the national agenda to transform the economy through technology.

White will also be working closely with Wim Elfrink, executive vice president, Industry Solutions and Chief Globalisation Officer, who is also Cisco’s Executive Sponsor for India. Elfrink was one of the primary drivers for Cisco’s investment in the Globalisation Centre East in 2007 and was based out of Bangalore until 2011.

“Cisco is in a unique position to help the government, our customers and partners in India on their journey of transformation. With the combined resources of our many functions here, including sales, technical, engineering, services and many others, we can drive even greater local innovation with products, services, solutions and new service delivery models that are relevant for India. This is the vision for the next Cisco in India,” said White.

“I’m optimistic about the growth potential in India due to several trends, such as the massive urbanization, the young and vibrant population, a fast-growing middle-class and a government committed to investing in IT.”

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