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Will you make the Summit?

To all our Cisco partner’s in MEAR that have registered for our annual Partner Summit on 3–6 June 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts; I’d like to welcome you ahead of the event next week.

This year we’re expecting an incredibly high turnout – nearly 3,000 partners from 150 countries who will be networking  and discussing our Go To Market, the latest technologies, new markets, business transformation and leadership, and lots more.

Alongside the Summit in Boston, an estimated 10,000 people from our partner organisations will be taking part in the Virtual Partner Summit. This offers real-time access to the same content, speakers and resources – it’s the next best thing to being there in person and I’d encourage as many partners as possible to get involved.

The fast pace of business means it easy to forget how much ground we’ve covered in the last 12 months. Among all the networking, meeting new people and sharing news, the Summit is our chance to look back and celebrate our mutual successes, recognising our partners’ achievements and rewarding excellence.

Hot topics for 2013

The Internet of Everything will no doubt be a hot topic. During the three day session, I’m expecting lots of debate about the impact of connecting people, process, data and things – and the new revenue streams it’s creating.

Our partners in MEAR always have news, views and insights to share about expanding into new markets. For me, that’s what makes the Summit so crucial to building relationships across the globe. It’s the arena for extending your professional network with many of our top executives at Cisco including the MEAR leadership team and your fellow channel partners. It is our opportunity to listen to you and everyone’s chance to have some fun together.

If we don’t get to meet in Boston, watch the Virtual Partner Summit as it happens, and follow the event on Twitter #CiscoPS13 and #MEARps13 . You can also catch-up with the sessions you missed via our on-demand service, which will be available from the end of the Summit until 8 July.

See what’s on at the Cisco Partner Summit 2013.

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Cisco’s Next Generation Workplace in Singapore

Yesterday, Cisco opened its new regional headquarters in Singapore, one of the first in the world that was designed from the ground up on the principles of the Cisco Connected Workplace, which integrates technology seamlessly into the workplace to foster collaboration. The new office is a living, breathing example of what Cisco feels is the next generation workplace.

Earlier this year, Cisco brought together several thought leaders in the industry to discuss the next generation workplace and what it meant to them. The one common thread which they all agreed on was that the next generation workplace is becoming essential to attract and retain the best employees and that it is as much of a cultural shift as it is a technological shift.

This video captures the essence of that discussion which features Dinesh Malkani, then managing director of Cisco’s Collaboration business in Asia Pacific, Japan and Greater China; Simon Kahn, chief marketing officer, Asia Pacific, GoogleCraig Gledhill, vice president, Regional Enterprise Business, Samsung Electronics; Han Kwee Juan, chief executive officer, Citibank SingaporeGarluck Lai, assistant director, Technology & Resource Management, Temasek Polytechnic; and Manoj Menon, partner and managing director, Asia Pacific, Frost and Sullivan.

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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.