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The Story of Cisco Virtualized Managed Business Services: How Cisco Evolved its Engineering Teams To Revolutionize Service Provider Service Delivery

I’ll be boarding a flight to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress tomorrow knowing that this year’s event will be like no other for Cisco’s service provider business.

Over the past two years we’ve completely transformed our service provider engineering organization. We’ve overhauled our technology and services portfolio and, as you’ll see from a blitz of announcements we’ll make with world-leading telecommunications service providers next week, we continue to innovate, and customers really like the progress they’re seeing.

Clearly we’re building what they need, but the story of the past 24 months goes far beyond our portfolio. We’ve changed the way we operate. We have removed impediments to rapid innovation, and accelerated the creation of high-performing teams.

If those words sound familiar, then you probably know Agile software development. The principles of Agile have been applied at Cisco for a long while now.  However, what’s really changed in the past two years is summed well in something Agile pioneer Jeff Sutherland wrote in blog marking the 10th anniversary of the agile manifesto:

Individuals adapting to change is not enough. Organizations must be structured for Agile response. Failure to remove impediments that block progress destroys existing high-performing teams and prevents the formation of new high-performing teams.”

I couldn’t agree more. While Cisco was, and still is, structured well to deliver the best routing technology in the industry, we needed to improve our engineering and business structures to be able to dynamically deliver the software products and cloud services customers could use to rapidly implement new businesses models, and drive more profitable outcomes for their customers.

What we’ve done since 2012 represents a massive transformation. I give tremendous credit to Chief Development Officer Pankaj Patel and his Chief Technology Officer Dave Ward, and I’m extremely proud of the results we’re starting to achieve.

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How France is Embracing Digitization of Everything

I spent time in France last week, and it’s clear to me that the French tech scene is at an inflection point. The time to invest in France’s future is now. And with more startups than any other European country at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, and a strong infrastructure in place, France is primed to embrace the latest technology transition: digitization of everything.

Digitization, which harnesses the power of what we call the Internet of Everything at Cisco — the connection of people, process, data and things — will change everything from the way we work to how we serve citizens, and teach our young people.

I believe that France will lead in this new era of country digitization. The French government truly understands the economic and societal benefits digitization will bring. Last week, I met with Prime Minister Manuel Valls, and together we announced an ambitious partnership, pledging to transform France into a digital republic. By creating a connected ecosystem, there is tremendous opportunity to fuel economic growth, create jobs, foster innovation — even improve energy use.

Cisco will power this initiative through the network. France has a strong traditional infrastructure in place — roads, water lines, buildings, even parking spaces — and the country is now committing to build out their digital infrastructure, which will help increase productivity, create jobs, and improve the lives of citizens. Cybersecurity will also be enhanced for the country and its businesses and citizens, and the results for France could be dramatic.

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Jimmy Kimmel Live Reimagines the Fan Experience with Cisco

When I watched the Grammy’s last month, I wasn’t only rooting for my favorite artists from my couch – I had Twitter open, engaging with my friends, following interesting hash-tags, and engaging in the event in a way that five years ago wasn’t even an option.

Industry people call this the 2nd screen and it’s fast become the way many people engage with TV and the thousands or millions of other viewers and fans across the globe. I don’t want to just sit passively in front of the TV, I want to be involved – but it’s just text, it’s one-way, and like it or not, I’m still not “part” of the show.

I grew up in Hollywood… and I remember seeing throngs of people lining up for the chance to be part of the live studio audience for any number of shows. They wanted to be involved. If they were lucky enough to get in, they still weren’t fully involved in the experience – it was one-way. They might be “on TV” when the camera panned the audience – and that was good enough.

Think about how many people stand outside just to be on the Today Show’s background video feed. But that audience has to be in NYC to participate and it’s still one-way. And to be in a live studio audience, you have to be local, be there in person.

The awesome and creative team at Jimmy Kimmel Live is asking the question: What if you didn’t have to be “local” anymore? What if the one-way text experience became a live, interactive experience? What if you could participate IN the show from anywhere, on any device, via video… be “on TV” from the comfort of your living room?

Well, I’m happy to tell you that the collaboration team at Cisco is partnering with Jimmy Kimmel Live to change that. We’re bringing the 2nd screen to the next level – and building in the opportunity for fans to be in the live studio audience at the same time – to be “part” of the show.

The “Wall of America”, located on the Jimmy Kimmel Live set in Hollywood, and powered by Cisco, will allow viewers in the US to video call from any device for an opportunity to be on the live broadcast. Through Cisco’s Jabber Guest, any participant with a browser and a camera will be able to click a link and have the possibility of joining the live broadcast. The producers will choose viewers to appear on the video wall, extending the live studio experience to viewers at home. Up to 20 different fans can be a part of the video wall simultaneously. Sound too good to be true? Check out the debut of the “Wall of America” on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show:

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In Emerging and Developed Markets Alike, Banking Customers Demand IoE-Driven Services

Around the world, banking customers express similar frustrations: they believe the value they receive from their banks is declining, at a time when their trust in those banks already has eroded.

What’s more, according to a Cisco survey of 7,200 banking customers in 12 countries, four out of five customers would trust a non-bank, such as a technology company or retailer, to handle their banking needs. Some of those disruptive competitors are succeeding where banks fail: by engaging customers with convenient transactions and value-added services.

The Cisco study found that Internet of Everything (IoE)-enabled services can help restore the value customers expect from banking institutions. IoE — the networked connection of people, process, data and things — makes it possible for banks to offer a more relevant, engaging, and convenient experience for customers.

Of the $19 trillion in global economic value Cisco estimates IoE can create over the next decade, 7 percent ($1.3 trillion) is accounted for in the finance market and could be addressed with concepts included in this survey.

The digitization of business and society is happening at a rapid pace and people are looking for improved, digital services that make life easier. Banks need to embrace this pace of change and deliver relevant services or risk becoming obsolete in a market where other providers are stepping in to fill the gaps.

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IoE Can Help Banks Regain Customer Trust by Delivering Better Advice and Mobile Services

In years past, a visit to the neighborhood bank branch often featured face-to-face meetings with a trusted advisor who would guide customers through their most challenging financial journeys — often over a cup of coffee. Today, many banks have ceded that privileged position of trusted advisor. While banks have made great strides in using technology to cut costs and streamline transactions, customer experience and engagement have suffered.

In a Cisco survey of 7,200 bank customers in 12 countries, 43 percent of customers said their primary bank does not understand their individual needs. As a result, many respondents feel that their choice is between bad financial advice or no advice all. Moreover, nearly one in four bank customers intend to choose another provider for their next financial product or service. Increasingly, that provider could be a non-bank such as Apple, PayPal, or a retailer. Four out of five customers would trust a non-bank to handle their banking needs.

The Advice Advantage: How Banks Can Close the ‘Value Gap’ and Regain Customer Trust from Cisco Business Insights

Clearly, the perceived value that customers receive from banks is declining, along with their trust in banks to represent their interests. Banks are seen as commoditized — and replaceable — providers of transactions. Meanwhile, in the wake of the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and some well-publicized banking scandals, banks’ “trusted advisor” status has suffered. Moreover, it is easier than ever to switch to a non-bank that customers believe has a better understanding of their needs.

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