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Summary: The We’re Listening Blog: How We’re Making It Easier to Do Business With Cisco

The We’re Listening blog series has tracked some of the new programs and capabilities Cisco is introducing to make it easier to do business with us. The corporate Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) Program drives many of these improvements, so I’ve invited EoDB executive lead (and Cisco EVP of Operations) Randy Pond to discuss some of the accomplishments and upcoming plans that will make it easier for our customers and partners to do business with Cisco.  Among those are:

  • Improvements to software licensing, including big changes to the product license registration page that allow customers to complete more self-service licensing transactions, and the roll out of the new Cisco Software Central portal, a one-stop shop for all your software licensing needs
  • Creating a more consistent negotiation and deal approval process globally
  • A renewed focus on our partners’ experience
  • Stronger focus on the role of User Experience design and philosophy in every Cisco product, policy, and process

pond_crop By Guest Contributor Randy Pond

We’ve made it no secret that Cisco aims to become the #1 IT company. And while our development teams are hard at work to bring you exciting new technological offerings in software, cloud and security, there’s another critical piece of the equation – delivering an exceptional customer experience. This is a huge priority for John Chambers and the entire leadership team, and it boils down to consistency and simplicity. Over and over again, I’ve heard customers say that doing business with Cisco can be a mind-warp of changing policies, too many steps and new obstacles to deal with. This has to change. Today, we have teams across every function at Cisco concentrated on finding and making the changes that will have the biggest impact on your customer experience.

Read the full article: The We’re Listening Blog: How We’re Making It Easier to Do Business with Cisco.

Security and Insecurity in the Internet of Everything

October 9, 2013 at 1:22 pm PST

The Internet of Everything is a big thing, and it’s going to get bigger. As more devices, sensors, gadgets, and people get interconnected, you’ll hear more and more about it. But there’s one aspect of the Internet of Everything that I don’t hear a lot about.

That aspect is security, both in the form of actual security and the sense of security.

Let’s go back to the mid-1980s, when I got my start with computers. You could finally buy one and make it useful at home without being a programmer or a soldering wiz. Pre-packaged software was available to do all sorts of useful things, but the thing that stood out for me was financial software. You know, Sylvia Porter, Multiplan, or whatever worked with your brand of computer. (I was a weird kid; I even did mock tax returns in middle school civics class for extra credit.)

But there were a lot of people who would not think of doing their finances on their home computer, for fear of being hacked or having their identity and their money stolen electronically.

Now anyone who’s had a credit card replaced because their account information was compromised will know this is a valid concern, at times. But some of these folks using Quicken on their monochrome Macintosh 512 without any connection to the outside world were convinced that hackers would get in, perhaps through the power line (way before powerline Ethernet adapters).

It took the personal financial software industry (and the PC industry as a whole) a while to overcome the fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) surrounding their products, to the point where people were comfortable storing their personal/sensitive information on a personal computer, connected or not. Fast forward to today when, according to Pew Research, over half of us bank online and about a third bank on our mobile phones.

mobile phone

As more people start to see what the Internet of Everything is about, they’re going to be excited, and eager to get involved. But they’re also going to have concerns and fears about all of this interconnectedness, and what it means for their privacy and security.

You’re not going to want hackers to make your fridge shut down, for example. But we shouldn’t cry over spoilt milk that isn’t necessarily going to happen.

There will be some genuine security issues, at least as long as humans are writing the code (and the documentation), but I expect there will be more fears of issues than actual issues. It’s like wars and rumors of wars. They can both be dangerous, but we can each take an active role in dealing with the latter.

As for me, I’m watching for where interconnectedness is growing fastest, and getting an elevator pitch ready to calm the nerves of my less-technical friends, coworkers, neighbors, the woman behind the counter at Five Guys, my landlord, etc.

Now I’m off to recharge my Pebble and Fitbit for the week, and make sure my unconnected fridge hasn’t turned itself off yet. But before I go…

What are you doing to prepare for the Internet of Everything? And where do you think the most FUD will come from? I’d love to hear your thoughts and predictions in the comments below

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Is the Future of Mobility a Disappearing Act?

October 2, 2013 at 2:39 pm PST

As a mobile expert and thought leader, I’m frequently asked about what the next big thing in mobility will be, and my answer often surprises inquirers – mobile’s future is a disappearing act.

When most people think about the future of mobility, they think of larger, possibly flexible mobile screens, thinner and lighter designs, and the incorporation of new, currently unavailable technologies, but the reality isn’t so black-and-white.

Mobile Device

In past posts, I’ve explained why mobile devices gained ubiquity – in sum, they’re submissive to us (they’re easy for us to handle and manipulate), and the future of mobility is no exception. Think about it – what could be easier to handle than nothing at all? In time, we’ll begin to see technologies that virtually disappear until we need them, at which point we’ll see them front-and-center, or discretely in our periphery, depending on the optimal viewing location and utility offered. In the interim, mobile devices (both their hardware and software) will hybridize in an effort to complete the transition to virtual disappearance. Read More »

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Balancing certification studies with family and work

When it comes to furthering your career in technology, the name of the game is certifications. But studying for certifications requires time and energy and both of those are pretty scarce when you’re already working full time. You’ve just gotten out of work where you’ve had to use your body and brain for the last 8+ hours and now you’re wanting to punish yourself again with a grueling session of protocols, and ports. Now add to that, if you’re a family man like me, a demanding personal life. A spouse, and maybe even some kids give the whole situation some added complexity.family

You’re not alone! Most of the professionals in our industry have this problem. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, but remember back to the first time you decided that you wanted to work in this industry. It was fun to constantly learn something new, and solve problems with the new knowledge gained from that education. And with some effort, it can still be fun!  Read More »

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Summary: The We’re Listening Blog: What Are We Doing About the #1 Task on Cisco.com?

When I think about what we’ve done recently to improve our customers’ experience with Cisco, the Cisco Support Website immediately jumps to mind. The web team actively consults customers and seeks new ways to improve the web support experience. I’ve invited Glenn Schleicher, who leads the team, to discuss our software download initiative and the impact our customers are seeing.

Glenn Schleicher By Guest Contributor Glenn Schleicher

As we try to fully appreciate how online pain points affect you, stories like this one really stick with us.

The “Overnight Wiring Closet” Remedy

Imagine that you are Cisco partner “Bill,” who shared this method for getting large UCS software images:  At the end of his day Bill would leave his laptop in his last customer’s wiring closet, start the download for the image he’d need the next day, hope it wouldn’t be interrupted overnight, and then retrieve the laptop in the morning before traveling to his next customer’s network upgrade.

Surely Cisco can do better than that in distributing software for its product lines.

Read the full article: The We’re Listening Blog: What Are We Doing About the #1 Task on Cisco.com?