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After working with Tesco for more than four years, I’ve learned that the company has a proven recipe for success: combine a strategy of unrelenting focus on customers with a mantra of better, simpler, cheaper—better for customers, simpler for employees, and cheaper for Tesco. The results speak for themselves. With operations in 14 countries, Tesco has become the world’s third-largest retailer by revenue, and second when measured by profits.  

 Tesco has a saying that it uses with customers—“Every little helps.” From the beginning, the Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) has embraced this phrase to guide our work. This is an important reason for our success as we team with Tesco executives and employees, in conjunction with other Cisco groups and technology partners, to develop innovative strategies that help Tesco grow internationally, improve collaboration, and, of course, operate more efficiently.

IBSG has worked in lockstep with Tesco on their journey to become the world’s most innovative retailer…..

First we developed the business rationale for Tesco to invest in a next-generation network. The network is already creating value by making Tesco’s employees more productive and allowing the company to deliver better customer experiences.

 We then worked with Tesco to create a framework to improve collaboration. By incorporating Cisco TelePresence®, social networking, shared workspaces, and Cisco WebEx® into an innovative collaboration environment, Tesco now has a leading example that I believe other retailers will want to emulate.

 The IBSG team has also focused on helping Tesco benefit from the transformative experience of video. From the initial TelePresence rollout, which resulted in a 20 percent drop in travel expenses, better employee morale, faster decision making, and improved productivity, Tesco has never looked back. As of June 2011, the company has 37 live TelePresence rooms and is currently deploying more than 100 personal video endpoints.

 As consultants, it’s rewarding to see our strategies make a real difference. I believe this success comes from seeing Tesco’s challenges as our own. IBSG also advises the company on technology we use ourselves. Because of this hands-on approach, we can share what works and, most important, what doesn’t. We also try hard to make our advice tangible by creating demos and pilots. It’s so much easier for executives and staff to assess a technology’s potential if they can see it, touch it, and experiment with it.

 Earlier this year, Tesco’s new CEO, Philip Clarke, put forth the latest strategy to address changing consumer trends and the company’s increasingly global footprint. As you might expect, technology is at the forefront of his plan giving IBSG lots of new opportunities to work with Tesco as the world’s most innovative retailer.

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