Recently, I spent a week in Asia with clients, partners, and our various teams. One of the most common themes I heard from clients is that the pace of disruption in today’s markets can be overwhelming. Yet, despite the speed and pace of change resulting from todays’ technology forces, most leaders recognized that the disruption also presents opportunity — and that cutting-edge innovation can provide the path to success amidst all the change.
Lately we’ve been looking at a new concept of how ideas constantly collide, combine, and reform, and how the disruption rate varies by industry. It’s an interesting topic and has yielded some fascinating insights. One of the areas we’ve unveiled involves what we call the “Digital Vortex” — and you can read more about it in this post by my partner Martin McPhee.
Out of that swirling, chaotic “Digital Vortex” comes game-changing innovations that upend existing business models and blur industry lines. It’s exciting, yes, but more than a bit unsettling, especially for industry incumbents.
However, I believe that even market incumbents can gain an edge by understanding the nature of the Digital Vortex in which they compete — along with the “combinatorial disruption” that redefines industries by combining and recombining value drivers such as cost, experience, and platform. Read More »
Tags: Cisco, DBTCenter, digital business, digital disruption, Digital transformation, digital vortex, IMD, Internet of Everything, IoE, thought leadership
Customers are interacting with organizations in many different ways – from voice to email, chat and social media – using a variety of devices including smartphones and tablets. Many organizations are still figuring out how to deal with the evolving customer who is using any channel, any device and at any time. You need collaboration tools to share information faster and make more informed decisions. Legacy metrics are no longer adequate to measure customer engagement. The terms of engagement are changing rapidly and you need a flexible platform that will adapt to their requirements and growth.
Developing a system that meets all these requirements – yet is simple to deploy and use — requires an ecosystem approach. It’s no longer enough just deploy a contact center and expect to meet the needs of a new generation of customers.
Cisco combines the power of Cisco Collaboration Cloud with the versatile toolbox of Cisco Unified Contact Center Express (Unified CCX) to create a solution that scales to meet organizational requirements and is yet simple to deploy.
Deployed by more than 16,000 organizations worldwide, Unified CCX provides multiple channels for customer engagement. Customers can call in, email, Web chat or connect via social media. Agents use the Cisco Finesse desktop for integrated access to voice, email, and, web chat. Finesse, which is extensible with open APIs, can be integrated with other business applications to create gadgets which put all the information an agent needs on their desktop. Read More »
Tags: Cisco, Cisco Spark, cloud, collaboration, Context Service, Finesse, unified contact center express
Leading organisations now realise that improving the representation of female leaders is crucial to business success. In fact, according to research from McKinsey, “Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.”
Where are all the women?
Cisco is a shining exemplar of gender diversity at the executive leadership level.
A look at our Executive Leadership “wheel” shows a well-balanced team, equal parts male and female. But many companies across the globe would present an extremely lopsided wheel. A recent Harvard Business Review article notes the lack of women executive officers in the Fortune 500 and asks this compelling question: “Why, when there’s so much conversation about the topic, are the numbers not moving?”
Before the top comes the middle
Why indeed? I believe there are few women at the top of the corporate ladder because companies are not focused on women working in the middle levels – middle-women, if you like. In her brilliant essay in The Guardian, “Forget the glass ceiling, we need to fix the broken windows first,” Jean Martin explains this phenomenon, “In many cases, women are not held back because of a glass ceiling but because of the cumulative effect of the micro-issues that women face day after day that slows their journey, or stops them getting to the top.”
Said another way, they never reach the ultimate destination because the middle of the journey is such a hard slog.
Fixing broken windows
Martin proposes a solution based on the crime prevention strategy known as the “broken widows” approach which asserts that small acts of crime (littering, graffiti, broken windows) escalate to more serious crimes if left unaddressed. She explains, “Translating this into the business world, preventative measures to fix the fairly minor day-to-day issues must be taken now. The smart employer puts the focus on understanding and engaging female employees just as they start to consider their careers. This means engaging in proper discussions with female staff about career aspirations early on, ensuring there are female role models within the company and making flexible working the norm rather than the exception.”
So what can companies do to help middle-women survive and thrive? Here are 5 ideas:
1. Begin at the beginning
Attracting more female employees could be as simple as changing the language in your recruitment ads. In fact, Inc. Magazine reports: “Women are turned off to job descriptions that list traits typically associated with men such as assertive, aggressive, and analytical. Women prefer to see words like dedicated, responsible, sociable, and conscientious.”
2. Develop the talent you have
Once you have female talent in the door, build your bench strength. For example, Cisco offers two unique programmes designed to address the specific development needs of aspiring women leaders. The DARE and JUMP women’s development programmes arm women with the skills and behaviours needed to excel in their current role and contribute to the future success of Cisco. They feature workshops that encourage networking with peers and leverage internal leaders as role models.
3. Establish networks and communities of interest
The benefits of networking are well documented. And women tend to be excellent networkers. At Cisco, volunteers have created the Connected Women network, a global community to attract, develop, retain, and celebrate talented women as part of a competitive and diverse workforce.
4. Provide strong role models
Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo’s Melissa Mayer are often cited as role models for working women. But these examples can seem too far-removed. Women also need accessible role models within their own organisations. To that end, Connected Women at Cisco champions an Executive Shadowing programme that pairs middle-women “shadowees” with women executives for career insight and coaching.
5. Give women what they want
The number one thing female employees value? Flexibility. In fact, 86% of companies on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For (which includes Cisco) offer some type of flexible schedule. In the U.S., we were recently named #3 on a list of “The 25 best tech companies to work for in America” based on six criteria including pay and ability to telecommute. Last year, we were named #8 on a list of “The top 25 places to work in the UK” based on a survey by jobs website Glassdoor. Cisco was praised for “its training and development programmes and the work-life balance for staff.”
It’s all about the culture
Although companies like Cisco are making great strides at the executive levels, we must continue to “fix broken windows” for middle-women. And while the above ideas may help, ultimately what will attract and retain talented women is a culture that embraces diverse leadership styles.
What are your ideas for “fixing broken windows?” Share your insight in the comments below
Tags: #connectedwomen, #diversity, #WeAreCisco, Cisco, culture, leadership
Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:
Off the Top
Well, we’re in the dog days of summer here in North Carolina, and my dogs are celebrating by lying around on the couch all day. Sounds like a pretty great summer afternoon now that I think about it! As the weather has heated up here in the southern U.S., so has the news coming out of Cisco, such as when I mentioned last week that Wendy Bahr would be the new SVP for the Worldwide Partner Organization at Cisco.
It’s been a little quieter this week, but before I close out the week, there are a couple of items to bring to your attention, just in case you missed them this week.
Are you ready for SNTC convergence?
To get ready for the convergence of SMARTnet into Smart Net Total Care, there are a few changes you’ll need to make in the next five months.
We’ve put together a checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything. Read More »
Tags: Cisco, partner, smart net total care, SMARTnet, Weekly Rewind, Wendy Bahr
Co-Written with Usha Andra, Senior Analyst, SP Thought Leadership
For many of us, precious memories are digitally preserved in the form of pictures and videos. How we store and access our favorite photos, clips, songs and other digital content has evolved from hard disks to USB drives and now on to the cloud. And for those of us who have unfortunately dealt with a hard disk crash on our work or personal computers, we are painfully aware of the importance of data backups. Secure data replication and fast retrieval are essential for business productivity and positive consumer experiences.
New challenges (and opportunities) are on the horizon for data transmission, replication and backup based on the global growth and adoption of IoE applications. As the IoE phenomenon connects things that were previously unconnected, it also leads to Read More »
Tags: Cisco, Cisco Global Cloud Index, cisco vni forecast, cloud storage services, datacenters, IoE, IoT, M2M, Service Provider