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Cisco Encourages Individuality

Cisco Hair Color

Can you be a professional, powerful person in the workplace while still setting trends?

May Le had always wanted to dye her hair purple, but having just started a job at Cisco, she wondered if it was the right time. Was there something in the “rule book” that would prevent it? Would it be accepted? Maybe it’s just too edgy, too much for a corporate tech company. “Purple hair might be off the table,” she thought.

But she wanted to be herself, so she thought she’d ask her manager, who surprised her with the ALL IN Cisco attitude. “If you’re going to do it – just rock it!” she said.

“Cisco has this reputation out there for being a boring, stodgy company,” May laughed. “That’s just not the case.”

May says the response has been overwhelmingly positive, and her hair has even been a great conversation starter. From the break room in San Jose to telepresence networking opportunities she’s experienced, and even amongst our Executive Leadership Team – which loves her boldness.

“Our Chief People Officer, Fran Katsoudas saw me on campus and recognized me from a photo I posted in social media, where I said #IChoseCisco because I can be myself! It really showed me how progressive of a company Cisco is, and knowing that I can be myself even at work and freely express my individuality was a defining moment in my career.”

It seems that May was a pioneer for fun hair at Cisco.

I started at Cisco a few months ago, myself. I was coming from the hospitality industry, where it was okay to have hair dyed “naturally blonde,” but not okay to add any touches that would be deemed “not normal,” because that would be disruptive.

For weeks I devoured any documentation that came my way to see what Cisco’s stance on purple hair was (as if they’d have a section called “PURPLE HAIR RULES”). Hindsight being 20/20 – I suppose simply asking the question would’ve been easier, but coming from a world where the answer was a hard “No.” – and, really, a question not to even be entertained – fear of getting rejected latched on to me.

That’s when I also saw May’s #IChoseCisco photo on Twitter, and in one swift moment I was excitedly texting my hair stylist, “I found a girl with a full head of awesomely purple hair…when can I come in?”

It may sound absolutely ridiculous, but as I sat there staring at the finished product – with vibrant purple in my hair – I couldn’t have been happier. I finally felt like “me” again. Cisco gave me that.

Purple hair was my “normal” – and at Cisco that kind of disruption was welcomed energy. In fact, it was almost a non-issue. Why would the color of one’s hair, or a tattoo, or any representation of self keep you from doing great work?

This colored-hair thing was something that my colleague, Carmen Collins, had wanted to try for a while as well.

“When I posted May’s photo on Twitter from the #IChoseCisco contest, I didn’t know her story. I just thought ‘cool hair! I want!’ My issue wasn’t whether Cisco would approve, it was whether everyone else would. (Silly me.)”

Carmen and I would talk about taking that step. We would talk about it here and there throughout our week, and while she would weigh the options – I would egg her on. “Just do it!” I’d say, “It’s just hair color!”

“As I learned May’s story, and saw Casie rocking the look, I decided to let my inner rocker show!”

A few days later, an ombre look with bright pink tips was Carmen’s new adventure. “I decided to go as far as to change my profile images and use the one with my pink hair – even on LinkedIn! I felt like if you’re going to interact with me – you should know who I am. And this is who I am.”

We recently ran a story on our blog about 3 Things to Look for When Choosing a Company. After the “hair revolution of 2015” at Cisco, the three of us thought it would be appropriate to add a fourth reason. Choose a Company that Encourages You to Be Yourself.

I think it’s safe to say that for May, Carmen, and myself – we’re glad we chose Cisco. Where being fun, powerful, and professional – while expressing your individuality – is not just encouraged, but expected too.

 

 

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Reimagine Work to Maximize Digital Value

As Cisco’s Chief Digital Officer, my entire focus is on enabling Cisco and our customers to accelerate the digitization of our businesses, countries, and cities.

Digitization provides an enormous opportunity to enable, differentiate, and define new business models; yet at its core, the success of the transition is predicated on the capacity to reimagine and reinvent the actual work. This includes building on the Internet foundation to extend the mobility of work, the distribution of work, the immediacy of work, and how and where work will take place.

Being digital isn’t just about technology. It requires companies to reexamine their entire way of doing business — and how they offer it — to deliver new value to customers and partners through fast innovation and operational efficiency.

Winners will be those who equate digitization not with basic automation, but instead with the notion of reinventing systems and tools to create a continuous cycle of innovation in a company’s product portfolio and operating model.

As we begin 2016, companies are under more pressure to accelerate digitization than ever before.

In fact, according to a 2015 study by the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation (DBT Center), “digital disruption” will displace nearly 4 of the top 10 incumbents by industry over the next five years. The average time to disruption is a mere three years!

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New VersaStack™ optimized for distributed workloads

It has been said that data is the new oil. Given the price of crude today, the metaphor seems to fit in that there is just too much data in the world, to the point we have no idea what to do with all of it. The data glut is driven by the sheer number of data-producing devices in use today due to factors such as Internet of Things, distributed application architectures, and as-a-service consumption models of the cloud.VersaSTACK

The burden of managing all these devices and data is falling squarely in the heart of the data center, disruptively so. The urgency to modernize data center architectures and infrastructures has never been arguably stronger. Specifically, it requires data center to support higher VM densities, more powerful computational processing, a highly responsive and intelligent network, as well as a high-performance data storage foundation that form tightly integration solutions that can be rapidly deployed and provisioned at the speed of business.

Cisco and IBM took on these challenges head-on when they collaborated to launch the VersaStack™, a next-generation, converged infrastructure that combines the innovation of the Cisco UCS Servers , Nexus Switches and the IBM Storwize 7000 Storage solutions. The initial VersaStack Cisco Validated Design (CVD) solution was designed to address the on-premise data center use cases wherein the UCS servers scaled dynamically up to 160 servers and the Storwize 7000 array scaling up to multiple petabytes of storage. It quickly became the blueprint for cloud-ready enterprise data centers that needed exponential scale for the next decade.

Cisco and IBM followed this success up by adding the next solution – VersaStack for private cloud build-outs to address the needs for the XaaS market. This solution combined Cisco UCS servers, Cisco UCS Director, Cisco Nexus® 9000, and IBM® Storwize V7000 Unified system into a single highly automated and scalable system.

Fast forward one year to today, VersaStack solutions now extend from the on-premise data centers and private cloud solutions to a scale out architecture to address the needs of the distributed data and application use-cases. This comes in the form of two additional VersaStack solutions that have been added to thereby enable VersaStack solutions to address the modern distributed workloads—within and across multiple data centers. This newest solution is based on Cisco UCS Servers and IBM FlashSystem V9000 running vSphere 5.5, and seamlessly handles mission-critical, I/O-bound workloads.

In addition, Cisco and IBM are addressing the requirements of smaller IT environments for medium-sized businesses, branch offices and retail stores. For these organization, we offered a VersaStack solution based on Cisco UCS Mini Servers and IBM Storwize V5000 array running vSphere 5.5, optimized for remote office/branch office that:

  1. Monitors and manages the infrastructure remotely from a single management point
  2. Requires a much smaller footprint
  3. Offers new levels of RAS (service profiles to move a server image quickly) to give new levels of geographic RAS to the ROBO use case. For example, a failed server can be replaced automatically within minutes, not days.

UCS MANAGEMENT

 

The advantages of having a single UCS management interface regardless of location include : being able to spin up new VMs 85% faster1 and reducing cabling complexity 75%2 than legacy data center management methods.

A quote from IT industry analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) validates the benefits of the single-pane-of-glass UCS solution:

VersaStack offers a vast improvement. It is a converged infrastructure solution that uses some of the most well-known and proven server, storage, and networking solutions in the industry. Pools of compute, network, and storage resources can be shared among many applications and reclaimed when not in use, driving utilization up and costs down. Pre-integrated and pretested, VersaStack saves IT from having to purchase the components individually, test them for interoperability, integrate them manually, and then test, refine, re-test, and finally deploy. Handling all this manually steals valuable time away from IT and application users, and will not provide the agility and flexibility that organizations demand. The same goes for ongoing management. VersaStack enables IT to manage all resources from a single pane of glass, and offers end-user self-service, saving organizations time and money.”1

In other words, enterprise data is more distributed than ever before and compounded with its exponential growth and ubiquity presents new demands on IT infrastructure. To manage this growth, enterprise IT teams have to operate far more efficiently, to do more with less and always faster. In this respect, perhaps the data is oil metaphor falls short. Unlike oil, the production of which can be manipulated downward, the data glut streams inexorably forward toward the Zettabyte Era and beyond. In the face of this daunting onslaught, Cisco and IBM teamed to produce the highly versatile and adaptable VersaStack that will serve as the converged infrastructure blueprint for the next decade. This is the kind of synergy that OPEC members can only dream about these days.

[1] ESG Lab Validation Report: VersaStack Converged Infrastructure from Cisco and IBM, December 2015
[2] VersaStack Customer Validation

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Cisco Sports and Entertainment Digital Fandom. Are You Ready?

Over the past decade, technology has taken monumental strides forward – and every person, every company, every corporation has felt the impact of this digital disruption. The sports and entertainment world is no exception. While some may see this as a threat, we view it as an opportunity for you to pull ahead of the pack.

At Cisco, we’ve prepared ourselves to help you address the opportunity head-on. To better understand exactly what your fans expect in terms of a digital, in-stadium experience, Cisco recently conducted an in-depth fan research study of more than 1,700 sports fans from Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and the U.K. The study aimed to gauge the value of and fan response levels to new and emerging digital concepts in the sports arena.

The results of the study were conclusive. We can confidently say that we know what sports fans want – a more connected, convenient, and customized in-stadium experience with rich event –day content and services. In today’s world, virtually every person who steps foot in a sports venue brings a mobile device with them and expects to be able to use it to complement and enhance their experience. But reality thus far has not lived up to expectations – nearly half of all fans surveyed reported being dissatisfied their basic Wi-Fi experience.

This gap between expectation and reality provides an immense opportunity for sports venues and properties. Fans have not been shy about what they want and what they value. Reliable connectivity is no longer enough. Fans today want their smartphones to do 2-3 times more inside the stadium than they did three years ago. They demand to use their smart phones for additional services and conveniences – in parking, in concessions, in merchandise, in ticketing. And it doesn’t stop there. There is an insatiable desire for more and more relevant content, and more and more interactivity and digital engagement. The possibilities are endless…but so are the opportunities.

New digital experiences enable you and your partners to engage more meaningfully with your fans. Relevant services, branding and promotions can be segmented, targeted and personalized in ways never possible before. New insights into fan behaviors enable you to deepen your relationships and grow your business.

So the question remains – which side of the digital divide do you want to be on? Earlier this year, former Cisco CEO John Chambers famously predicted that forty percent of businesses will not exist in a meaningful way in 10 years. With more than 350 customers in over 40 different countries, Cisco’s Sports & Entertainment Solutions Group is positioned to help bring your organization through this period of disruption and to the forefront of innovation – ushering in a new age of digital sports fans.

Your fans are ready. We’re ready. Are you?

Want to learn more? Follow us on Twitter @CiscoSESG

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Dimension Data & Cisco Systems: Partnering to Integrate the World

In technology, things happen at the speed of change. “Evolve or get left behind” is a familiar phrase we’ve all heard. Technology is advancing at warp speed and companies are finding it difficult to manage their ever-growing and ever-changing support ecosystems. Now more than ever, companies are moving beyond maintenance and support services to Read More »

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