Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Partner

Partner Voices: A Look Ahead to Cisco Partner Summit 2014

I spend a lot of time behind a keyboard for work. It’s not so bad. I get to work with incredibly smart and talented people at Cisco, and I certainly get to interact with some fabulous folks at our partner companies. Sometimes though, it is nice to meet people face-to-face, you know, like we all used to do.

I had that opportunity a few weeks ago at XChange Solution Provider in Los Angeles.  As I mentioned in my wrap-up for that week, I had the opportunity to have lunch in L.A. with Edison Peres, Sherri Liebo and numerous Cisco partners. I took advantage of the time to ask them about their thoughts on Cisco Partner Summit this year and what value they see in attending the event, or by participating through Virtual Partner Summit (VPS).

Partner Lunch XCHANGE

Lunch with Cisco Partners at XChange Solution Provider earlier this month.

I suppose it’s no surprise that the common theme I heard from all partners was that Partner Summit provides an opportunity to network. Much like I just mentioned, we often don’t get enough face-to-face time these days. Partners highly value the ability to meet with Cisco executives, and with other partners at Partner Summit. The idea exchange that happens each year at Partner Summit is phenomenal. The ability to make connections with other partners, while getting guidance on what Cisco has in store for the upcoming year is invaluable, according to the partners I spoke with.

The connection that is available to you via VPS is crucial as well. In fact, more than one partner I spoke with thought highly of VPS as a way to remain engaged at Partner Summit, even when unable to attend physically.

For example, Brad Cicero, Partner at Allied Technology Group, LLC, told me, “Networking is the most important part of being there for me, but when I can’t attend like this year, I really do try to watch all the sessions I can on VPS. I also know I can catch up on the sessions later if I do miss something.” Read More »

Tags: , , , ,

Mayday for Insurance and Financial Services

According to Wikipedia, “mayday” is an emergency procedure word used internationally as a distress signal in voice procedure radio communications. It derives from the French expression “venez m’aider“, meaning “come to help me.” Most recently, the term has been used to describe a special feature Amazon now offers Kindle Fire HDX users when they need virtual support on their device. The user can simply touch the button on the Kindle screen and a contact center representative appears on the screen, where the customer can see, hear and talk with the Amazon customer service rep. It delivers personal help on-demand and in real-time.

Both uses of the word “mayday” described above apply to insurance and other financial services. It is indeed a “come to help me” signal that should be alerting insurance and financial services providers that the next-generation of customer experience capabilities is now here. We have seen the adoption pattern before—financial services customers now expect financial services firms to deliver similar services that they have access to through other industries.

The wait is over. In fact, retail banks are now rolling out similar “mayday” functionality to their customers through similar solutions that are driven by Cisco technology. As is the case with many technology trends, the “what could be” capabilities of the future are much closer than many realize. Consumers using virtual capabilities like FaceTime for social interaction are becoming much more likely to expect and use similar capabilities to interact with companies they do business with. Many workers today are also using virtual interaction to connect with colleagues to conduct business and perform their job functions. The fact is–virtual interaction has become much more common in our daily lives. Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,

Reimagining Collaboration: Using Video as the Currency for Trust

At Enterprise Connect this week, I will be hosting the session “Use Video Collaboration as a Tool to Become a Trusted Advisor to Your Business.” I will be joined by Jeremy Stubbs, VP of business development from Sabre Holdings, and Matt Benefiel, Chief Court Administrator from the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida. In addition to these panelists, you will hear first hand from two customers about the video collaboration strategies they’ve used to differentiate themselves by strengthening trust relationships.

Using video collaboration to help build trust with colleagues, customers and partners has been my passion for most of the past decade. What better way to make a deep connection than to look at someone in the eyes and say, “I’ve got you covered.” Short of being physically in the room and shaking hands when you say this, high-definition video is today the most effective communications tool to impart this message.

The set of technologies we’re introducing this week is all about making video collaboration so compelling that trust and confidence can be easily exchanged – and at every level, not just the corner office. As Rowan Trollope says in a previous post, we’re “reimagining collaboration.” What this means is we’re making video more consumable:  easier to use and access, offering the right quality and features for business efficacy, and more affordable so that they can extend to every part of the organization and companies of all sizes. Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,

Keep It Simple: Collaboration Lessons from Coaching Kids

Andy blog - soccer imageAs an enthusiastic football (U.S. translation: soccer) fan, I watch my two young sons playing youth-football every week. Not surprisingly it was only a matter of time before someone asked me to help coach. To keep up the pretence I actually knew something about football; I started scanning around for coaching tips and drills.  After a while I came across an e- book called “KISS: Keep it Simple Soccer: How to coach youth soccer” by John Fraher.

In it is a quote from legendary Dutch footballer, Ruud Krol:  “Michels [coach] taught us always that simple football is the best. It is also very difficult to play simple football.”

This got me thinking about the oft-quoted business principle “Keep It Simple, Stupid” and how it applies to collaboration technologies.

I’ve only been focused on marketing midsize collaboration solutions for a few months. Already I’m delighted by stories I hear from our customers talking about how our solutions enable their teams to work in new and exciting ways.

But I occasionally hear people say things like, “that’s all great for large enterprises, but it’s too complex” or “it’s not affordable for small to medium sized businesses.”

Well, the good news is that is not the case. We’re simplifying things.  And there are many examples of smaller organizations using collaboration technology to bring people together, with amazing results.  Take Switzerland’s 60-employee Intercantonal Reinsurance, which is seeing a 10-20% improvement in employee efficiency with Cisco Business Edition 6000.

I’ve worked in midsized businesses for a large part of my career. The relevance of collaboration technology and the opportunities it offers for growing businesses are just as great as for larger enterprises – if not greater. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Beyond Security Concerns: IoT Also Provides Security Benefits!

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a topic that’s beginning to gain quite a head of steam lately, particularly when it comes to security concerns that accompany it. Billions of new devices, most of which are in insecure locations. You don’t own them; oftentimes can’t see them; and you don’t control them in any way, shape, or form. Yet they’re sending petabytes of data through your network. It’s enough to make a security professional lose sleep for weeks at a time.

But while many security professionals are focusing on these challenges, there’s also a huge security benefit that will come in the form of IoT enabled security! Remember, IoT isn’t about the devices themselves, it’s about the network of devices – the benefits from having all of those devices work together to produce actionable intelligence. In a similar vein, securing IoT networks can’t be about the individual security devices, but rather the network of security devices, so that they can work together to produce comprehensive, actionable security intelligence in near real-time – increasing the organization’s overall security posture with little or no human intervention required.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,