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The Evolution of Customer Experience: Synchronicity!

I love shopping. I love traveling. I hate going to the hospital. I sometimes like going to the bank (only if it involves the depositing a large check). On the surface, it may seem that there’s no common thread about each of these experiences, however, there actually is a lot in common!

Each of these industries (retail, transportation, healthcare, banking) is becoming more passionate about truly delivering good customer experience and building customer loyalty. Why? Research has established that satisfied customers spend more money “now” and, in the longer term, become more loyal. For example, according to a J.D. Power survey, a delighted traveler is likely to spend 45% more money at the airport than someone who is disappointed with their experience.

Okay, sold! Let’s start delivering “good” experience and start counting the money…right? Not exactly. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.

First of all, what exactly is “good” experience? The answers will vary greatly depending on the industry vertical and brands within a vertical. Hence, one of the major challenges is actually defining “good” experience.

While there are certainly unique attributes to “good” experience in different industries, there is a common theme emerging: the synchronization of physical and digital experience. For example, research by Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group, revealed 93% of products sold in the United States are still bought in brick-and-mortar locations. In addition, over 50% of all consumers access (or would like to access) to digital content while shopping in a store, either through digital touch-screens or their own smartphones/tablets. This research reveals that more and more consumers are relying on real-time digital content to make purchasing decisions. In essence, consumers are becoming “informed buyers” during the shopping experience.

Unfortunately, with respect to customer experience, in many companies today the physical and digital worlds still sit across a great divide. Often, these two functions are housed in different organizations and are loosely coupled with respect to operations and culture. While we’ve made significant progress, digital experience is often an after-thought that peacefully co-exists with physical experience.

But, that’s not going to work any more. Consumers are expecting more, and they vote with their wallets. So, start truly synchronizing your digital and physical experiences…or else!

There are indeed a number of challenges in making smart stores, what do you think is most difficult in actually accomplishing this?

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Money Talks: Media takes note of recent BYOD Financial Impact Study

It’s difficult to put a price tag on the value of implementing a strategic “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policy. Employees are eager to use their own mobile devices in the workplace and corporations are quickly adopting strategies and practices to keep up. Recently, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) revealed key financial findings to help companies across the globe determine the current and potential value of BYOD. Industry influencers and media are listening and here’s why you should too.

The adage that money talks holds true. Reporters from top technology and business outlets such as Forbes, CIO Magazine, CITEworld and eWeek are most interested in the financial gains companies can expect with comprehensive BYOD policies. In addition, they are interested in the increasing importance of implementing a BYOD strategy for laptops. Many reporters discussed the fact that the BYOD trend will only continue to grow. Businesses and technology leaders must continue to pay attention to the employee-led movement. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from the coverage:

  • “Productivity gains from BYOD have been somewhat of a moving target, but Cisco believes it has found the right metric: work time gained from using, and setting up, your own device instead of a corporate-owned device. The thinking goes that a person works faster and more often with devices that they’re familiar with, that they chose themselves, and that they use for personal reasons too.” – Tom Kaneshige, BYOD in Bloom, According to Survey, CIO Magazine Read More »

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Cisco’s onePK Part 1: Introduction

Exordium

Cisco’s One Platform Kit (onePK) is a fantastic toolkit for building custom applications that interact with your Cisco routers and switches. Using onePK, you can build automation directly into the network and extend all sorts of functionality using Cisco devices. The first in a three-part blog series, this article will introduce onePK to the reader, explain what it is, how it can be useful, and will show how to configure onePK on a router. The second and third installments will walk the reader through a simple security-relevant application using the C API. Important to note is that we’ll be covering the 0.6.0 version of onePK features and service sets. At the time of this writing, the toolkit is still in Controlled Availability and as such, is still in active development, and the API could change before it is released into General Availability. However, even in the face of API evolutionism, this article will provide you with a solid jumping-off point for your plunge into the wondrous world of onePK.

OK, Just What is onePK?

OnePK is a Cisco IOS Software feature and a set of programming libraries enabling an application programmer to build powerful applications that tightly integrate and interact with Cisco devices. onePK is available to you via a well-documented and unified API, currently offered in C and Java with Python in active development. It is currently in pre-release and is available only on request. Details on how to obtain onePK are provided below. Read More »

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How Cisco Can Help Partners With Business Transformation Challenges

If you’ve met Edison Peres, SVP, worldwide channels or heard him address the audience at Cisco Partner Summit before, you know he’s all about partner evolution — specifically, how Cisco can help partners grapple with a unique period of technology and business model changes in the IT industry, and transform their businesses to meet those changes.

During his General Session discussion on Day 1 of last week’s Partner Summit, Edison urged partners to focus on three priorities: making hybrid IT a foundation of your value proposition, leading with solutions and professional services, and transitioning your sales teams to address new buying centers. Business transformation, Edison said, in one of the most repeated (and re-tweeted) quotes of the week, “is kind of like remodeling an airplane while it’s flying and there are people on it. We know it’s not easy. But if you focus on these three areas today, you will be well on your way to a successful tomorrow.”

Let’s hear a bit more from Edison on how Cisco wants partners to think about these changes:

You can check out our day-by-day summary of Cisco Partner Summit or grab our executive summary of news and announcements But let’s review some of what Edison, Bruce Klein, SVP, Worldwide Partner Organization, and other Cisco executives announced last week to help partners with this often-challenging evolution. Read More »

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Knocking Down Barriers to Pervasive Video Collaboration: Comprehensive Interoperability

I am a strong believer in the power of video; video can transform the relationships we have with our colleagues, partners, suppliers and customers. Our goal is to make video as universally available and easy to use as voice and data are today.  Recent developments  make it possible to scale video more cost-effectively across organizations, but as an industry there are still more hurdles to knock down in order to make rich, effective and efficient video collaboration part of everyone’s daily routine.

Customers have a breadth of needs when it comes to when and how they collaborate, and it’s no surprise to me that customers are taking a step back to evaluate the needs of their organization both now and in the future.  While doing so, they are also trying to understand the alphabet soup of standards and what it means in terms of technologies working together.  Which standard is better? What are the benefits of each? Will a technology that uses one standard be able to communicate with a technology that uses another standard?  Will a technology made by one vendor be able to communicate with a technology made by another vendor?

I personally believe it is the vendors’ responsibility to take the complexity out of the equation and do whatever it takes to make things work together.  For me, that means industry-wide commitment to open standards.  Open standards ensure true interoperability across vendor and technology boundaries bringing us closer to our goal of making video universally available and easy to use.  Cisco has led the way in developing open standards, driving the industry towards interoperable collaboration solutions. And we continue to do so.

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