Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Channels

Extra! Extra! New Cisco Brand Launches Today—Get the Details Here

December 10, 2012 at 8:47 am PST

Turn on the TV. Open a newspaper. Jump on the Internet. Today Cisco is launching its new brand—and it’s happening around the world. Look for us in print ads, commercials, and online banners.

But don’t just look. Get involved.

This is the biggest brand update Cisco has experienced in a very long time. And it’s all designed to help elevate the conversation with our customers to the “Internet of Everything.” This is a huge transition occurring in the market now, where we bring together people, process, data, and things to make connectivity more relevant and valuable than ever before.

How can you get involved?  Starting now, leverage the power of the new campaign as you talk with customers.

You can begin by sharing that today more than 99 percent of things in the physical world are unconnected. But that’s about to change. Amazing things will happen and amazing experiences will be created because of the Internet of Everything.

But what’s our role? What’s your role? That’s easy. Only Cisco, along with its partners, can connect the unconnected with an open standard, integrated architecture from the cloud to end devices. In fact, the network plays a critical role in the Internet of Everything. It must provide an intelligent, manageable, secure infrastructure that can scale to support billions—that’s right, billions—of context-aware devices.

Our overall Cisco Brand message is: Read More »

Tags: , , , ,

What Partners Need to Know Before Selling into the Healthcare Sector

This post is part of a new series featuring Brian Higgins, Principal Healthcare Consultant at Comstor US. Comstor is a recognized global leader in Cisco product distribution and an established provider of networking and advanced technology solutions. Brian is a sales and business development executive with 35 years of experience in the global healthcare information technologies industry. He has a proven and successful track record of establishing and executing go-to-market strategies for both start-ups and well-established companies in the healthcare space. He is also a trusted sales and business development advisor to information and medical technology companies selling into all segments of the healthcare industry.

I recently hosted a webinar on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) for a community of technology resellers.

HIPPA and HITECH are the US version of “privacy and security” laws that are getting so much attention in our industry. I thought I had a reasonably good grasp on the subject, but my intuition was that the subject was complex enough to warrant an expert. We brought in a nationally recognized expert by name of Bob Chaput, Founder and CEO of Clearwater Compliance LLC, and (luckily for me) he did an outstanding job of explaining a very complicated set of rules and regulations in a simple and easy to understand way. 

While it was interesting to learn more about specifically who is covered by these laws and what their specific obligations are, the more enlightening discussion related to how far behind most industry stakeholders are in their compliance and the resulting economic ramifications.

For those of us in the channel that recognize the enormous opportunity of delivering technology to the healthcare sector, this is an important subject about which to have a first level of understanding. It not only gives us the credibility that our healthcare end users are looking for in a vendor, it also represents an opportunity to deliver valuable advice and services.  Finally, it’s a law that we might fall under if we are in the business of maintaining healthcare communications or information technology (HCIT) platforms, or delivering cloud services.

Similar privacy and security laws exist around the world, requiring partners to play close attention to what is occurring in their regions relative to this topic. Read More »

Tags: , , , ,

Indiana’s Largest K-12 Education Institution Adopts Virtualization to Get Kids’ Attention

December 3, 2012 at 9:42 am PST

Have you visited your local high school or middle school lately? If so, it wouldn’t surprise you to know that students spend considerable time focusing on recreational media unrelated to their coursework. Everything from Facebook and Pandora to Netflix and Twitter.

This presents a particular challenge for teachers who must compete for students’ dwindling attention. However, there is an answer. Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), for example, adopted virtualization as their gateway for delivering quality education.

This means it doesn’t matter where kids are located, what their educational needs are, or even what device they use to access technology. It also means that IPS, the state of Indiana’s largest K-12 education institution, is meeting kids where they “live.”

To enable this anywhere, anytime approach, IPS turned to several Cisco partners, including Cisco Premier Partner Bell Techlogix, Cisco Gold Partner MCPc, and Cisco Gold Partner and Master Unified Communications Specialized Partner Netech. They also worked directly with Cisco to help build their network of the future.  Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,

Don’t Even Think of Selling to Executives Without Understanding this First

This post is part of a new series we’ll be featuring from David McNicholas, Director of Strategic Business Development at Comstor US. Comstor is a recognized global leader in Cisco product distribution and an established provider of networking and advanced technology solutions. David is a recognized keynote speaker in the field of the financial impact of technology and executive strategic selling—and the creator of Executive Relevance Selling (ERS), a Cisco endorsed program (more on that below). David has trained and consulted data center, contact center, customer service operations professionals and specialists, as well as Fortune 1000 Executives all over the world on this methodology and discipline.

In my previous blog, I discussed the demise of solution selling due to the New World Sales Era of an investment-centric market. I put a stake in the ground that selling efforts must be driven to and at the executive level. To achieve this, you must be able to “improve business processes that drive the executive agenda defined by hard cash flows.”

But how do you know you’re experiencing the New World Sales Era? Have you heard any of these statements from customers? “We’ll make do with what we have.” “It’s not in the budget.” “Times are tough; we are not spending any money.” “I’m not the only decision maker anymore.” If so, you’re clearly selling in this new era.

Today, the business side of organizations is driving more and more IT decisions, while almost all IT decisions must be approved by top management to get funding. As a result, you must be able to get to the heart of the matter, which is (again):

“Improving business processes that drive the executive agenda defined by hard cash flows.”

To fully understand this definition and what it means to drive the sale at the executive level, we must first have a foundational understanding of corporate top management.  The foundational executive attribute you need to very clearly understand to get started on selling to executives is fiduciary duty.  Read More »

Tags: , , ,

Are Your Customers (and Prospects) Talking About You? (Part 2)

September 21, 2012 at 10:23 am PST

Yesterday, I shared information on how to get started with social media listening, what to listen for, and the types of information you can gain from listening. Now that you have an idea of what your customers and prospects are saying, what are you going to do with all of that information?

Well, that’s when the good stuff happens! The insights you’ll get from social listening will help you:

  • Build your social media marketing strategy – you’ll have more insights about your audience, who exactly is participating in social media, in which social channels the conversations are happening, how frequently and actively are they posting, and what they are talking about.
  • Have a dialogue with customers and prospects –  you want to do this carefully, thoughtfully, person-to-person, and with a customer-service mentality, but participating in social media conversations gives you the chance to thank fans, find prospects, help those with problems or questions, discover problem areas you might otherwise have missed, and build better relationships with your community.
  • Share what you learn with the rest of your organization – product feedback will be useful to your support and development teams, lead opportunities will get sales excited, your executives will want to hear about emerging trends and what kinds of business problems customers are looking for technology to solve, and marketing can see the traction that offers and marketing campaigns are getting.

As an example, here’s a situation where we were getting feedback via social listening from customers about challenges with firmware downloads. We responded to this disgruntled person (who clearly was appreciative of our efforts), but it also led us to put a temporary fix in place to make the experience easier while we worked on the longer-term solution.

Here at Cisco, we have a central Social Media Listening Center where we are continually tracking mentions of the company, key technology areas and events. It functions as a command center to route questions, issues or even potential leads to various teams across Cisco (many of whom are also doing their own ‘deep-live’ listening work for their specific area of expertise). We also can launch listening centers for special events, including our recent listening center in London for the 2012 Olympics.

We’re also eager to share some of our social listening highlights with you, our partners! Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,