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Are Your Customers (and Prospects) Talking About You?

September 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm PST

I’m sure you know what your customers want – you talk to them all the time, right? But what do they say about you – or your products, employees, website – when you aren’t involved in the conversation?

Hopefully, what they say when they don’t know you are listening isn’t much different than what they’d say to your face. Well, the truth is, people are talking about you, whether you are listening or not. So if you COULD listen, wouldn’t you want to?

Forget the things you’d rather not hear – “What did she do to her hair? Does he really think that joke is funny?” – when it comes to your business, hearing more can only be a good thing.

Enter social media listening – a fancy phrase for reading relevant things that people post on social sites – and voila, your long-distance hearing just improved! And by hearing better, you can make significant improvements to how your business runs, deciding what to market and sell, focusing your resources, and strengthening your relationships with customers, prospects, and your entire business community.

How do I get started?
You can use sophisticated monitoring applications like Salesforce Radian6, Cymphony/Visible, and Cisco Social Miner, but you can also get started with free tools like Google Alerts, Technorati, TweetDeck or SocialMention. Before you invest in a paid application, it’s a good idea to play around with putting keywords into one of the free tools to get a sense of the type and volume of results you’ll get back.

What do I listen for?  Read More »

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IT Forecast: Cloudy with a Chance of Collaboration

September 6, 2012 at 7:58 am PST

This week, we continue with our coverage of XChange 2012, where UBM Channel presented the Annual Report Card Awards. While on site at the event in Texas, we had a chance to talk about cloud with our partners as well as trends they’re seeing.

In this video, we chat it up with Cisco partners Ed Greenberg of Alliant Technologies, Mont Phelps of NWN, David Powell of TekLinks, and Peter Valters of Empowered Networks. Watch as they share their thoughts about the rush to the cloud—including the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

Want to know what else they had to say? Read More »

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Presidio Voice Engineer Saves the Day as Fire Rages, Showing the ‘Human Element’ Behind the Customer Relationship

September 5, 2012 at 10:19 am PST

I like those heroes who say they aren’t heroes. You know who I’m talking about?

Neil Armstrong is a good example. With his passing, there’s been a renewed conversation about the first man on the Moon. I listened to pundits talk about that day in 1969. I also did some sleuthing on my own—truth is Mr. Armstrong didn’t see himself as a hero. He said he was only doing his part.

I can say the same about Renee Lyon, a voice engineer working toward her CCIE at Cisco Gold Partner Presidio.

When I caught up with her, she didn’t quite get why I wanted to talk with her. She said she was only doing her part.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not holding Renee up to space exploration or solving world hunger. What I can say is that when help was needed in a crisis, she didn’t hesitate. In my mind, that’s a true hero—famous or not.

What’d she do? She helped a whole lot of people who were trying to reach 911 emergency phone operators as a firestorm raced across the tiny Texas community of Bastrop County. Read More »

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Cisco Partner Summit 2012 Day Four Recap: Thriving in Uncertainty, Cisco 6500 Migration Incentives

April 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm PST

The momentum continues on the final day of Partner Summit in San Diego, bringing Catalyst discounts, additional Jabber news, advice on going from good to great, and more—so keep reading for all the details and a link to a handy document that contains all the news.

In this afternoon’s General Session, Keith Goodwin, SVP of our Worldwide Partner organization, introduced author and social scientist Jim Collins who gave a fascinating presentation centered on the day’s theme of Leadership.

He addressed the question of why some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and why others do not. He also talked about what differentiates “good” from “great.” His answers were based on nine years of research, including six books, which have sold more than ten million copies worldwide.

“The ‘x’ factor and essence of great leadership is not personality,” said Jim. “The ‘x’ factor is humility, combined with a ferocious will.” He also noted that great leaders—and great companies—pick people better than themselves to be on their teams, are tenacious about confronting brutal facts and realities, ask more questions than make statements, and see themselves as being in service for a cause.

To view Jim’s complete presentation, watch the replay on Virtual Partner Summit.

Ambassador Blogger Bonanza: Hear What Partners are Saying

A big thank you to our Partner Summit Partner Ambassador Bloggers for blogging throughout the week. This mighty group of bloggers from BCI, Compugen, Dimension Data, Force3, Logicalis, Presidio Networks, and Varrow shared their viewpoints throughout the event. Here are the most recent posts:

Meanwhile, want to get the details on a brand new incentive for Catalyst series switches? Or find out how you can install Jabber for Everyone for free? Keep reading for details. Read More »

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Cisco Partner Summit 2012 Day Three Recap: Innovation is ‘King’, Free Jabber Takes World by Storm

April 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm PST

Day Three of Partner Summit kicked off to a bouncing beat: Following a thumping performance by C2C, a group of world champion music DJs, SVP Edison Peres took to the stage to congratulate yesterday’s Olympic trip winners and kick off the day’s theme of Innovation.

He then introduced Padmasree Warrior, CTO and Cisco’s co-leader of Engineering, who opened her presentation with a bold statement: “We are on the verge of the most change this industry has seen in several decades.” She then explained how emerging global economies combined with technology advances are resulting in changing business models, and that the intelligent network is at the heart of innovation.

One such innovation is Cloud Connect, a new software platform the company will soon launch for enhancing cloud deployments, increasing cloud security, and simplifying cloud-based operations. Plus, customers can leverage the software to build applications customized for their own requirements.

But what does all this mean for partners? Why more opportunities, of course. To view Padma’s complete presentation, including a demo of iPad authenticating via Cisco ISE to Cisco Quad, check out the replay on Virtual Partner Summit.

Also check out this video--we spoke with partners today to hear from them what it’s like to be a Cisco partner and what’s standing out for them at this year’s Partner Summit.

And don’t miss today’s other big announcements, including Jabber for Everyone,  recaps of several of today’s Business Transformation breakout sessions, how to win an iPad, and more! Read More »

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