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The Agile Enterprise Needs Present & Connected Employees

Recently, I have been reading about organizational evolution. There are some great articles and insights out there, but the common theme running through all of them is that we face an unpredictable future and we need to be agile.

The pace of change is accelerating, and the modern agile organization will need answers for three key questions:

  • What type of technology is going to be required?
  • How will IT be delivered, and by whom?
  • Where do we fit in? Us, people.

New Technology

The Internet of Everything will enable the next great wave of growth. The technology within this wave will connect people, process, data and things. So much value will be realized and this transition will rely on key underlying technology development around cloud, security, mobility and networking. Of course, there will be great products and services, but Read More »

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Cultivating Engagement and Innovation: The History of Cisco’s April Fools’ Patent Contest

A Q&A with Cisco Vice President of Intellectual Property, Dan Lang April-1

According to a report from global recruitment firm WilsonHCG, tech companies are the most successful among the Fortune 500 at  finding and recruiting top employees. What’s more telling, within the tech industry, the competition for top talent – especially top engineers – is fierce.

The ability to illustrate how employees are able to work on creative, innovative projects alongside inspiring colleagues and managers truly sets a company apart. Thankfully for us on this the first of April our culture of innovation shines through Cisco’s annual April Fools’ Patent Contest. Read More »

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Mastering Design, One Red Dot at a Time

One of my favorite designers, John Maeda, believes that the most successful tech companies of the future will really be design companies.

When John’s somewhat bold prediction is put in the context of this quote from Steve Jobs, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works” – it’s easy to see that John is right.

So if the future successful tech companies will really be design companies, what does that mean for all the “non design companies” of today (read: most tech companies and especially most IT tech companies)? This is an opportunity for all tech companies to understand the real value of design.  I believe that change has to start at the top, so for Silicon Valley, it means business leaders have to come to grips with this transformation. Not just hiring more UX people, or opening a “design center,” but embracing design as a way to lead your entire company.

It should come as no surprise that I place such high importance on the Red Dot awards.  They are a validation of amazing design quality from beyond the technology industry.  Our products in the Collaboration portfolio have won six Red Dot awards in the last 18 months – that’s as many as Cisco has won in all its 30 years.

Last week, I found out we won two more. Our newest video endpoint and the flagship of the Collaboration portfolio – the IX5000 – just won a “Red Dot Best of the Best” 2015 award, the highest distinction in Red Dot’s product design category. In 2015, only 1.6% of the nearly 5,000 submissions received this top prize.

The Cisco TelePresence IX500

The Cisco TelePresence IX5000

Read More »

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“Sparking” Collaboration at SXSW

Every year at the SXSW Interactive Conference, tens of thousands gather in Austin, Texas to get a first look at what’s new in innovative technology. And while the atmosphere this year was festive, it’s safe to assume that many attendees were trying to stay connected and get work done on-the-go with colleagues back in the office.

While email and conference calls have long been the staples of business communication, the reality is that people on-the-go, whose mobile devices are their business lifelines, need solutions that make it simple and easy to work together from anywhere. Since Cisco was on the ground with attendees at SXSW, it was the perfect opportunity to not only hear how they collaborate, but also discuss the future of collaboration and find out directly from users what they are looking for.

While we think collaboration is the best thing since sliced bread – or in Austin, taco trucks – we wanted to hear how users describe it: how do they use it, how does it help them, what do they wish it could do? Because Cisco Spark is so easy to put in the hands of users, we asked people to try it out. Read More »

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Context is Everything in Customer Care

“Let’s eat grandma!”
“Let’s eat, grandma!”

Punctuation makes a difference, doesn’t it? So does context.

Photo by Takkk, Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Takkk, Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a basketball fan with March Madness on your mind, “Drive the lane!” might make you think of something a coach yells to his players. On the other hand, if you’re teaching your teenage son to drive, it means something else entirely. Context matters! (By the way, march madness also refers to the breeding season of the European hare; context is a tricky thing.)

What’s one of the most annoying things about calling a contact center? For me, it’s entering my account number to an interactive voice response (IVR) system and then having a customer service agent ask me to repeat it moments later. In his recent blog, Zack Taylor refers to this as a “Do It Again” moment. Come on, people! We put a man on the moon in 1969 (or not, if you’re a conspiracy buff), but we can’t get an IVR system to send account numbers to agents? Actually we can. But most businesses don’t because it’s been too difficult or costly. We’ll get back to that shortly. Read More »

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