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Join the Movement! Telework Week 2013

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 which provides agencies greater flexibility in managing their workforce.  It provides a framework for agencies to better leverage technology and to maximize the use of flexible work arrangements which can aid in recruiting new Federal workers, retain valuable talent and allow the Federal agency workers to be more responsive to citizen needs and be more productive out in the field.  This can include situations such as national security, emergency response, cross agency collaboration, or simply, providing citizen services such as language translation.

 

Last year, more than 71,000 people pledged, saving $5,651,890 on commuting costs, gaining back 251,774 hours into their day, and removing 3 tons of pollutents from the air while refraining from driving 6, 413,006 miles.

Today, Cisco and Telework Exchange kicks off the third annual Telework Week 2013 – an annual global effort to encourage agencies, organizations and individuals to pledge to work anytime, anywhere from March 4-8, 2013.  According to Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), author of the Telework Enhancement Act, “Telework Week is an excellent opportunity for thousands of people to try teleworking and realize the great benefits it can provide. A robust Telework program can help organizations improve the quality of life of their employees, while taking strides to protect the environment, reduce traffic congestion on the roads, and increase workplace efficiency.” 

 

 

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What the Holiday Season is All About – Cisco Connects the North Pole to Children’s Hospitals

Throughout the years, I’ve been able to witness some great examples of technology’s ability to connect people when it really matters.  Now, with Christmas lights everywhere and the holiday season upon us, it’s the time of year where wishes really do come true.  And no one is better suited to spread holiday cheer than Santa himself – that’s why Cisco established the Santa Connection program.

   
In its sixth year, the program aims to connect Santa with young patients unable to leave the hospital and allows them to “virtually” visit Santa. Through Santa Connection, Cisco engineers set up Cisco TelePresence solutions via iPad, laptop or cart in children’s hospitals across the globe. These children are then able to share their Christmas wishes with the man himself “in-person” over high-definition video and Santa’s elves are on hand in the hospital to give gifts.  What a great way to put smiles on children’s faces. Read More »

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Santa Takes Cisco Technology on Virtual Sleigh Ride Across U.K. and Ireland

For many children, visiting Santa Claus, sitting on his lap, and telling him what they want for Christmas is a highlight of the holiday season. But for a sick, hospitalized child, participating in this tradition can be impossible.

Thanks to Cisco technology and a network of Cisco volunteers, hundreds of hospitalized children in the U.K. and Ireland have a chance to visit with Santa each year – in the most high-tech way possible.

One of eight volunteer Santas in the 2012 Connected Santa program in the U.K. and Ireland

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Mobility and Virtualization in the Next-Generation Workplace

I’m one of the lucky ones. Many of my peers work in companies that aren’t as forward looking about IT as Cisco is. Where they struggle to keep up with the demands of today’s employees, I’m fortunate to work in an environment that offers workspace flexibility and access to telepresence, web conferencing, and a social platform based largely on the employee’s choice of device.

That’s not to say that we’ve got it all figured out at Cisco. As I onboard new college graduates, I, too, find myself struggling to meet their expectations. I think we’ve entered a phase in which all business and IT leaders will lag slightly behind the workplace expectations of the new generation.

To better understand this fundamental shift, we recently commissioned Forrester Research to look specifically at mobility, virtualization, and other enterprise-level technology initiatives.  Read More »

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Satisfied Customers Aren’t Necessarily Loyal Customers

Retention Trumps Satisfaction

For about a decade, JD Power and Associates has been asking consumers to rate their satisfaction with insurance companies on a simple scale of 1-5. This summer, a study of the auto insurance industry found satisfaction, as measured by this simple survey, to be at an all-time high (2012 U.S. Auto Insurance Study).

Logic might suggest that high customer satisfaction should yield high retention and less price sensitivity, but as is often the case, reality is more complex. It turns out that satisfaction is mere table stakes, and retention is a much more difficult job. Other factors, such as choice of channel and bundling or cross-selling, contribute much more directly to loyalty than this simple score from 1-5 indicates.

In general, today’s consumer wants to use convenient channels such as Web and mobile for simple, low value transactions such as making a payment or updating an address. Those channel preferences shift however, as complexity increases and a more high value interaction with a knowledgeable professional is required. There is very often a point at which a personal, face to face interaction is by far the most efficient way to complete a transaction.

Preferred Channel Service

Source: JD Power & Associates, 2012 U.S. Auto Insurance Study

Today’s insurance buyers must choose between a direct channel insurer where the customer experience is based on Web and phone interactions, and the traditional agency channel based on relationship and face to face (or at least one to one via phone) interaction. The gap between these two models is wide. Neither model currently spans the array of channel choice and interaction model necessary to provide both convenience and intimacy. Read More »

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