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The Future of Work is Mobile and Flexible

Cisco’s 2014 Future of Work survey results were published the other day and reveal many thought-provoking trends.

For example, did you know that the majority of today’s professionals would relinquish their television before they let you take away their smartphone? Or that given a choice between Internet access and sense of smell, an incredible 43% would hang on to the Internet. Now there’s the true meaning of a 6th sense.

These are just a couple of the provoking (and some may say disturbing) findings.

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From Work-Life Balance to Work-Life Blend – Google, Twitter and Cisco Join a Panel to Discuss how to Prepare Companies for Gen Y

Two weeks ago, I was sitting in front of 250 people at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco talking about a subject most Fortune 500 companies are dealing with today: how to prepare for the thousands of Gen Y employees about to descend on the work place. Last Tuesday, July 16th, I had the pleasure of speaking on this topic with Google’s Todd Carlisle, Director of Staffing, and Twitter’s Melissa Daimler, Head of Organizational Effectiveness and Learning. Doug MacMillan with Bloomberg BusinessWeek moderated the discussion.

During the course of the evening, we discussed an assortment of topics around how companies are creating an environment that these new generations of employees will want to work in. It’s clear Gen Yers work and interact in different ways and companies are having to adapt.

For example, all of the panelists agreed that companies must provide lots of opportunities for training and coaching. I firmly believe that the number one predictor of job satisfaction is great coaching. In five or ten years, I may not remember how I was paid in that particular position, but I will remember an impactful mentor and a skill I learned. Todd from Google brought up an interesting Googler to Googler program that they’ve implemented, that connects people to share their skills – everything from debugging a complex piece of code to teaching yoga. Melissa agreed, saying that if there is just one question that managers ask employees every quarter, it should be “what is the skill you want to learn.” After all, people are more loyal to building their skill set and their career path than any type of company.

The topic of work-life balance also came up, and each panelist talked about that in a different way. I believe that what used to be a work-life balance is, for Gen Yers, a work-life blend. This newest generation of employees is used to constantly flipping back and forth Read More »

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Is Your Company Prepared for Gen Y? Cisco, Twitter and Google Share Their Thoughts

We’ve all heard about Gen Y, or “millennials,” and how this new generation is poised to take over the workforce and change the face of Silicon Valley. Next Tuesday, July 16th at 6:30 pm, I’ll be joining thought leaders from Twitter and Google on a panel at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, to discuss an issue of critical importance – how to attract tomorrow’s talent and prepare for the incoming Gen Y workforce.

Gen Y is expected to make up nearly 75% of the workforce by 2025. How will this change the way we work, and what kinds of opportunities and challenges does this pose for local Silicon Valley companies? During this panel, I’ll share my thoughts on the biggest shifts in culture, management style, and recruiting strategy needed to attract the best talent of this new generation.

As many of you know, using today’s enterprise tools can feel like taking a trip back in technological time.  For businesses to succeed in the future they are going to have to adapt to the needs of Generation Y and that will often mean offering them more flexibility. According to the Cisco Connected World Technology Report, 66% of employees place higher value on workplace flexibility than on salary.

But it will take more than offering a flexible Read More »

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Inside the Minds of Generation Y

In the words of Morley Safer from the American news program 60 Minutes, “Stand back all bosses, a new breed of American worker is about to attack everything you hold sacred.” What a nice way to put it Mr. Safer, but to be honest, it sounds a little biased.

Why has there been controversy between Generation Y and the current workforce? It may be due to our abnormal perspectives or the fact that we appreciate when others want our input -- whatever it is, the media has enjoyed writing about our “non-traditional” ways of working. The truth is other generations are now embracing some of our methods: such as communicating through social media and “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) because of its convenience and efficiency.

Yes, we may be viewed as discourteous to what the current workforce offers, but considering we represent some of the earliest adopters of new technology, we believe there is always “a next best thing”. Read More »

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What’s on the Minds of Financial Services CIOs?

Earlier this week, I participated in the Financial Services CIO Summit, which brought together CIOs and other senior technology business leaders from global as well as regional financial services institutions to share insights on the industry’s evolution. The dialogue was rich, compelling, and creative. The leaders grasp the challenges before them and see solution pathways that will help their banks capture new opportunities. So what was on their minds?

Four main forces are driving change in the banking industry: 1) rapid technology development that is providing a new business reality; 2) increasing customer demands that require banks to rethink how they have historically approached customers; 3) heightened competition, not just among financial institutions, but from companies outside their industry; and 4) burgeoning regulation that will require banks to track and store data disseminated to customers, including text messages, emails, and other interactive forms of digital information.

Overwhelmingly, the CIOs agreed that their challenges are not about technology per se; they have a plethora of technology choices. Instead, the main challenge is how to apply technology to maximize business benefits. The role of the CIO is no longer to serve primarily as a transactional technology guru. Management now expects CIOs to identify business problems and apply the right technologies to drive new business and serve customers better—while at the same time helping the bank become more productive and cost efficient.

One of CIOs’ biggest challenges is serving new customer segments with tailored approaches. Banks want to appeal to the younger generation of customers in a more differentiated and adaptive way. Gen Y consumers expect banks to use the web, social media, interactive games, and ubiquitous mobility in their customer interactions. CIO Summit attendees agreed that they need to create greater brand presence in social media circles to stimulate conversations with this key customer segment regarding home ownership, retirement savings, and other personal finance issues.

For high-net-worth clients, CIO Summit attendees pondered two “virtual expert” scenarios based on two-way high-definition video: (1) utilizing virtual advisers in wealth management branches to broaden availability of subject-matter expertise; and (2) home-based solutions that enable clients to reach their financial advisers when it is most convenient.

The CIO Summit offered a glimpse at several great opportunities. To capture them, I think CIOs should consider three steps: 1) conduct research and analysis to identify and prioritize strategic options; 2) define the appropriate business architecture (business strategy, people, processes, and organizational structure); and 3) create the technology architecture that enables successful implementation.

Financial services CIOs face some interesting battles. However, they now have the opportunity to become even more business-critical to their organizations than ever before.

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