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From Career Connection to Collaborative Knowledge: How Cisco Built a New Breed of Knowledge, Learning, and Productivity Solution

In Part 1 of this blog post, I described the circumstances that led to the creation and roll out of the Career Connection pilot and the formation of the Cisco Collaborative Knowledge digital workplace platform. Now I want to share more about the evolution of how all of this transpired.

Career Connection, as you may recall, is a learning platform for Cisco Service employees. It was developed after months of employee engagement, user testing, surveys, interviews, and executive input. The Career Connection platform offered employees a new way to collaborate and learn:

  • The Learning Plan provided an overview of learning opportunities scheduled by the employee and their manager, as well as an overview of progress toward learning goals.
  • Community offered social learning opportunities among employees and experts.
  • The Training Catalog offered a single portal through which employees could access training courses to support reskilling and upskilling.
  • Career Universe presented Career Playbooks, organized by job category or job family. These playbooks were created by management teams to provide employees with tracks they could follow to meet requirements for jobs they wanted to attain.

These technologies represented key foundational capabilities — knowledge sharing, formal and social learning – critical to the creation of Cisco Collaborative Knowledge. The proof-of-concept pilot for Career Connection went live in 2014, and it proved to be a breakthrough for Cisco Services, which until that time, relied heavily on formal learning programs. Once employees took to the solution, employees and managers benefited in a myriad of ways.

Career Connection as a learning and knowledge sharing solution, surpassed expectations for reskilling and up-skilling the workforce. Employees embraced the technology, too. Here’s how they responded:

  • 89 percent agreed or strongly agreed that learning from leaders via blogs about strategic direction and career development was important to how they create their own development path.
  • 76 percent agreed or strongly agreed that being able to share information through discussion forums was important to their professional development.
  • 82 percent agreed or strongly agreed that visibility into information for all jobs (Career Universe) helped them plan their career goals.
  • 79 percent agreed or strongly agreed with the intent and mission of the platform. Moreover, employees felt engaged on important business topics and empowered to share professional knowledge.

With such positive feedback to Career Connection, Learning@Cisco executives began asking: Could Cisco customers benefit from a similar platform to transform their own companies? To determine if there was an unmet need in the marketplace, Learning@Cisco connected with hundreds of customers to discuss their challenges and potential learning opportunities.

Armed with customer feedback, and the proof-of-concept pilot validated by more than 14,000 Cisco Services employees, Career Connection evolved from an internal learning offering into a fully integrated, cloud-based knowledge and learning digital workplace solution appropriately named Cisco Collaborative Knowledge.

To learn more about Cisco Collaborative Knowledge, visit our the Cisco Collaborative Knowledge site.

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The Importance of Security Skills in Today’s Workplace

Information technology and its use have transformed every aspect of society. In today’s digital economy, every company requires effective security to protect their information. Security breaches mean lost intellectual property, compromised customer information, and reduced customer confidence. These are critical considerations as organizations become more agile and try to grow their business models to leverage evolving trends of mobility, cloud and digitization.

The number of connected devices alone is expected to grow to 50 billion sensors, objects, and other connected “things” by the year 2020. With this, the number and type of attack vectors will increase, as will the amount of data, creating a daunting challenge for companies and those responsible for defending the infrastructure.

Cybersecurity has expanded from just focusing on building secure technology perimeters, to now also working with business management to reduce security risks – as well as detecting, responding to, investigating and handling security events when they occur. As a result, security is not a point-in-time component, but rather, it must be a part of every deployment, every development and every decision.

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Refreshed Wireless and Design Certifications Offer Up-to-date Skills for IT Professionals

As the technology landscape continues its rapid transformation, those who work in the industry are faced with the constant challenge of keeping their skills up-to-date. To address the needs of professionals looking to build, assess and continually reinforce wireless technology or network design expertise throughout the spectrum of their career, we are announcing updates to three of our training and certification offerings: CCDA, CCDP and CCNA Wireless.

Designing Tomorrow’s Networks

Enterprise environments require networks designed for performance, availability and scalability with the flexibility to meet rapidly evolving demands. Skilled IT professionals are needed to plan, design and optimize today’s enterprise networks. Cisco’s Design certifications drive successful business outcomes by building and validating end-to-end network design skills.

Learning@cisco2The new training courses we are introducing teach Cisco network design principles that apply to enterprises of all sizes. This update to the curriculum extends the design perspective across all segments of Cisco’s Enterprise Network architectures while adding focus on new and evolving technologies such as services virtualization and programmable controller based architectures. The updated training and certification offerings are:

Updates to the design certification and training offerings include:

  • Teachings on current technologies and solutions that are leveraged in designing and optimizing reliable, scalable and resilient enterprise networks.
  • Goals that align to the promotion of a modular network design that Cisco formalized and that remains applicable to new and evolving enterprise networks.
  • Expansion of network design topics to include Network Programmability, controller based architectures and virtualized services that require a holistic design perspective in order to transform the digital enterprise.
  • Elevating the focus to consider design dependencies and considerations that span across the campus, data center, WAN and branch segments of advanced enterprise networks.
  • Additional aspects of the modular, hierarchical campus design, advanced addressing and routing to enable transitions to IPv6, optimizing WAN services, interconnecting data centers and improving overall network security.

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New IT Career Strategies for a Dynamic Technology Ecosystem

Skills such as IT management and software development have become intricately interconnected as new digital architectures enable new technologies. As a result, tech companies are innovating increasingly advanced and sophisticated solutions to meet the demands of a services-rich environment.

Collaboration environments, rich media and cloud services delivery models are examples of the many new drivers that are changing the way we operate. The massive influx of data from the growing Internet of Things is what really dictates the new requirements for the IT infrastructure: transaction times, transaction security, customer data protection, just-in-time offerings and more.

A shift in career strategy

The combination of rich architectural offerings and quickly changing business needs is creating unprecedented opportunities across the business spectrum. However, it is also placing a knowledge burden onto an evolving IT workforce, whose mandate is to become more and more focused on adding business value to their organization. What really matters is what we get from the new technology in practical terms, rather than how interesting or amazing the technology is. A good technology architect now has to be able to clearly explain the value proposition of his or her solution.

In response to this transformation, IT professionals will need to shift the way that they plan and operate their careers. New technologies are shaping the workforce of the future, and the skills needed to meet the demand of our new digital age can be built on your current foundational skill set, no matter if you come from the IT world, the services world or the software development world.

Tomorrow’s IT professionals will be comprised of an organized blend of all skill sets and will be capable of providing top-notch support, no matter which vertical they are attached to. Read More »

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Building an Agile, High-Performing Workforce for the Workplace of the Future

Technology continues to evolve at a break-neck pace, and our definition of the workplace — and how we work with our customers, partners and stakeholders — has expanded beyond the four walls of an office building. The adoption of mobile devices and cloud-based services has created an anytime, anywhere work culture. At the same time, global competition is at its greatest level, and organizations must re-evaluate how they can remain competitive and market relevant in this rigorous environment.

The need to provide products and services faster, reduce cost of operations and automate mundane tasks in order to stay competitive continues to accelerate in today’s digital world. As such, new skill sets and continued talent development are needed that address these changes currently impacting the way we work inside and outside of an organization. This isn’t an obstacle just central to the U.S. or certain markets. This is a global challenge, and will require organizations to rethink how they evolve, retrain and reskill their workforce to best complement this new way of working.

For instance, sales and marketing departments have had to adjust to this digital transformation; nowadays the vast majority of marketing is now done online through mobile and social channels. Manufacturing skills are also changing, the way we design products are changing, and the way we collaborate is changing. Across the board, significant development of new technology skills is needed.

Approximately 90 percent of technology jobs are expected to change in this new digital economy in order to keep up with new business models and technologies, which leaves us with a massive skills transition in the workforce. At the same time, there will be an estimated shortage of between 38-40 million college-educated workers by 2020, which means organizations will be competing for a relatively small pool of talent.

To keep employees up to speed on the skills they now require mandates access to pertinent information and learning, and real-time access to experts on the job, every day.

The time has come for a next-generation workforce solution to empower customers with the digital tools and technology they need to access information, experts, learning, and knowledge in real time – anytime, anywhere. To that end, Cisco is unveiling its new cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) knowledge platform: Cisco Collaborative Knowledge. The platform is designed to help customers reshape the way they work, learn, collaborate and innovate together, creating a smarter, more productive organization.

Cisco Collab Knowledge pic

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