Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Small Business

The Rise of the Progressive SMB [Infographic]

November 7, 2012 at 9:45 am PST

Throughout the recent years we have seen an uptake in a new group of SMB’s – the “Progressive SMB,” organizations that are increasingly encroaching on the territory of their larger competitors. But what makes a SMB progressive?

Check out the infographic below to see what you can learn from progressive SMBs, including how they are going against the grain and investing heavily in technology to improve collaboration, productivity and long-term business bottom line results.

Do you consider yourself a progressive SMB? If so, we would love to hear how you are investing in IT to gain a competitive edge.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The World’s Wi-Fi Laboratory

I recently returned from visiting the world’s Wi-Fi laboratory – the United Kingdom. Everywhere you look in the United Kingdom, there is a sign promoting the availability of Wi-Fi, and my mobile device was constantly identifying a long list of available hotspots. The world’s oldest subway system – affectionately known as The Tube – even allows you to connect to the Internet as you await your train hundreds of feet below historical London. Visitors from around the world at the Summer Olympics were greeted with high-speed Wi-Fi access throughout the Olympic venues, allowing them to enhance their experience with instant access to additional information, videos, and communications through their mobile devices.

Our recent Cisco IBSG research, What Britons Want from Wi-Fi and Mobile, reveals that Britain is definitely leading the way in the availability and use of Wi-Fi. Our study confirms that Britons seem to be content with coverage in first-tier locations such as coffee shops, hotels, and restaurants, but are now looking for Wi-Fi to be just as pervasive in other places where they spend their lives. Hospitals, bus stops, retail stores, pubs, and the High Street (or city centers) top the list of additional locations where Britons would like to access Wi-Fi.

The study revealed that mobile devices are now Wi-Fi-enabled “nomadic” devices. Britons own an average of 2.6 mobile devices, almost all of which are Wi-Fi-enabled. Britons spend an average of 2.6 hours per day using their mobile devices in their homes, compared with only 0.6 hours per day in a typical “mobile” on-the-go world. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 tips to kick off your Digital Forum

Who is running digital marketing in your company? Your company’s social media team? The web marketing team? The product marketing team? Your bloggers?

Truth is, everybody in your marketing organization should be engaged in digital marketing today; the marketing message, vision and goals of your company should be reflected in everything your employees do that is related to the product and your customer.

With that being said, wouldn’t it make sense for your marketers pertain to understand how these digital channels come to life? Wouldn’t an educated and able internal workforce help you build integrated marketing programs and break down silos?

Here at Cisco, our answer was yes. And with that the Digital Marketing Forum was born. The Forum provides a communal place where we can demonstrate, educate and enable our internal workforce to use digital marketing, while encouraging best practices and the opportunity to share learnings.

After successfully pulling off our first Forum, we want to share 10 tips which will help you plan yours:

  1. Get executive commitment. Work with your executive team on topics and get their support for the forum.
  2. Make it count. Research the groups that should be invited, gather email alias and names and send out a save the date ahead of time. Be aware of global teams and their time zones.
  3. Plan for success. Treat this internal event as you would any external event and plan ahead of time with firm deadlines.
  4. Pick one topic or message. Don’t overwhelm your audience, keep it to one simple message or topic of great importance.
  5. Be flexible. Have a back up plan in case a speaker or topic falls through.
  6. Be mindful of the event length, date and time. Try to limit your event to 2 hours maximum and pick a day and time of the week that is not crazy busy (don’t try to get people Monday morning… )
  7. Put on your teacher hat. How can you present your learnings and best practices so people can easily follow and remember? What worked for us was 10-minute case studies.
  8. Use digital channels. Make sure mobile and onsite workers can attend through online channels.
  9. Get an outside speaker. Share industry thoughts and knowledge from a different perspective; define topics beforehand.
  10. Evaluate and adjust. After the event solicit feedback trough surveys, polls, chats, comments on your community sites; ask people for ideas and new topics.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yes, Responsive Design Really Helps

October 26, 2012 at 7:41 am PST

One of the most consistent challenges in designing for your customers’ digital experiences is understanding what things they’ll be doing when, which in turn governs what device they’ll be doing those things on. Will it be on the couch with a tablet? On the go with a smart phone? At work on a laptop?

On the Cisco digital team, we do a lot of research and planning on this very topic, and have found that some tasks are very time/device specific (such as looking up appointment information or background information on your phone right before a meeting) while some are more broad and could happen anywhere, such as checking product information or searching. To illustrate this better to our teams internally, we put together a storyboard to illustrate how our customers and partners use multiple devices (desktops, laptops, tablets, smart phones) within the course of their day when interacting with us and each other. Here’s a panel from it:

What this doesn’t show is that there are also “could happen anywhere” cases. These are often the most mundane of things, but important ones. For instance, our login page on Cisco.com receives more than 2,000,000 visits per month. But when we took a look at the mobile part of the login experience, we knew something had to be done!

The most obvious problem with this page above is the teeny tiny type. And then, to use it, you have to stretch and zoom to get the fields big enough to even type into. It was, as we euphemistically say in the tech biz, “suboptimal.”

One solution would have been to create separate login designs for large tablets, small tablets, phones and desktops. Instead, we chose a smarter way, using Responsive Design, which I have blogged about previously: We used one “smart” code base that adapted the display for the size of the current device. The result was very simple and very nice: A clean login page we launched recently that retains its normal behavior on the desktop browser, but shrinks to fit for tablets and smart phones. It’s a simple example of where Responsive Design saves time in deployment because we could write the code once and put it through one development and test cycle, rather than creating three or four different experiences and having to develop and test them all separately.

Responsive design doesn’t solve every problem — and there are many, many experiences on mobile that need to be designed specifically for venue and device. But use responsive design where it helps save time and money, and can provide some consistency in basic behavior.

Thanks to our mobile, design, and IT teams for pushing this out. Enjoy!

Tags: , ,

The New Mobile World Order

A mobile paradox—huge growth and customer demand, yet significant business and market challenges—is causing many companies in the mobile value chain to question where the industry is heading. They’re struggling to understand the key drivers that will shape the industry and what this new world will mean for them in terms of new challenges and opportunities. Most of all, they want to know the winning strategies for achieving success in this New Mobile World Order.

A number of major disruptions, or strategic inflection points, in the mobile industry are radically altering the entire mobile ecosystem as we know it. Some of these disruptions have been slowly building up steam over the last couple of years, although many of these have just started and have yet to really play out. In the recently published white paper, “The New Mobile World Order: Perspectives on the Future of the Mobile industry,” Cisco IBSG identified eight strategic inflection points that are causing—and stand to cause even greater—disruption and uncertainty in the industry: Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,