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Help Me to Help You: Reflections on C-Scape 2007

- December 17, 2007 - 3 Comments

Post by Alan S. Cohen, Vice President, Enterprise & Mid-Market SolutionsLast week we completed our annual C-Scape event, an annual gathering of industry, & financial analysts, press and Cisco executives and thought leaders in close proximity for two days of dialogue, discussion and debate. Whether it was the select roundtables with key analysts, main tent sessions revealing our expanding vision as a software company or a WiMAX player, or guest speakers such as Steve Hellmuth, the CTO of the NBA clarifying the fan experience through the use of Web 2.0 technologies, I found the event intellectually electrifying, pivoting between the lofty peaks of evolving Cisco into more of an IT company and the deep challenges of supporting the ever expanding networking requirements of our millions of customers.With our key focus on the role of video and the rapidly approaching 2008 Oscars, I am turning to one of my favorite flicks, Jerry McGuire, to briefly channel some of my observations about C-Scape. Among Jerry McGuire’s many qualities is a series of memorable lines that can be applied to any situation. There were many rich and varied nuances and threads to C-Scape. Please excuse me the liberty of narrowing some of it down to a few movie lines.1. Help Me to Help YouThe raison d’aªtre for this event is a two-way exchange between Cisco and the industry experts that follow us on our vision, strategy and execution. We pushed hard on the emergence of Unified Communications (UC)/ Collaboration as the next driving force for the Internet and why video -or more specifically, why rich media — will play a key role. Some of the best feedback I received revolved around us being clearer about our intentions in UC as well as better defining our position vs. several of the key software players already working in the collaboration space. In summary, what the analysts told us was:”we want to better explain your position to your customers and partners so they more specifically know how, when and where to engage with you.” In the words of Jerry McGuire:”Help me to help you.”2. You Had Me at HelloWe took a risk at this year’s C-Scape by not opening with a classic, rousing John Chambers’ keynote. By starting with a multi-point, multi-national TelePresence session, we demonstrated how our customers and industry experts see the role of rich media changing how the business world collaborates.Although several analysts and members at the press honestly thought we over-rotated on TelePresence, we hold that the role of video in collaboration to be a self-evident truth. Our declaration is that people want to put people — not asynchronous, non-contextual messages -back into human interaction and decision-making, particularly across time-zones, companies and continents. The goal-line objective I took away is that we need to better define a rich media strategy beyond our amazing instant TelePresence experience. Technology has most people”at hello.” The rest of the rich media conversation is still waiting.3. Show Me the MoneyOne of the clear takeaways of C-Scape is the depth and breadth of Cisco’s business model. At every interaction with Wall Street, our CEO and CFO posit this to Wall Street.However, at C-Scape, several analysts beaconed that the emerging environment suggests a stronger linkage of IT investment to TCO. A slowing economy, of course, puts additional scrutiny on all forms of capital investment. Technologies such as networking that help businesses reduce costs tend to do well in most economic environments.The bigger challenge in front of us is demonstrating the linkage between our solutions and business transformation. TCO and ROI analyses are useful justifications for IT expenditures, but we are now in an era where the imperatives of innovation, globalization, and increasingly, Green, are changing how businesses operate. Collaboration, built on the gear-box of UC/rich media, is the great enabler both of Cisco’s strategy, as well as our customers’ evolving businesses processes.Speaking of linkages, Cisco and the analyst community are symbiotically linked, albeit sometimes not in complete harmony, in helping businesses of all sizes understand the take advantage of the richness of technology. Our vision is ultimately advantaged by this relationship, or in the words of Jerry McGuire:”You complete me.”

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  1. Attempted to post the C-Scape conference report to this blog in Dec 07, but it did not happen. You can view it at:

  2. Alan, clearly articulated, leading and impactful.

  3. Alan, Great summary.. if I could add. I think in the brief time that I spent at CSCAPE the analysts are also asking how the entire stack of technologies and architecture come togther.. so UC, Webex, web 2.0 technologies, coupled with a rich contect solution and search and workforce data etc. etc. I think the ""data"" will be a key differntiator on how we offer a personalized and relevant workforce experience.. Sheila"