I know a lot of bad words that begin with the letter “F,” but failure is NOT one of them. For sure, there do exist inexcusable failures in an organization: failure to meet your sales targets, production targets, operational expense targets, etc. It is easy for us to become so caught up in our search for success that we can forget how to fail.

At Cisco, we have thousands of Systems Engineers and Architects serving our valuable customers and it is widely understood in the industry that they are a formidable team. We have seen some tremendous successes over the last 30+ years. However, as we’ve grown, a new challenge has developed. How do you create agility in a large organization? This agility is more crucial now than it ever has been in my 2+ decade career at Cisco. Cisco’s transition to software and programmability is well documented and it has a tremendous impact on our Systems Engineers and Architects. Not only are we evolving our team with software skills in Networking, Security, IoT, AI and other areas, we are constantly evaluating the technology landscape and preparing for AR/VR, Blockchain solutions and many, many other impactful technologies. Rapidly developing technologies and rapidly shifting markets require us to be agile and rapidly adapt. How do we do that?

One part of creating an agile organization is experimentation, and with experimentation comes both successes and failures. We’re embracing both as we explore new ways to interact with our customers. Can we bring a new, rich experience to our customers that allows us to leverage our best experts virtually? Video has been an incredibly transformative technology for us, but we’d like to up our game.

We began experimenting with Virtual Reality a few months ago. Our hypothesis was that we could leverage the technology to have a realistic, life-like experience with our customers while embracing the productivity and agility of being remote. We deliberately used a very small budget and some very resourceful people to throw together an experiment. Leveraging a cinematic-quality VR camera, we captured recordings of SEs demonstrations and various other interactions.

In this photo (left to right): Jason Tamasese (Cisco), Aaron Jackson (camera man), Dave Wilson (Cisco)

What did we learn? For one, I learned I need to change my delivery when presenting to a VR camera. (Talk about failure!) More importantly than my ego, we learned that the technology isn’t quite ready for the experience we were hoping to develop, but we learned a great deal. From some initial small failures, we are now achieving great successes. Check out some of the great videos we created along the way below. The lessons we learned in the process are giving us new focus to our experimentation and new ideas for bringing value to our customers.

Here is to failure! May we fail fast and often.

Note to desktop users: We recommend using the latest version of the following browsers for the best video viewing experience: Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge.

Note to mobile users: For the full 360o video experience, please use the Vimeo app (iOS, Android) to view the following videos.

Select Video Quality: Also, for the best 360o experience, click the “HD” button (on the bottom right of each video clip) and select 1080p or 720p HD playback. Otherwise the video may appear blurry.


#CiscoSE Demo: Cisco SDA & ACI 


#CiscoSE Demo: Cisco Collaboration  


#CiscoSE Demo: Smart & Connected City 


Virtual Reality: #CiscoSE & Cisco DevNet


#CiscoSE Demo: Cisco Data Center


Virtual Reality Talk: Cisco Cybersecurity


#CiscoSE Demo: Cisco Spark Board


Virtual Reality Talk: The Cisco Meraki Story


Virtual Reality Talk: Cisco Emerge


Virtual Reality Talk: Cisco Meraki




Michael Koons

Vice President, Global Systems Engineering and Technology

World Wide Sales