As we’ve observed, in today’s fast-paced digital age, enterprises must continually find new ways to reskill their workforce to remain up to date with technology, develop effective leaders, and innovate new solutions on behalf of their customers. Research from Bersin by Deloitte has found that average employee tenure has decreased from five to seven years to two to three years. As a result, roughly 75 to 90 percent of an organization’s workforce needs continuous reskilling.

Several years ago, we undertook a major initiative to reskill more than 14,000 employees in our Services organization. Our goal: to shift from a “box” culture to a consultative solutions culture. To do this, we needed a different technology platform and a new way of working with our employees.

Human Resources executives worked with Cisco Services and Learning and Development teams to develop a vision for a cloud-based platform that could equip the Services workforce with the skills needed for today and tomorrow. The goal of this internal platform, called Career Connection, was to create a continuous learning workplace culture that could take the Services organization to the next level. The platform we developed enabled Services to build new consultative selling capabilities while elevating existing skills. We also worked to improve engagement and collaboration by providing employees with the much-needed ability to network with mentors and experts and to learn informally from their peers.

In late 2013, we unveiled our plan to develop and deploy this new platform. We committed to providing employees with new learning opportunities to develop new skills. Additionally, we committed to expanding support for career development. During this time, we met with a broad range of stakeholders, from executives to employees, to ensure that we could clearly capture everyone’s thoughts and creative input.

Career Connection was so successful from an internal standpoint that we asked, “Could our customers benefit from a similar platform?” The solution has further evolved to become Cisco Collaborative Knowledge – the industry’s first knowledge and learning platform for today’s digital workforce.

The journey that the Cisco family has taken with Career Connection and Collaborative Knowledge has been exciting. After successfully releasing the project internally, we conducted a pilot project with the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS). One of America’s oldest scientific organizations, NYAS is dedicated to educating K–12 students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects.

The goal of the pilot was to increase access to STEM mentors and role models all over the world. As we enable that goal through Cisco Collaborative Knowledge, I’m filled with a sense of pride, and I wonder what other innovations might occur through this platform. You can learn more about Cisco Collaborative Knowledge and NYAS by watching the video below.


In Part 2 of this blog post, I will talk about how the Career Connection pilot was received by Cisco employees. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about this new knowledge, learning, and productivity solution, visit the Cisco Collaborative Knowledge page.


Kathy Bries

Director, Technical Support

Platform & Technology