Our customers are the heart and soul of everything we do at Cisco and each one of them has an interesting story to tell! Our Q&A series allows us to shine a spotlight on some of our most passionate customer advocates as we learn more about their stories and backgrounds.
Cisco’s advocacy community brings our customers together and provides a way for them to make powerful connections, expand their professional and personal networks, and learn from top experts in their field. One of our goals with our advocacy community is to deepen our relationships with our customers and today, we have one of the friendliest faces in the community joining us for a chat. I’m excited to welcome Dave Clark from Amelco UK Limited.
Welcome, Dave! Let’s kick things off by talking about what you wanted to be when you were 16 years old?
I became interested in computers and technology from really early on in my life. However, at 16, I was studying for my GCSE’s and was more interested in my social life. As fate would have it, I ended up taking a job at the school where I was studying and managed to get experience with Cisco devices like the Cisco 5000 Catalyst series switches and Cisco 2000/2500/4000/7000 series routers. I started my role while at school at the start of the internet boom. PCs were just being introduced at the time. The main project I was working on was the move from Token Ring and BNC networks to RJ45 where we installed a superfast 2Mbps ISDN connection for basic internet services. And wow, that was 30 years ago now!
That’s great that your first step into an IT career was at school. And, what professional decision or opportunity helped lead you to your current role?
After graduating, I worked for a number of companies over the years. I’ve been lucky that my jobs in IT and networking have taken me all over the world. I’m grateful for the opportunities and really enjoy working in the networking sector.
I currently work for Amelco. I noticed they were growing at a phenomenal pace and were becoming leaders in the IGaming space and after joining the company, I helped design and grow their network to match their future needs. I have been working for Amelco for 6 years now and have watched the company triple in size. Every day is different and exciting, and Cisco is at the heart of our network!
That’s a very impressive CV! You touched on this, but we would love to go deeper into how partnering with Cisco has helped your work in your industry?
At Amelco, we rely on Cisco technologies to build secure networks for both the organization and our external customers. We use ASA firewalls for the Internet Edge and VPN, both site-to-site and client-based Cisco AnyConnect, 2FA products from Cisco DUO, and Nexus and Catalyst switches in our data centers. Our plan going forward is to move more into a cloud-based system, and we have already started looking into Cisco SD-WAN to help us achieve this.
What’s been your biggest challenge in your company the past year, and how did you overcome it?
We run into numerous challenges all the time and I would say this is what makes my job interesting. One major challenge we came across was when we found a bug in our Cisco Adaptive Security Virtual Appliance deployments, and we had to fix it without any downtime across 20 sites.
Our first course of action was to reach out to Cisco’s Technical Assistance Center, however on this occasion Cisco’s TAC team was not able to fix the issue. It was reassuring, though, to have the extra support and fresh eyes look over the problem. We continued with our own testing and located a bug related to jumbo frames being enabled. We also noticed strange behavior with failover and rebooting, so we focused on fixing and rebooting one unit at a time. Once safe to do so, we then applied this solution to the second unit, which resulted in no additional downtime across our sites.
I’m glad you were able to tackle that problem without any downtime. Let’s move on to our customer advocacy community! How would you describe it to those who aren’t familiar with it?
Cisco’s customer advocacy community is a great platform for Cisco to listen to their customers, like me! We can share valuable insights and feedback into what Cisco is doing right and what Cisco could improve. Overall, the community is a fun way to engage directly with Cisco.
We definitely like to focus on building community and listening to our customers, as you mentioned! And, because you’re one of our “Rockstars,” we really appreciate how active you are in the community! What made you want to join, and how has being part of this community impacted you both professionally and personally?
I am really happy that I joined! I am a strong believer that we need to share our experiences to make products better. It’s crucial that vendors know how we as customers feel about their products, which in turn helps them improve their offerings. Cisco’s customer advocacy community is a great platform for me to share my feedback.
Thank you for highlighting this important point, Dave! We truly value all feedback we receive from our customers, too! We’re almost at the end of the interview and we’d love to finish with three things you can’t live without?
The first is technology, because most people can’t live without it, including our Cisco networking devices! The second is the internet, for the same reason. And I can’t live without my family, because they support me in everything I do!
Thank you again for joining us, Dave!
You are welcome, Rashik!
Read more customer advocate interviews:
For our customers who have already joined Cisco’s advocacy community, say hello to Dave if you haven’t met each other yet. And for those Cisco customers who haven’t yet joined, consider doing so! You’ll be able to:
- Connect with peers in a gamified, online community
- Have an opportunity to meet with Cisco’s executives
- Share your feedback, questions, and best practices
- Get access to “insider” content and resources
- Grow your professional and personal brand
- Amplify your company’s success story with Cisco technology
Ready to get started? Head over to the community and say hello!