What does it mean to be “customer-driven”?

You’ve reached the mid-point of your year, which means it time to bring the team together for second half planning. Despite the macro challenges that continue to persist, things are going well. All metrics are trending nicely and your people are motivated. You center the flip chart in front of the u-shaped tables and write “CUSTOMER-DRIVEN” at the top in big, capital letters as folks take their seats. This is item #1 on the agenda: how do we become more customer-driven? How do we make sure the voice of our customers is documented and well represented in our products? Three hours pass, and the team has a great discussion. Ideas like “better internal collaboration”, “customer focus groups” and “executive briefings” all make the flip chart. The group feels accomplished, so you ask them to discuss the ideas with their own teams and come back in four weeks with a prioritized list. Time for lunch.

Is this enough? Are you “customer-driven” now? It’s a good start, but as with anything, it comes down to accountability to action. “Talking the talk” is important, but “walking the walk” is what sets you apart. This is the mindset with CX Cloud, Cisco’s cloud-based digital network management platform. It was born on the idea that our customers should drive its evolution. For two years, we’ve built teams, strategies and plans around this customer-driven vision, including the CX Cloud Beta Program.

But more on that later. Allow me to introduce you to Victor.

Victor Prieto is the Head of Network Delivery at Enel, an Italy-based utility that has been powering homes, businesses and cities across the world for 60 years, all with an unwavering focus on sustainability and innovation. I met Victor in October of 2021 as part of Enel’s participation in the CX Cloud Beta Program, an exclusive program designed not only to capture the voice of the customer, but to amplify it. Enel joined the CX Cloud Beta Program in March of 2021, and over the last 18+ months, the CX Cloud Beta Program team has strived to deliver a premium engagement based on two key principals: accountability and innovation. When Victor joined the Beta Program team in October, it was obvious he personified these principals. So we instantly went to work.

Victor presented us with a specific challenge: supply chain visibility. Enel, not unlike other companies within their industry, was experiencing delivery delays. How could Victor and his global team better predict the delivery of their critical Cisco devices? The beauty of this request, and the reason Victor has been such a fantastic participant in the Beta Program, is that he was not looking to Cisco and CX Cloud to solve the world’s supply chain issues; rather, he was looking to us to alleviate the issue. He and his team just needed relief. As a result, the challenge at hand became manageable, and a perfect case for innovation.

What followed was a six-month collaborative prototyping process that, by all standards, was customer-driven. Our talented CX Cloud engineers, along with the CX Cloud Beta Program team, deployed an iterative design process, holding bi-weekly meetings with Victor to present progress and take his feedback on improvements and modifications. The end result was a functioning prototype within CX Cloud that allowed Victor and his team to always know the location of their Cisco shipments across various stages within the supply chain. This led to better predictability, better planning, and less guessing. We took a global problem and shrunk it in to a manageable, solvable opportunity. All with our friend, Victor, leading the way.

Today, CX Cloud continues its journey to being customer-driven. Outside of the Beta Program, CX Cloud has a feedback channel within the user interface that allows our customers to offer ideas and suggestions on how to make CX Cloud even better. If you are already a CX Cloud customer, we encourage you to take advantage of this feature and submit your feedback. We want to hear from you. If you are not a CX Cloud customer, start here to learn more. And to hear more from Victor, check out his take on the value behind Enel and Cisco’s long-standing partnership here.

Have a great 2023!


Brandon Hart

Leader, CX Cloud Beta Program

Customer Experience (CX)