Digitally Sell at #FullSpeed: Cisco dCloud Demos Help You Avoid Death by PowerPoint

October 13, 2016 - 20 Comments

In the summer of 2012, I was asked to pick up a high profile project with time restrictions for Bank of America/Merrill Lynch (BAML). The brief was to implement a mobile phone recording solution for UK traders to comply with UK’s FSA rules on mobile call recording for financial institutions.

Part of the problem with this was that the technology wasn’t very mature when it was first introduced. There were a lot of pilot programs and discussions at all the banks, with lots of suppliers jostling for position and airtime.

Before dCloud

Cisco SecurityMy first instinct was to start contacting suppliers and initiate the RFI/RFP/RFQ/Pilot process to find a solution that was a good fit for BAML.  So the fun began and I spent the best part of a month defining requirements and talking to suppliers.

During this time, the front runners became clear. We created a shortlist and suppliers had even started to ship me mobile phones for onsite testing.

We had narrowed the decision down to SIM-based or agent-based solutions, but then Cisco contacted me to say that they were close to offering a solution that would integrate into the Bank’s existing VOIP setup. BAML was already a Cisco shop, so it made sense to get the sales team in and understand their offering.

This was my first time talking to Cisco face to face, and surprisingly it was death by PowerPoint. Where the other suppliers had been able to live-demo their products, Cisco couldn’t demo anything for months! They had a 30 page slide deck with pretty pictures and diagrams, explaining how it would work when released… We were disappointed.

Strategically we all knew that the Cisco solution was the best thing for the Bank. But short term we couldn’t wait for a Cisco Proof of Concept to be set up to convince us. We pulled the trigger and went with a SIM-based solution, and replaced 2,000 SIM cards across the UK in a matter of weeks.

After dCloud

Cisco ChatSince that time, Cisco has plugged this gap of not being able to provide demos at short notice. The dCloud platform has taken the concept of on-site demos and labs to a whole different level, which enables the Sales Engineers to run at #FULLSPEED.

In 2016, dCloud is a well established sales tool, poised to be part of the Cisco Sales future with over 200 different types of demo/lab content. It is available 24/7 in four globally-located data centers with 24/7 support, and has a dedicated team of developers constantly working on refreshing content and adding new offerings. It allows our Sales Engineers to fully demonstrate Cisco products and solutions that fix our customers’ problems – with no more PowerPoints!

Win with dCloudAs you’ve probably figured out… I’m now on the other side of the fence, working for Cisco.

I manage a fantastic team of developers, creating Data Center Content for the dCloud platform.  I also manage the UI/UX team of developers who are responsible for the dCloud experience and the upcoming mobile app.

I get great satisfaction out of the fact that I now work at Cisco dCloud in a team that really makes things happen. We enable Sales Engineers and customers to learn about our products and get their hands dirty at a moments notice, and really try before they buy.

Brian NarcumWhat’s your “Digital Selling” story?

Are you part of ours?

Tell us how dCloud is helping your Digital Transformation.





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  1. Great post! dCloud definitely changed the way I work. It is a fantastic way for the SEs to demonstrate Cisco’s latest innovations and also for the customers to check out the real benefits from them. Keep up the good work Barry and team!

  2. Your contents are pretty impressive. Thanks for providing value.


  3. Thanks for writing this, Barry. Your sentence: “We enable Sales Engineers and customers to learn about our products and get their hands dirty at a moments notice, and really try before they buy”is one of my favorite aspects of dCloud. Good job!

    • Hi Laura, This is so important and would help customer everytime when evaluating new Cisco products or upgrades etc

  4. From a partner’s perspective – dCloud is a #FMDL (Free Million Dollar Lab) that is effort free, compared to how partners did business just a few years ago.

    Partners have always loved to have a “showcase”, to highlight the solutions that they sell from vendors on their line card. This involved purchasing or obtaining temporary equipment, integrating it, updating it, licensing it, cabling it, patching it. And after 1 or 2 demos, you know that the last person didn’t return it to the original state. I’d hate to be the person that has to do the 3rd demo. (fix, verify, update, relicense, the lab, and then finally prep it for the next demo). So many lost cycles of effort and cost.

    Add to that, after a year or so, the Partner owner is wondering why the equipment hasn’t delivered more value, and then the “update the lab” discussions take place with the new blade, server, switch, fw, ap, etc. My goodness, the circle goes round and round.

    Cisco is successfully executing on its vision of becoming a software company. And dCloud highlights the power of that software. Cisco dCloud allows a partner to have a “Mobile Showcase”, without the need for integrating it, updating it, licensing it, cabling it, patching it. The demo guides are perfect for demonstrations, training, learning a new Software product, and for the curious – the ability to take the dCloud demo “off road” and prove a certain corner case, or develop a new operational process (because dCloud is using the actual Cisco software – not some type of regulated or strict demonstration emulation).

    New Demonstrations appear on dCloud every month. It’s a differentiating service from Cisco for partners, and allows partners who get to know dCloud – a competitive edge for themselves as well. Partners can proxy share dCloud demonstrations to their end customers in many cases.

    I’m excited about the future of dCloud, as much as I was when I first experienced it several years ago. Partners are too! #FMDL’s are good. 🙂

  5. As of 9am this morning the current exchange rate is:

    10min demo = 1002 ppt slides

    Dcloud demos are an awesome way to reduce powerpoint slides. The always on demos are so easy and flexible.

    This is a fantastic option for everyone

    • Hi Adam,
      Thats an awesome way to look at it, and yes the always on demos really do make things even easier. Keep an eye out for more always on demos coming soon on the most popular technologies and some new ones too.

    • Adam I am *definitely* going to quote you on Twitter – what a great point!

      • Anything, and anyone, that replaces 72 PowerPoint slides is my hero and a communicator’s dream!

  6. dCloud is a great way to distance ourselves from DBPP (Death by PowerPoint) and simply gain another edge. Not sure what I would do without dCloud!

    • Hi Rolando, great to hear that you are using dCloud more than Powerpoint, keep up the good work.

  7. Death by powerpoint is a common ailment. So glad dCloud came to the rescue!

    • Thanks Carmen, Just think of all those people that no longer have to sit through those boring presentations.

  8. dCloud is one of my most valuable tools when it comes to demonstrating technology internally or externally to our customers and partners. This is becoming increasingly important as it is imperative to show the value of a solution and dcloud offers that capability. The dCloud team has been key to our success and look forward to working together moving forward!

  9. Excellent article on how to enhance sales engagements with something other than the “dreaded” PowerPoint. While I do think that PowerPoint has its place and is a valuable tool, some technologies you just need to experience first hand instead of seeing it on slides. Thankfully we have a wonderful tool in dCloud that allows us to actually demonstrate products and technologies to our customers and give them a more immersive experience. I have also found that customers stay more engaged during a dCloud demo than they do during a power point presentation. Never underestimate the power of a dCloud Demo.

    • Thanks Steven, I agree Powerpoint still has a place, but as a wise Manager once told me the best Powerpoint presentations are only 1 slide long….