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Some Solutions Pages

I thought I’d point out some new page designs on that should make it easier to find and understand information about solutions from Cisco. First, there’s the new main Solutions page, which is a one-stop starting point:


(Note that we’re trying out different versions of this page, so the version you see may differ slightly.)

You’ll also start to see some rich pages with extensive details on specific solutions, tying together products, services and more. A great example of this is the Cisco Unified Access solution page:


(We’ve blurred some of the content at the bottom, because it’s just available to Partners and select others. But it shows how a good design can support specific personalized and entitled views. We’ve been following this entitled approach regularly in product and solution areas, because it means we can offer extra information to specific audiences, without going the old fashioned route of building and maintaining separate microsites.)

Nice work by our design, publishing, and content teams!

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7 Simple Best Practices for Digital A/B Tests

You might know that many companies run “tests” in their web and mobile experiences, where they’ll pit one design, layout, or content set against another. It’s a way to see quickly which one works best.  For instance, you might have one page with a slick graphic at the top, vs another one with text and a form at the top, to see which one gets the best interaction and form completion. At Cisco, we’ve been doing this at a component level for a while, and have begun to do these kinds of test with whole pages on These tests help us understand which of two experiences is the easiest and most straightforward to use, and then we can apply that knowledge to our page designs in general.

But, it’s easy to over-complicate testing, which can lead sometimes to results that are hard to interpret or that generate too much data that can’t be readily analyzed.  So, I asked our team on the Digital Support Experience to give us their best practices for how to plan page vs page tests the right way. Here are some great tips from the teams:

  1. Identify your success metrics (“Overall Evaluation Criteria,” see below) at the beginning of your planning, so you can make clear the #1 thing your are optimizing for.
  2. Establish Baseline performance for the KPIs/success metrics before you start the test. (understand where you’re starting from — how were things performing before the test?)
  3. Before the experiment starts, state what will happen if the test a) succeeds, b) is inconclusive, c) fails.
  4. Don’t do two new competing designs for A and B. A better model is to use the current design as “A” and a new design as “B” so you have a good control group.
  5. Limit the number of variables that differ between the two versions.
  6. Let the experiment run long enough to get a volume of data on the key items that will yield statistical confidence in the result.
  7. Validate setup with an “A/A” test. The purpose of this is to check that your “system” for branching the users isn’t itself adding in a bias. (If you do a split of incoming users and you are directing them to pages that are exactly the same and you don’t get equal results, then your A/B branching system is adding bias itself.)

Overall Evaluation Criteria

“Overall Evaluation Criterion (OEC) forces you to ask the question: “what are you optimizing for?”

To do it right, only one OEC (think KPI) should be specified for your test. The reason for just one criterion is that multiple criteria can lead to muddy results. Version A improved KPI #1 but version B improved KPI #2 so which one was better? Therefore, it’s crucial to to specify one and only one KPI and optimize for that.

And, an Ultra-Tip

Perhaps the top tip of all is to improve your designs, content, and journeys based on the tests that you run. And, if you don’t understand why a particular experience is performing in a certain way, it’s probably time to supplement your A/B testing with some observational usability tests, so you can watch users interact with (and comment on) the experience they’re having. Test similar experiences on other sites, too, and you’ll a fuller picture.

What Do You Think?

Have you been running A/B and other kinds of tests on your digital experiences? What tips would you offer to your colleagues?

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Which Business Wireless Product is Right For You?

There’s a simple new Wireless Products Selector on that we hope will make it quicker to choose the right wireless product for you. It’s right at the top of our Wireless products page:


This leads to a very simple, intuitive tool that guides you to choosing the right wireless access point or wireless LAN controller:


Feel free to take it for a spin!



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A Broad Partner Ecosystem is Pivotal To Delivering the Total Customer Experience

Many highly successful companies have a common characteristic- their customer care strategy is supportive of, and in alignment with, their corporate brand strategy, often driving to provide a consistent customer care experience, irrespective of the channel used for customer engagement.

Customers’ expectations and demands are growing and changing rapidly. Customers today are different from yesterday. They want to be helped quickly, efficiently, and on their terms. Businesses must learn to successfully deliver against these customer expectations.

Cisco’s broad partner ecosystem plays a pivotal role in helping businesses achieve these desired outcomes. This includes delighting their customers, and winning (and keeping) new business. Cisco collaborates every day with hundreds of established partners who have a wealth of experience and expertise in the customer care industry and our solutions. As trusted advisors, Cisco’s channel partners are positioned to deliver unique value-add services.

Along with our partners, Cisco makes tremendous investments in our partner ecosystem and our shared momentum continues to build. We recently hosted Cisco Customer Collaboration Sales Summits in the Americas and in Europe, bringing together over a thousand partners, developers, and Cisco sales experts to learn and share best practices. Read More »

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The Foundation for a Business Relevant Network

With the growing influx of new mobile devices, connected things, bandwidth intensive applications and more data, the network is more relevant to business success than ever before.  Back in June of 2012, Cisco saw that we needed to move away from multiple network systems loosely linked together to an agile and simple infrastructure, streamlined policy and centralized management would be needed to support new business demands. We called it Cisco Unified Access and we aligned the solution to three pillars: One Network, One Policy and One Management.

For the last few years, we have focused on delivering new products and functionality under this Unified Access model. Below is a timeline of products released as part of the Unified Access framework. Cisco lead the way in delivering gigabit 802.11ac Wi-Fi., converged wireless control in access switches and through the acquisition of Meraki – a complete cloud-managed network solution.


The timeline above doesn’t represent every feature and function we have delivered, but it shows Cisco’s commitment to this Unified Access model, both from a cloud-managed and on-premise solution perspective.

Today, Cisco is announcing a number of new products and new functionality to existing products that will help mobilize the workforce, secure the business and increase IT agility. The announcement includes the following: Read More »

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