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Web 2.0 @ Cisco: The Evolution

Chapter Description

This chapter offers a case study of Web 2.0 adoption at Cisco, detailing the evolutionary changes the introduction of Web 2.0 technology and tools is having on the company.

Cisco 3.0

Cisco is evolving into the next generation company—Cisco 3.0, re-inventing itself around Web 2.0 and then taking the lessons learned to its customers. The company is evolving organizationally to distribute decision-making, innovate faster, bring products to market sooner, and capitalize on market transitions, such as ubiquitous video and visual networking. Cisco’s Linksys Wireless Home products, for example, enable consumers to easily manage music, photos, and video content stored in home devices and across the network.

Cisco is using Web 2.0 technologies such as Cisco TelePresence, Cisco WebEx, and Unified Communications to enable collaboration between employees, partners, and customers, yielding increased productivity and deeper relationships. Cisco’s Q3 Company Meeting in February 2009 was held virtually over live video on Cisco TV, Cisco’s internal video channel, from its campus in Bangalore, India, with employees around the globe watching on IPTV or taking part via TelePresence. CEO John Chambers uses TelePresence to meet with a dozen customers in Russia; meetings and travel that would have taken 96 hours now take 8 hours, enabling Chambers to meet with twice as many customers and cut his travel schedule in half.

TelePresence is greener, faster, and cheaper than air travel and enables employees, family and friends to connect in new ways. In the future, consumers will leverage the visual networking capability of TelePresence, part of the media-enabled connected home, to interact with friends and family members across the country or around the globe—talking, sharing special events, or even watching sporting events together.[54] According to popular cartoonist, Scott Adams, even Dilbert uses TelePresence.[55]

Other Web 2.0 technologies, such as blogs and wikis, and new business models, such as social networking, folksonomies, and even virtual realities, are enabling the company to increase peer-to-peer collaboration and ideation, and to transform key business processes. The capability to connect people, information, and communities is leading to a more collaborative and connected company, where technologies such as discussion forums, wikis, and WebEx Connect are seeing explosive growth and adoption. Cisco is also leveraging new technologies to interact with its customers with evolutionary new approaches such as “Digital Cribs,” mentioned earlier.

Cisco provides customers with insight into the key business trends, such as collaboration through the http://www.cisco.com/en/US/netsol/ns870/index.html link on its Cisco.com site, a part of its Five Ways to Thrive initiative described in Chapter 11. Cisco has even had a presence in the web-based virtual world, Second Life, since December 2006, offering a way for Cisco to interact with the public and broaden brand awareness in a virtual environment that is creative and fun.[56][57] Although recent news reports tout the end of Second Life, it has afforded Cisco a set valuable learning experiences in this new medium, being leveraged by Cisco in other virtual environments.[58][59] Cisco’s Partner Space, a Cisco-sponsored virtual community for example, is discussed in Chapter 11, which is focused on Cisco’s approach to Sales 2.0.

Cisco’s intranet evolution, depicted in Figure 10-17, is enabling an agile and collaborative workforce. Between 2002 and 2006, the focus was on a Unified Intranet, where employees and information are more and more connected. It began by establishing a consistent user interface, unifying navigation, integrating enterprise news, and streamlining intranet page development. This period enabled a more informed workforce, empowering corporate communications and increasing findability of content and enabling efficiency. Between 2006 and 2008, the focus was on Web 2.0 collaboration tools; the democratization of publishing; the establishment of multiple communication vehicles: blogs, discussion forums, and wikis; enabling communication and collaboration.

Figure 10-17

Figure 10-17 Cisco’s Intranet Evolution.

The current intranet evolution focus, on the Integrated Workforce Experience, began in 2008 and is expected to continue into 2011. With “me” in the center, personalization and customization are key, as are the connected and relational nature of workforce experience components: people, information and communities, their contextual elements, and the importance of device neutrality. Ecosystem partners and customers are being integrated, productivity is being accelerated, and cross-functional/cross-company collaboration is fostered as a key part of resulting business process transformation.

Between 2011 and 2012, Cisco's intranet evolution will focus on New Work. In this phase, employees will be able to find projects and initiatives they wpuld like to work on advertised in a marketplace, swarming to participate in activities with other members of the community. Alignment and relationships will be critical to success as will digital reputation, established by what employees say and do via collaborative technologies and tools. Flexibility and adaptability will also be important elements of the empowered workforce, as communities and teams will self-organize around the work effort.