The European version of the Cisco Live user conference kicked off in Berlin, Germany, this week. The timing of the event is interesting, as it's about a month after the World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Davos, Switzerland. At first glance, one might think that a networking event like Cisco Live would have nothing in common with a conference comprised of world leaders and Fortune 500 CEOs. However, one topic of discussion that was a major theme at both WEF and Cisco Live Europe was digital transformation.
The evolution to a digital organization is a top priority for IT and business leaders today, as digitization is reshaping the business landscape at an unprecedented rate. Historically, the disruption of established businesses used to take decades, but today natively digital organizations such as Tesla, Amazon, and Google have disrupted their respective markets in as little as 5 to 10 years. The more digital an organization is, the more likely it is to gain a competitive advantage and pull away from its peers.
However, despite the urgency around digital transformation, many organizations have been slow to make the shift because of uncertainty as to how to start. To help customers head down the digital path, Cisco launched a number of digital solutions at the event.
One of the digital solutions is something Cisco is calling “Customer Experience Digital Capability.” The portfolio aims to improve the way businesses interact with their customers and improve satisfaction loyalty. The Customer Experience portfolio is comprised of the three offerings.
The virtual expertise offering gives businesses the capability to connect customers with virtual experts. By using this technology, customers can talk to a remote expert immediately instead of having to wait in line or schedule a meeting with a live person at a later date. For example, I recently visited my bank, a local branch of a large nationwide bank, to ask about investment options. I was told that the person who handles those products visits the branch on Tuesdays from 2 to 4 pm. I was traveling that day, so I was unable to meet with her at the time. If the branch had a Virtual Expertise system, I could have had a face-to-face conversation with a remote specialist, and perhaps the bank would have gotten more business from me that afternoon. Similar experiences can be created in a wide variety of verticals, including retail and healthcare.
For the business, it allows experts to be centralized and used more efficiently, extending their skills to any location. Juxtapose this with having experts drive or fly to different locations to work with customers, and it's clear that the cost implications are significant.
Key components of the Virtual Expertise offer are: Remote Expert Mobile, Remote Expert Branch, Cisco Unified Call Manager, Cisco Unified Contact Center, Cisco UCS Server, and Cisco Advanced Services.
This offering enables organizations to differentiate their offerings through mobile technology and location-based services. A retailer can analyze shopping patterns and personalize services, such as pushing mobile coupons or suggestive selling. A hotel chain can use the technology to recognize a high-value guest and offer discounts to the golf course, restaurants, or spas. Airports can send messages to people to help make the travelling experience better. Mobile Experience uses digital technology to push relevant information to customers at the right time and give businesses new insights based on location and other factors.
Key components of the Mobile Experience business offer are: Connected Mobile Experience, Enterprise Mobility Service Platform, Access Points, Wireless Controller, Cisco ONE for Access – Advanced Mobility Services, Prime Infrastructure, and Cisco Advanced Services.
Branch locations are a complicated mess of IT and building assets, and have put pressure on organizations to consolidate infrastructure. Digital innovation is making the complexity problem worse, as most customers use mobile devices to go online, look up information. and make purchases in person. All of the building blocks of digitization, such as mobility, video, cloud computing and IoT, are network-centric. This is putting a strain on the network to deliver a high-quality, consistent, multi-channel experience that provides customers with differentiated services.
Cisco's Intelligent Branch helps simplify the branch by consolidating network services, such as routing, switching, security, compute, storage, and application services into a single platform with a pay-as-you-grow model. The consolidated platform enables organizations to standardize on-branch technology to create a consistent experience. Intelligent Branch also helps reduce risk and meet compliance challenges. Lastly, applications can be integrated into Intelligent Branch without disrupting customer-facing resources or branch staff. The solution provides organizations with everything required to create rich and secure experiences quickly across a wide range of applications.
Key components of this business offer are: Cisco 4000 Series Routers, Catalyst 3850 Switches, Virtual Wireless Controller, UCS E-Servers, ISR 4451 Security Bundle, Cisco ONE for WAN – Foundation for WAN & WAN Collaboration, and Cisco Technical Support Services.
Given how fast things change in the digital era, there needs to be some urgency around making this shift. Cisco's Customer Experience portfolio is a horizontal solution that is applicable across a wide variety of verticals. The validated and integrated nature of Customer Experience helps organizations deploy digital solutions today without the associated risk of trying to cobble together solutions from a myriad of piece parts.