Bridging technology and business value: The importance of a customer-centric approach

To thrive in the digital era, businesses must not only invest in transforming their infrastructures – they must also constantly look at ways to optimise, become more agile and extract maximum value.​ Adele Trombetta, Vice President of Customer Experience at Cisco Middle East and Africa and Technology Transformation Group for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia, highlights how and why Cisco positions its customers at the centre of its overall strategy, and how the company can act as a strategic partner to organisations looking to advance their digitisation investments.

What part does customer experience play in Cisco’s overall strategy?

We always position our customers at the centre of everything we do – we’re really customer-centric. We take care of translating technology into business value, helping customers get maximum business return on their technology investment.

When a customer purchases a solution, they don’t just buy a form of technology, they buy the promise of what that technology can do for them and what it can help their business achieve.  

We act as a bridge between technology and business value and merge the technical expertise with business acumen. We start by understanding the customer’s agenda and how we can influence and support them in accelerating their business growth.

Customers are often at different levels in their digital journey and need customised help based on where they are. This is exactly what we do.

Cisco places high importance on Customer Experience, because at the end of the day, every organisation needs service which extends beyond the point-of-sale. We take care of our customers’ needs post-sale, at every stage of the lifecycle: from implementation to usage, adoption, optimisation and renewal.

We make sure we deliver on that promise. Whether you’re focused on optimising your current investments, or making the most daring transformations, Cisco Customer Experience helps you get more value from technology, faster. 

We proactively evaluate and anticipate an organisation’s needs, creating a customised roadmap to aid their personal digitisation agenda. This is crucial – because we cannot apply a one-size-fits-all approach to tech investments. Every decisionmaker wants to know what’s in it for them, where the ROI and opportunities truly lay.

Why is offering this type of service important? What are the challenges you see businesses facing and how does Cisco CX see an advisory role as being crucial in this regard? 

In today’s environment, there are no more certainties. Digital Transformation is disrupting every sector, with technologies such as 5G, AI, cloud, Machine Learning and IoT creating hyper-aware and connected environments. They’re really impacting and disrupting every sector.

Combined with the effect of the pandemic in the IT sector, customers are experiencing huge pressures. What can be delivered digitally, must be delivered digitally.

Even the most conservative customers now have Digital Transformation top of mind. We see projects that would have taken years delivered in months – even weeks.

But we find that even if the CIO has a good vision for their Digital Transformation and business evolution, they’re still struggling to translate this into an actionable strategy.

They need support and collaboration from a strategic partner that helps them seize the opportunity and maximise their value. They know where they need to go and why, but they need the right partner to help them build the “what” and the “how”. For CIOs, Customer Experience is no longer a debate. A recent IDC survey showed that Customer Experience has topped the list of priorities for IT buyers. Even more, the gap between CX and the next priority on the list is vast!  

To thrive in the digital era, businesses must not only invest in transforming their infrastructures – they must also constantly look at ways to optimise, become more agile and extract maximum value.​

The past year has been incredibly transformational for the technology sector. CIOs needed to reimagine their applications, empower their teams to work remotely, transform their infrastructure and secure their enterprise’s vital assets. 

Advisory is crucial because having the right partner can help you get the best out of your technology investments now just now, but also in the future.  

Buyers don’t want a transactional relationship with their IT vendors, they want a strategic collaboration – a partnership. That’s exactly what we deliver.

Cisco Customer Experience gives customers visibility and peace-of-mind throughout each stage of their Digital Transformation journey. The Cisco team proactively anticipates needs and leverages expertise and insights to offer tailored solutions which maximise on investments made.

How can technology be utilised to reduce risk and provide more impactful business outcomes?

Nowadays, CIOs have to navigate complex projects, a hybrid workplace with highly distributed teams and multi-vendor IT infrastructures.

The best way to support CIOs is to provide data – not a ton of data all coming from different sources, but AI-powered insights that give complete visibility of their environment and offer actionable insights. The most powerful tool at their disposal is simply the power of data.

This year we launched our CX Cloud platform in the EMEAR region – Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia, which provides a truly customised experience for customers.

It provides detailed insights and recommendations on how they can improve certain areas such as security. I am happy to tell you from firsthand experience that the response from customers and our partners has been really positive.

In one single place, they can access full visibility of their environment. This is is a game changer for our customers.

Businesses need to combine AI-driven analytics, with contextual learning and actionable telemetry to drive business outcomes. It’s not just about amassing lots of data and keeping it secure – the question is what you do with it. Data should be put to good use.

Often, decisionmakers are unable to completely overhaul their IT infrastructures. How does Cisco, and Cisco CX in particular, work towards adapting and transforming technology, so that it performs well over time and lives up to its full potential?  

To make the most out of their technology investments, businesses need to ensure adoption and utilisation of their technology at every stage of the life cycle.  

This starts with the development of a strategic roadmap for your technology. At Cisco CX, we work closely with our customers to define the right technology solution for each customer’s unique business outcomes.  

Then, we focus on creating a skills and knowledge exchange to empower the customer’s IT team with the right tools. We work through a detailed, step-by-step implementation and adoption process to help you meet your business goals.  

And importantly, once the technology is implemented, we’ll continue to provide insights and ideas, either directly or through our tools and telemetry to enable continuous optimisation and innovation. 

Having this end-to-end approach is key in getting the most out of your technology investment.  

What advice would you give to businesses looking to advance their digitisation investments, but are potentially overwhelmed as to where to begin?

Overwhelmed is the exact word to use. We are under no illusion – we know it can be daunting. But you’re not in this alone. Come and talk to us.

In our 35 years of experience, we have seen the industry go through various transformations and we’ve been there to guide our customers every step of the way.

Our customer success is our success, and we can share the value of our skills, expertise and best practice and make that available for each and every customer’s specific needs.

We have the end-to-end knowledge and expertise to help you determine what success looks like and how we can get you there in a timely and measured manner.

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