The Cisco secret | March 6, 2009 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

- March 6, 2009

The Cisco secret

Company exec explains how networking software and sites can increase revenue

by Angela Hey

How did Cisco add $240 million to its bottom line over the last two years?

Last week, Sameer Khera, senior director of IT, told the Bay Area IT/Software Development Execs Meetup Group about Cisco's initiatives in collaboration and communication. Three essential technologies have helped Cisco become more productive: video, wikis and social networking.

Cisco acquired WebEx in May 2007, which enables video conferencing, webinars and webcasts for both individuals and organizations. For more lifelike video, Cisco's TelePresence systems show remote groups on large screens as if they were sitting round the same table. An executive can have a personal TelePresence screen in the office to communicate with people from afar.

Video has helped Cisco reduce travel costs by $61 million. Video demos also help close sales. Even the smallest businesses can use a video camera to put a demo on Google's YouTube, or collaborate using Google Video.

Ciscopedia is Cisco's internal version of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia which now has over 2.7 million articles. Ciscopedia helps employees collaborate and connect. Employees have their own pages, like in Facebook, to promote their expertise.

At the Meetup, Lisa Burns chimed in from the audience, suggesting Jive's Clearspace as a collaborative platform for businesses that want to combine wikis and social networking. When sales forces can collaborate they can accelerate the sales cycle.

Check out some Wikis. Find artwork on Wikimedia, look up words in Wiktionary or learn at Wikiversity. Webmasters, consider using wiki technology so you aren't the only person updating Web pages. You can download Wiki software such as MediaWiki, PMWiki or MoinMoin. If you are not technical and want to set up collaboration for a small business, then Google Apps is an option ( Google Sites (not Google Page Creator) is an easy way for a small group to make a Web site.

According to Khera, Cisco CIO Rebecca Jacoby likens the company's IT initiatives to "Facebook for the Enterprise." If you aren't on Facebook, it's time to give it a try. Create a page that promotes your business on Facebook.

Last year, Jason Alba spoke at Fenwick and West about his book "I'm on Facebook — Now What???" Before the talk, I used Facebook to keep in touch with my nieces. During the talk, I learned how people used Facebook to follow industry trends, test ideas and make business connections. After the talk, I widened my list of Facebook contacts.

Then again, do you really need Facebook if you use Mountain View's LinkedIn? LinkedIn, with over 36 million members, is still my preferred choice for asking business questions, finding jobs and getting referrals. Facebook, meanwhile, is about marketing yourself and sharing your ideas. If you don't have a board of directors, you can be accountable to your Facebook friends.

The Bay Area IT/Software Development Execs Meetup Group is an IT networking group, led by former PricewaterhouseCoopers consultant Tatyana Kanzaveli. This informal group of IT managers, consultants and software entrepreneurs meets in the Samovar Conference Hall on Independence Avenue. (An industrial area venue, Samovar is a refreshing alternative space for business or social meetings, providing homemade Russian food ( and wine, as well as audio-visual equipment.)

The IT Execs next meeting is March 19, and focuses on Microblogging for Enterprises. You can follow the group on the microblogging site Twitter at cioitexec. Follow me on Twitter at amhey.

Angela Hey can be reached at


Posted by Tatyana, a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2009 at 10:31 pm

For those who are interested: the video recording of CISCO talk is now available at Web Link .

And the next meetup event is coming up on 4/7 - "Face to Face with Esther Dyson" .

Thanks Angela for a nice write-up!

Best regards,
Web Link

Posted by Deb McClanahan, a resident of another community
on Apr 7, 2009 at 10:04 am

Interesting detail on how social media is penetrating the enterprise and making a bottom line difference. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Cynthia, a resident of Whisman Station
on Apr 7, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Now, Cisco needs to be persuaded to be a better corporate citizen. Their WebEx facility on Ferguson Rd. betw. Central Xway & Middlefield is a blight on the neighborhood and Cisco has publicly stated their opposition to improving that area.

The WebEx building sits -- practically uninhabited -- in the middle of a huge concrete parking lot that is always empty. There are also large, ugly transmitters up in the lot. They have made no effort to improve the site's physical appearance. There's a lot that this neighborhood needs and another ugly office building is not one of them.

Encourage Cisco to clean up its WebEx property.

Posted by Smart Growther, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 8, 2009 at 7:42 am

Are you kidding. Clean up the site? Looks no worse that the rest of the blighted area scheduled for housing. Cisco maintains they want to stay but they must see the writing on the wall. Move out and put the housing in that everyone needs and will pay top dollar.

Posted by HSR outdated, a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 8, 2009 at 11:45 am

And what was the point of having high speed rail again? If Cisco leads the future, why do business via train?