16k employees: from 1 campus to 109 towns – Latest News


Cisco had 16,000 employees working out of its 25-acre sprawling campus in Bengaluru just before the lockdowns started. Today, they work out of some 109 towns, from J&K to Kanyakumari.

These dramatic changes in work, workers and workspaces was the subject of our discussion on Times Techies webinar last week with Sudhir Nayar, MD for commercial sales at Cisco India & Saarc. Nayar noted that the pandemic has brought huge changes to our intention to use technology. Every kind of work, he said, is using more technology now. Firefighters have been seen traditionally as well-built people ready to take risks. Future firefighters, Nayar said, may be sitting behind technologies that control drones that would shoot the water or chemicals needed to extinguish the fire.

Nayar said workspaces are turning hybrid. “I’m speaking to you from my home office. My daughter is learning from someone sitting in Mysuru,” he said. Workspaces, he said, would have to be reimagined. “In a recent management team meeting, I put pictures of employees working on their sofas, in the garden and listening to music. And I told my leadership, how can I replicate all this in an office when they get back to it. They are very productive in their current spaces and we must provide those spaces,” he said.

Over the past few years, Cisco has closed numerous offices globally, and given better tools and technologies to employees so that they can collaborate remotely. “There is a shift from huge amounts of money poured into real estate. This will have a positive impact on our economy, for the environment, for women who find it challenging to go to an office. If people work out of small towns, imagine what it would mean for those local economies,” he said.

Another big change, he said, has been in what digitisation is being used for. Earlier, its focus was to enhance customer and employee experiences. In the last five months, he said, it is increasingly being used for better decision-making. “That’s what you can do once your data strategy is right,” he said.

Cloud and cyber security, Nayar said, are the two big technologies today. Cloud makes remote work easier, and provides the capacity to provide meaningful experiences and insights. Most customers, he said, are going on hybrid cloud platforms. That increases vulnerabilities, and so cyber security becomes crucial. “There aren’t enough trained people for hybrid. How do you balance (the different clouds) to get the best RoI and scale. Someone has to take those decisions and manage it,” he said.





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