Interview News

Inclusivity is at the Heart of Webex

Minhaj Zia, Director for Collaboration Sales, Cisco India & SAARC
“Transforming the Hybrid Workspace must bring together networking, security, and collaboration tools to enhance health and well-being, safety, and efficiencies.”

What is the opportunity of collaboration post-pandemic?

The global pandemic has changed how we work and embedded collaboration technologies into our society’s fabric – from telehealth visits, remote learning to virtual legislatures. Today, collaboration technology plays a critical role in ensuring everyone has equal access to the global economy regardless of geography, language, or personality type.  According to Gartner, by 2024, in-person meetings will account for just 25% of enterprise meetings, a drop from 60% prior to the pandemic. In this increasingly hybrid world, virtual collaboration is no longer viewed as just a communication tool; it is becoming the connective tissue within an organization’s culture.

As businesses come to grips with the realities of a hybrid workforce, CIOs are focused on collaboration solutions that empower sustainable remote work, hybrid work, and a safe return to the office – all this by adhering to local rules and regulations and keeping employees and data safe and secure. Therefore, to cater to the evolving needs of the hybrid world, the demand for secure collaboration platforms that provide end-to-end data security from device to device, in transit, at rest, and when it’s stored will continue to grow.

What is the opportunity for Cisco Webex?

At Cisco, we are committed to using technology to empower a workforce and transform workspaces. With continued innovation, and a comprehensive technology portfolio, Cisco can help any organization provide simple, smart, and secure hybrid work experiences – from the office to the home and everywhere in between. Therefore, we foresee a massive opportunity for Webex in this digital-first world, as collaboration without compromise is key, especially as these platforms continue to facilitate critical functions like governance, citizen services, banking, and more.

India has consistently recorded the second highest usage of Webex globally since March last year. In 2021, from January to August, we have already seen a 25% increase in usage. This rise is driven not only by enterprises but by sectors like small businesses, governance, healthcare, education, etc. Therefore, we are confident that Webex is one of the few platforms with the global reach to drive transformation at scale – benefiting from its networking heritage and as part of the world’s largest enterprise security company. It can enable a shift away from the reliance on in-person interactions and geography-based hiring, opening the global economy and giving everyone a seat at the table—no matter where the table is.

What are the innovations Cisco Webex has adapting to the new situation?

At Cisco, we think about powering hybrid work in two distinct ways: enabling a Hybrid Workforce and transforming Hybrid Workspaces. Enabling a Hybrid Workforce means providing secure access and collaboration from anywhere, anytime. Transforming the Hybrid Workspace must bring together networking, security, and collaboration tools to enhance health and well-being, safety, and efficiencies.

Apart from enhancing collaboration capabilities, Webex has been updated with over 800 new features and a selection of new devices to give users an uninterrupted, immersive, and intelligent experience whether they’re at home, at work, or on the go. In today’s hybrid world, organizations need flexible and inclusive solutions that have security build into them from the foundation. Our Webex portfolio is at the center of our customers’ strategies for securely empowering teams and increasing productivity.

The all-new Webex Suite is the industry’s first suite for hybrid work to combine meetings, calling, messaging, polling, and events in one offering and allows the employee to access our full suite of Webex tools to connect, communicate, and co-create with co-workers, customers, and partners. Our capabilities for virtual event execution can support up to 100,000 participants, coupled with the industry’s first audience engagement solution that can make meetings more engaging in the form of polling, quizzes, etc. Moreover, we have the unique opportunity to embed inclusion into our collaboration platform, marked by well-being and ensuring every voice is heard and valued. Therefore, our new People Insights feature aligns with the goals people set personally for their meetings, work-life integration, connections, and focus time, helping people work smarter and combat burnout. Most importantly, eliminating language barriers is a key step to enabling a truly global, hybrid workforce. Through our real-time translation feature, Webex customers can preview translations from Hindi into 100+ languages.

These innovations will help us ensure that we are powering a hybrid world with inclusivity at its core, leading to work experiences that are inspiring to employees and that help attract top talent

How is inclusivity at the heart of Webex?

Our innovations represent our commitment to helping our customers and partners achieve their highest potential as they move from the old remote work world to the new hybrid work world. Inclusivity is at the heart of Webex, and this value system is embodied in our brand.

A Cisco study estimates that 98% of future meetings will have at least one participant working remotely. Through these innovations, we want to ensure everyone in a hybrid workforce has equal opportunity and voice to thrive and be successful, and all these feature differentiations are based on this vision. We firmly believe opportunity is unevenly distributed throughout the world, but human potential is not. Therefore, if we do this right, we can level the playing field – creating opportunities regardless of geographic borders, socio-economic background, or language.

How is Hybrid working simplified with Cisco Webex?

Through a combination of hardware and software, we create tools that connect people, teams, ideas, and workflows with a single click, gesture, or simply our voice. Most importantly, to be successful in the era of hybrid work, organizations need to make sure their solutions are flexible, inclusive, supportive, secure, and easily managed on the backend by IT, and the all-new Webex is all about simplicity.

Webex delivers secure, inclusive experiences that enable people to collaborate seamlessly no matter how, when, or where they work. It empowers users to maximize their most precious resource – time. We are continually re-investing in our platform to align with changing customer needs to empower remote workers, enable a safe return to office, and make their Webex experience 10x better than in-person interactions.

Please share updated Cisco Webex India and Global numbers

Globally, nearly 600 million quarterly average participants are able to stay connected and productive with Webex.  The Cisco Webex Calling portfolio has hit a record 8 billion monthly calls, and we are looking at expanding the offering into more countries. The number of cloud calling customers hosted by Webex and Cisco’s partner ecosystem adds up to more than 39 million cloud calling users globally.

In 2021 to date, on average, we’ve had over 10 million meetings and almost 70 million participants per month in India.

Cisco Webex India Strategy for FY22

As we march towards a digital-first world, we believe that the Cisco of today is at the center of our customers’ digital transformation – more agile and innovative than ever before. There is no doubt that the future of work will be hybrid. It’s more critical than ever before for organizations to implement solutions that help create a safe space for people to be their best selves and offer intelligence that allows employees to make informed decisions about how they spend their time.

Our vision with Webex is to empower digital workers on the planet to participate equally in a global economy, regardless of their geography or language preference or personality type, or tech proficiency level. This is a huge undertaking that will profoundly impact our lives, our communities, and our organizations, but we understand the only way to truly transform how organizations across the world work is to lead by example. Therefore have officially announced a Hybrid Work Model for all our 75,000 employees globally. Through our collaboration technology, we have developed end-to-end capabilities to power productive, engaging, and secure hybrid work. As a company we believe, the time to act on this vision of powering an equitable future is now, and we have the technology, and more importantly, the intent to make a real difference.

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