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Cisco provides lesson in e-business success

Bruce Ackland
Despite its recent financial problems, Cisco Systems has been held up as the private sector role model for e-government.

The Society of IT Management's best practice service, Insight, has urged local authorities to transfer Cisco's lessons for e-business success to the public sector in its report, Local e-government: Learning from the Best.

The endorsement of Cisco's recipe for success comes as the firm is implementing a redundancy programme that will see 18% of its workforce wiped out.

Martin Greenwood, Socitm Insight programme manager, is not concerned at Cisco's recent problems and insists that it is the "best in class" of Internet-enabled companies.

"Many high-tech companies have had to make redundancies because of the impact of the economic downturn and this should not distract from Cisco's achievements," said Greenwood. "Indeed, there is strong evidence that its Internet investment has cushioned it from much of the blow that has been felt around the globe."

The Insight report states that Cisco's Internet strategy - in particular its performance management systems - enabled it to identify the current economic problems at a far earlier stage than other companies, allowing the company more time to prepare for its impact.

The decision to hold up Cisco as a private sector role model was heavily influenced by glowing reports in The Economist and The McKinsey Quarterly, as well as a presentation by IT analyst group Gartner that used the company as the focal point of its 2001 European spring symposium keynote speech.

Socitm Insight's report will help local authorities follow government policy requiring them to compare practises with the private sector.

Research analysts Forrester highlighted the benefits of this in a report, claiming that £3.7bn could be saved by increased private/public sector partnership.

The Insight report gave the following as examples of lessons to be learned from Cisco:

  • Development of efficient processes through identifying customer needs


  • Empowerment of employees in the way they carry out work


  • Investment and exploitation of information at every opportunity


  • Using the Internet as the only way of conducting business


  • Embracing of e-learning among employees through developing and sharing knowledge

  • Managing ICT infrastructure as a major asset and enforcing ICT standards across the organisation


  • Review of the whole way that ICT is managed throughout the organisation

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