Meet Simon from Cisco Insider Advocates

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Our prospects are the guts and soul of every little thing we do at Cisco and every one among them has an fascinating story to inform! Our Q&A sequence permits us to shine a highlight on a few of our most passionate buyer advocates as we be taught extra about their tales and backgrounds.

Cisco’s advocacy group, Cisco Insider Advocates, brings our prospects collectively and offers a means for them to make highly effective connections, broaden their skilled and private networks, and be taught from high specialists of their subject. One among our objectives with our advocacy group is to deepen {our relationships} with our prospects and right now, we have now one of many friendliest faces locally becoming a member of us for a chat. I’m excited to welcome Simon Watkins from Prosperity 24/7.

Welcome, Simon! Let’s kick issues off by speaking about what you needed to be whenever you had been 16 years previous?

I stay on an Island referred to as Jersey, a spot the place many individuals exterior of the UK are unaware of its existence. At Cisco Stay Las Vegas this previous June, I met so many nice folks and when chatting with them, we’d find yourself discussing dwelling and pursuits. I might introduce myself, saying: “Hello, I’m Simon and I’m from Jersey.” There would usually be a pause, with the frequent reply: “New Jersey, proper? However your accent is all improper!” Google Maps was used many occasions in the course of the convention! So to clear issues up, Jersey is an island situated between northern France and the UK within the English Channel.

The island has a big offshore monetary providers business, so there may be usually an expectation that one might need a profession in that sector sometime. Nonetheless, I used to be by no means drawn to that business. At 16, I actually didn’t know what I’d be doing sooner or later. I loved IT, however didn’t research it at 16 and I drifted in direction of the sciences as a substitute.

I can see how lots of people from throughout the pond can get Jersey combined up! And, that’s fascinating that you just didn’t begin your IT profession early on. Whenever you lastly did get into IT, the place did you begin and what skilled choice or alternative helped lead you to your present function?

After College, the place I obtained a BSc (Honours) diploma in Organic Sciences, I made a decision with my accomplice, Kersten, to go travelling. Our intention was to do this for a 12 months, however we ended up travelling and dealing abroad for nearly three years. We had so many adventures and looking out again we made some superb recollections. However, at the moment in 1995 after we left Jersey, the world was already altering. I bear in mind arriving in New Delhi and having to speak again dwelling both by landline phone or by sending faxes. We additionally truly wrote letters! We didn’t bear in mind seeing on the time Web Cafés, however roll ahead two years and strolling via the identical streets of New Delhi and Kathmandu immediately the “new regular” was Web Cafés, AOL, Yahoo, and search engines like google and yahoo that don’t even exist anymore. Instantly it was time to retire the pen and procure an electronic mail tackle.

After returning to Jersey, it was additionally time to get a job and think about my profession path. I utilized for a junior function at an area IT firm. They will need to have seen one thing in me as I used to be instantly fast-tracked onto their graduate scheme, the place I rotated in numerous departments that included gross sales, advertising, helpdesk, and technical providers.  On the time, there was one chap working in networking and safety who was essentially the most participating particular person. He talked one million miles an hour about topics that sounded fairly fascinating, however I didn’t have a clue about any of it. To make a protracted story quick, networking gave the impression to be one thing “cool” to get into and having an incredible tutor who was tremendous enthusiastic in regards to the topic actually helped me on the journey.

I just lately moved to Prosperity 24/7 with my colleague and pal Robert Taylor, as there was an urge for food throughout the group to take a position and construct a community workforce that might shut the loop when it comes to providers supplied to their shoppers. After I began my function, I used to be very shocked by the welcome publish on the Prosperity 24/7 LinkedIn web page. Test it out, particularly in case you’re a Star Wars fan!

Prosperity 24/7 has simply turn into the latest Cisco Premier Integrator accomplice on Jersey island. Our shoppers have been very welcoming and grateful to have an unbiased, non telco, domestically based mostly workforce who can service their wants. It’s an thrilling time and I’d wish to thank Chris Clark and the administrators at Prosperity24/7 for his or her invaluable assist. They’ve the imaginative and prescient and confidence in our skill to develop a compelling enterprise proposition.

 

That image you painted of how fast the transformation and adoption of IT was throughout your time in India actually helps element the unimaginable pace and innovation within the tech business we see on a regular basis. How has partnering with Cisco helped you in your function?

Cisco is an innovator and market chief in lots of verticals. I really feel aligning myself with an organization like Cisco makes absolute profession sense. Cisco just isn’t afraid to spend money on know-how and purchase different companies with modern services and products. Take a look at a number of the acquisitions over time, reminiscent of Meraki and Umbrella and the way they’ve turn into integral in Cisco’s total product portfolio.

When beginning my profession, I adopted the conventional CCNA/CCNP R&S tracks. CCNP R&S is now CCNP Enterprise and incorporates a number of totally different choices reminiscent of SDAFND and ENTEIT to finish the certification. I additionally respect Cisco’s assist choices. You probably have a problem you could remedy, it’s doubtless that somebody at Cisco or a member inside one of many consumer teams has the reply.

If I used to be to summarize this into three phrases, I feel it might be Innovation, Help, and Development. The most effective bits of recommendation I used to be given was: “Perceive the know-how and browse the docs.” I feel this recommendation nonetheless stands right now!

I’m completely happy you selected three sturdy, optimistic phrases to explain what we do at Cisco. What’s been your largest problem in your organization just lately, and the way did you overcome it?

Lately, I’ve turn into a logistics and provide chain guru! It’s no secret that there are part shortages for a lot of producers, which has led to provide chain points. The place I might notably specify sure units for sure roles, I’m now working with suppliers to see what gear is obtainable within the venture timeframes to efficiently ship a venture.

Having up-to-date data on lead occasions actually helps and I feel the Cisco Meraki workforce is main the way in which with data accessible on their accomplice portal. Finally, we’ve needed to adapt to the brand new world state of affairs, and having data at your fingertips actually helps you set applicable expectations.

Thanks for sharing your insights into coping with provide chain points. Disruptions because of the pandemic have been an enormous problem for the business as an entire. Let’s transfer on to our buyer advocacy group. How would you describe it to these aren’t conversant in it?

Cisco Insider Advocates is a group of people from numerous backgrounds and experiences. Everybody has one thing to carry to the desk and it’s an incredible platform for training and sharing concepts. I don’t normally have time to analysis the newest data, and that is one space the place the Insider platform excels. It has neatly packaged articles that maintain you abreast of what’s taking place within the Cisco world. And now, once I go to a Cisco Stay occasion, I meet folks I do know from the group, or I get to fulfill new faces whereas I’m there.

By the way in which, congratulations on changing into a “Rockstar” this summer season, Simon! What made you wish to be a part of, and the way has being a part of this group impacted you each professionally and personally?

I joined in late 2018. I quickly took benefit of sharing articles I discovered throughout the group via my very own LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, which helped me construct my skilled profile with out having to spend hours creating content material myself. I’m no social media knowledgeable, so having packaged content material I can share is a superb assist!

I used to be additionally invited to assist with the creation of a brief movie sequence. Known as “Faces of the Gateway” the video sequence reaches past the {hardware} and software program use circumstances—revealing the folks and tales behind the know-how. This was an incredible alternative for me, and I used to be actually nervous because it’s one thing I wouldn’t usually do, however I used to be so pleased with the completed video! Right here’s my section. If group members have the possibility to do one thing like this, I might say embrace it. It’s a painless expertise and it’s an incredible alternative to construct your skilled profile.

Lastly, the popularity of reaching the highest tier of this system is superb. I levelled up at Cisco Stay Vegas this 12 months and it was an incredible private achievement for me.

It’s nice to see all of the group initiatives that you just’ve taken half in over time and the worth you’ve gotten from them. We might like to know extra about your expertise at Cisco Stay Vegas. On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best), how would you describe your total expertise this 12 months?

Trying again, the primary facet of the Cisco Stay US convention was the hospitality and the way nicely we had been sorted by the Cisco Insider Advocates workforce – they positively received a 5/5! From a tremendous breakfast on the primary morning the place we received to fulfill different Rockstars and reconnect with the World Advocacy workforce, a few of whom I’d met earlier than at Cisco Stay Barcelona, to having the ability to meet the US workforce. There may be nothing like assembly folks in individual. We shared nice tales and made new recollections that we’ll be laughing about in years to come back!

I’m completely happy for you Simon, it sounds such as you had a memorable expertise at Cisco Stay this 12 months. We’re virtually on the finish of the interview and we’d love to complete with three issues you possibly can’t stay with out?

  1. Household
  2. Well being
  3. Supportive colleagues

Supportive colleagues make all of the distinction! It’s been a pleasure to speak with you Simon, thanks once more for becoming a member of us!

You’re welcome, Rashik!

Learn extra advocate interviews

You would possibly take pleasure in this interview with Jeremy Shupick.  

Be part of us!

For our prospects who’ve already joined our Cisco Insider Advocates group, say  whats up to Simon in case you haven’t met one another but. And for these Cisco prospects who haven’t but joined, think about doing so. You’ll be capable of:

  • Join with friends in a gamified, on-line group
  • Have a chance to fulfill with Cisco’s executives
  • Share your suggestions, questions, and finest practices
  • Get entry to ‘insider’ content material and assets
  • Develop your skilled and private model
  • Amplify your organization’s success story with Cisco know-how

Able to get began?

Head over to the Cisco Insider Advocates Group and say whats up!

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