Cisco Chooses India as site of its globalization center and names Wim Elfrink Chief Globalization Officer
Dec 07, 2006
While In India today, John Chambers announced the next stage of Cisco's globalization strategy with the selection of India as the site for its globalization effort and the appointment of Wim Elfrink to Chief Globalization Officer. News@Cisco sat down with Wim to discuss the news, his new role and what this means to Cisco's global efforts.
Wim, what is the charter of the Cisco Globalization Center East?
Elfrink: The Cisco Globalization Center will enable Cisco to locate a significant presence in Asia- a region in which there is high growth potential. All of the company's primary business functions, including sales, business development, IBSG, finance, HR, marketing, engineering and customer support will all be represented in India, as well as in the US.
We believe that India, with its educated workforce, market opportunities, rich history and culture, is a great location from which to implement our globalization strategy. As a result of the Cisco Globalization Center East, we will be able to best serve our customers by creating new ways to deliver information, products and services.
Why were you selected as the Chief Globalization Officer and what will your responsibilities be?
Elfrink: One of the reasons is that Cisco's Customer Advocacy (CA) group, which I've been overseeing for four years, is one of Cisco's most globalized organizations -our "follow the sun" model of support in CA is considered a great innovation in customer support. As the leader of CA, I have also led the business transformation that has occurred in the group. For these reasons, I am very excited to take on Cisco's overall globalization effort.
As Chief Globalization Officer, I will be responsible for executing the growth strategy for Cisco globally, including collaborating with Cisco's worldwide functional leaders to innovatively globalize and scale all functions by leveraging our work in India as a platform. I also have been asked to develop disruptive business models for Cisco to create new go-to-market channels, markets, processes and technologies.
Additionally, I will oversee the implementation of Cisco's $1.1billion investment in India and lead the organization in India through sustainable growth in terms of headcount. I will be focused on developing and strengthening existing partnerships with Indian IT partners for global leverage.
Last but not least, I will continue to oversee the CA organization within Cisco, and my strong CA management team based in the U.S. will continue to report to me while I'm in India.
So is Cisco relocating its Customer Advocacy group to India?
Elfrink: While the function of oversight of Cisco's global CA organization will move with me when I relocate to Bangalore at the beginning of the calendar year, there will be very little, if any, movement of existing CA personnel to India.
We view this globalization strategy as an incremental opportunity - one in which we locate a significant presence in a country and theater where there is high growth in demand for our solutions. The CA organization is one of the most globalized organizations at Cisco and will be a model for how other organizations within Cisco can become fully globalized. CA's "follow the sun" model of support is considered a great innovation in customer support.
Does this announcement mean that Cisco moving its operations to India?
Elfrink: Globalization is not about India exclusively. As a multi-national corporation that today operates in over 120 countries, Cisco's globalization strategy represents an evolution in traditional business models by delivering an enhanced customer and partner experience 24 hours a day. Globalization is about the potential to transform industries on a global scale.
We have invested, and will continue to invest, wherever we see opportunity. We will continue to place resources close to the customer and where we find world-class talent.
Does this represent a second headquarters for Cisco?
Elfrink: No. This is more akin to the major headquarters-like capability centers we maintain outside San Jose in the U.K., Hong Kong and the Research Triangle Park area in Raleigh, NC.
We believe this move plays on Cisco's strengths at taking early advantage of inflection points in technology and in the industry. Our globalization effort is about decentralizing and capitalizing on an inflection point in business models.
Why was India chosen as the location for the Cisco Globalization Center?
Elfrink: India was chosen for a number of reasons. First, it has innovative customers and skilled partners that have global capabilities. India has a culture that is also known for its strong understanding of the concept of partnership. And, India's government is focused on economic development across all levels of society.
We believe that India, with its educated workforce, market opportunities, supportive culture, is a great location from which to implement our globalization strategy.