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Dave West, January 1st, 2021
President and General Manager, Cisco Systems G.K.

May the New Year bring you happiness, peace, and prosperity. Wishing you a joyous 2021!

2020 was a year like no other with the spread of COVID-19, an economic downturn, and postponement of the Olympic Games.

Goodbye 2020, hello 2021!

As we enter a new year, let me start by wishing everyone good health in 2021. Taking care of your mental and physical well-being, as top priority, will allow you to have the greatest impact on those around you – your team, your company, and your friends and family. Try to start with you in your efforts to support others this year.

Given the many difficulties we faced in 2020, it’s only natural that we expect a better 2021 – both societal and economic. I am personally very optimistic about the future. And, with Tokyo 2020 right around the corner, the Cisco Japan team is determined to have a positive impact on Japan’s economy while contributing to its sustainable development goals (SDGs). We firmly believe we can help make a difference.

This year is the year of the Ox. The Ox is a valued animal, vital for agriculture. In the zodiac, the Ox is seen as hardworking, positive, and honest. These are valuable attributes for any person, team, or company.

At Cisco Japan, we too aspire to be hardworking, positive, and honest. It’s a part of our culture. It’s who we are. At the same time, we want to make a difference in the world by having a positive impact on customers, partners, and society. I believe our culture of trust and giving, while harnessing the strengths of our employees, is what makes us one of the most rewarding places to work.

The Fortune World’s Best Workplaces 2020 list is a survey that provides Great Place to Work rankings. According to this survey, Cisco was ranked No. 1 for two consecutive years. Let me try to explain why I believe we were chosen.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to transformation of working styles around the world, with secure work from anywhere becoming the norm. By April 2020, traffic tripled on Webex and the team building the infrastructure had worked around the clock for several months to cope with the volume growth. It was our culture of quality, reliability, and our emphasis on putting the customer first that drove the teams to work so hard. They didn’t want to let our customers and partners down – or their fellow employees.

Cisco Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins and his executive leadership team conducted weekly check-ins with all employees around the globe to provide medical updates, listen and share experiences, and provide positive messages. At the same time, they tackled tough issues like racism, diversity, and mental health. All of these activities resulted in Cisco realizing a new purpose. A purpose that inspires all of us “to power an inclusive future for all”. Here, we are striving “to power an inclusive future for Japan”.

Our purpose is bold and aspirational, but it’s also much needed. This unprecedented crisis has exposed clear divisions in our society. Our purpose reflects a resolution to “contribute with technology from division to integration and to realize a society free from inequality and discrimination.”

An “Inclusive Future” also means “realization of a society where everyone can benefit from technology.” We have therefore declared our support for the new normal and country digitization in Japan as our Cisco Japan strategic priority for FY 2021. Our hope is to contribute to the realization of Japan’s inclusive future.

Let me explain further.

In response to the new normal, and also the frequent occurrence of natural disasters in Japan, telework has rapidly been adopted among many companies and organizations in order to provide business contintuity. At Cisco Japan, we have focus on delivering solutions and helping customers transform their workstyles to prepare for Tokyo2020. Things changed with COVID-19. Worksytle transformation, which meant teleworking at first, now requires a hybrid strategy, as working today means collaborating between work offices, remote offices, and home offices to keep business accelerating, regardless of industry or occupation. The bigger challenge in this new workstyle is to create an environment that leverages technology and drives a more open culture that is inclusive for all. That’s our goal.

The challenge is even more pronounced for the country as whole. The pandemic highlighted the fact that various organizations and government entities in the country are struggling to keep pace with the wave of digitization – culture, leadership, and technology. Cisco is committed to supporting the digitization of Japan and contributing to the realization of sustainable economic growth and a safe and secure society. We know we can’t do it alone and we will be partnering with government, providers, and various ecosystem partners to execute our vision. Our focus is on six areas: Travel Tourism & Transportation (TT & T), Digital Workplaces, Public Safety, Industry 4.0, Digital Schools and 5G Infrastructure.

Finally, to help the world realize an “Inclusive Future For All “, Cisco must be a beacon by providing examples for inclusiveness across its global workforce. I believe we have taken big strides on this journey, though there is still significant work to be done. In this coming Year of the Ox, when dependability and hard work will be more important than ever, we are committed to accelerating this journey by supporting our customers’ new normal response and the digital transformation in Japan. In that way, we believe we will be making a contribution to Japanese society as a whole.