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Ichiro Nakagawa, President and General Manager, Cisco Systems G.K.

“To Power an Inclusive Future for All.” Some of you may have seen this message at train stations, on public transport, or on TV. This is our Purpose as Cisco. “Inclusive” refers to a state where everyone feels that all are equally accepted and recognized. While we have become familiar with the word diversity, inclusion represents an even more proactive attitude to accept everyone. Enabling a future when everything is connected and where everyone can benefit from technology from anywhere is the purpose that we all share at Cisco.

Turning crisis into opportunity – Digital shift is accelerating in Japan

The COVID-19 pandemic, together with other factors, has driven rapid digital shift globally. Leveraging networks and digital technologies, digital transformation (DX) is accelerating in areas such as telecommuting, remote education, and remote healthcare. In Japan, the social impact caused by slow digital adoption has become apparent as the government, public agencies and society are grappling with the pandemic. The launch of the Digital Agency in September shows that the need to take a nationwide approach to digitization involving local communities has been widely recognized.

We see changes in Japanese companies. For example, the telecommuting rate in Japan rose to 67% after the state of emergency, up from 26% before it was declared. While still behind the US, where more than 80% of companies had already implemented telework before the pandemic, DX is certainly progressing, mainly in the area of work style reform.

People are also reframing the way they work. At Cisco Japan, we quickly shifted to working from home after February 2020, which we are still continuing today. According to a survey of our employees, 56% worked in the office every day before the pandemic. Currently, only 2% want to work in the office “every day.” About 80% said that they would come to the office twice or three times a month when required. I believe that the employees have realized that remote work enables flexible and diverse ways of working while also improving productivity.

We are at a turning point where we should regard this crisis as an opportunity and change our course towards DX. The pandemic is not transient. To create a sustainable society, we need to adjust our values to the era of the new normal. I believe that now is the time to eliminate the gap between people who benefit from digitization and those who are less likely to benefit from it, to create a society where no one is left behind.

Cisco Japan’s key strategy: Supporting DX of Japanese companies and driving the digitization of Japanese society

Cisco Japan’s key strategy is to support DX of Japanese companies and drive digitization of Japanese society, focusing on offering platforms that can quickly respond to changes.

We are in an age when IT could potentially change business itself. In supporting DX for Japanese companies, we will help them transform their business through digitalization in all aspects, including work style reform, factory IoT, the creation of new services and customer experiences, smart cities, and 5G. Cisco offers IT solutions that are essential to DX and that flexibly respond to changes, such as automation, visualizing, and security in end-to-end networks with multi-cloud support. In addition, we will offer consulting services for business transformation across industries and sectors by leveraging our experience and achievements in supporting business development and carrying out leading-edge global projects.

In terms of driving digitization of Japanese society, Cisco is promoting the Country Digitization Acceleration, a strategic investment program to support the digitization of major countries around the world. More than 900 programs are ongoing in 40 countries. In Japan, the program is already contributing to societal digitalization in seven fields: public services, education, remote work, healthcare, logistics, regulatory reform, and 5G. Going forward, we will also strive to help develop smart cities and create a decarbonized society.

Platforms for hybrid work: Webex and Cisco SASE

Following the pandemic, the way we work is changing significantly as telecommuting is spreading and companies are reducing office space. Although people are expected to gradually come back to the office as they get vaccinated, things will never be the same as before. We will likely transition to a hybrid work style in which people choose how and where they work to maximize their productivity. One of the challenges here concerns security. Companies need to ensure the security of employees, regardless of whether they work in the office, from home, at a shared office, or elsewhere. To address this, Cisco will focus on hybrid work style solution and zero-trust security platform.

Playing a key role in a hybrid work style is Webex, a cloud-based application that delivers the optimal collaboration experience. Webex allows users to connect from anywhere and from any device, creating an experience that is better than face-to-face communications. With more than 800 innovations and new functions being added over the last 9 months, Webex has evolved into a tool not only for internal use but for engaging with customers in business.

As for security, we will deploy the Cisco SASE platform. Delivering network solutions for more than 35 years since its establishment, Cisco has unrivaled capabilities on secure networks. Only Cisco can offer a full range of security products from in-house networks to all the places on the Internet including cloud environments. We integrate these with networks and offer as simple cloud services. Another strength is that we offer up-to-date security information through Cisco Talos, a security threat intelligence organization.

Besides IT, fostering business processes and corporate culture to maximize IT is essential to work style reform. Despite the pandemic, Cisco Japan was, following 2018, in 2021 once again named the No.1 Great Place to Work in the large enterprise category. When we started our work style reform in 2001, we tried to create a friendly work environment to improve productivity. Currently, we are creating a workplace to motivate employees and accelerate innovation. One of the iconic initiatives to create a more fulfilling workplace is to share values. Sharing values is a key element of corporate culture. Last year, all employees, while working remotely, participated virtually to create principles that express the desired values in our own words. We created a card with the values on it that all of us carry with at all times.

We all share our purpose, vision, and values, trust in each other to achieve diversity and even higher performance. The fusion of “freedom and discipline” is Cisco’s culture and biggest strength.

To power an Inclusive Future for All

Our Customers’ success is Cisco’s success. The foundation for that is our people and culture. I want to make Cisco Japan a company where everyone is keenly aware of how we are contributing to our customers’ success and see values to work from it.

At the same time, the digital transformation of society is not something that Cisco can attain alone. We will work with our partners as well as companies in other industries and sectors that we have never worked with to lead the age of “from competition to co-creation.”

Cisco Japan is committed to “Power an Inclusive Future for All”.