Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2014

Social Strategy at Cisco Systems

by Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, Daniel Malter and Aaron Smith

Abstract

In April 2013, Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, vice president and general manager for Learning@Cisco Systems, was planning the future of the Cisco Learning Network, an online platform hosted at Cisco.com. Since its launch in 2008, the Cisco Learning Network provided content to prepare networking professionals for certification exams, as well as social functionalities to let users interact with each other. To help realize the company's vision for "The Internet of Everything (IOE)," a world where nearly all physical objects, places, people, and processes were connected through the Internet, Cisco estimated that 75 to 90% of all IT workers needed to be re-skilled. The Cisco Learning Network played an important role in that process, helping to train networking professionals to design, build, and manage more complex networks. Aware of just how much was riding on the success of the learning platform, Beliveau-Dunn needed to decide whether to invest heavily in content—and have Cisco employees post videos, tutorials, and study guides to the site—or invest in more social networking tools to enable the community to produce content and help one another master the material in preparation for new certifications.

Keywords: Networks; Technology Platform; Internet; Competency and Skills; Learning; Web Services Industry;

Citation:

Piskorski, Mikolaj Jan, Daniel Malter, and Aaron Smith. "Social Strategy at Cisco Systems." Harvard Business School Case 714-475, January 2014.