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At Cisco Live APJC, Cisco Rolls Out Services to Support Its Customer Sustainability Efforts

Cisco recently held its annual Asia-Pacific, Japan and China (APJC) version of its Cisco Live event in Melbourne, Australia. At the event, the company announced new customer experience (CX) services to support businesses in their sustainability efforts. The new services signify a deeper integration of environmental solutions into the networking giant’s offerings. For those unfamiliar with the CX organizations, this is Cisco’s services business, comprised of managed, professional, maintenance, and other services.

These CX services are badly needed today. A few years ago, most organizations were thinking about sustainability, but only a few had acted on it. Today, every C-level executive I’ve met with has sustainability in mind as pressure is coming from all stakeholders – customers want to deal with a company that’s trying to make the world a better place, investors are now valuing ESG initiatives and employees want to work at a place that has purpose.

This was confirmed in a discussion with Cisco’s Global Innovation Officer, Guy Diedrich at the recent GITEX Global event. He said, “If you had asked me two years ago how many countries had sustainability initiatives, I would have said zero. Today, it’s all of them.”

Throughout its own sustainability journey, Cisco has shifted towards renewable energy, sourcing 100 percent of its U.S. data center electricity and 72 percent globally from renewable sources . It has also cut costs by cutting materials and real estate – Cisco reduced its data center floor space by 41 percent and saved $1.5 mil. by reusing materials from closed data centers between 2019 and 2021.

Cisco is taking a comprehensive approach that extends beyond its operations. This includes fostering positive interactions with suppliers and supporting customers and communities in adopting eco-friendly practices that help reduce their environmental impact in response to global changes. Below are some company metrics regarding the breadth of Cisco’s approach and their progress:

  • The company plans to reduce its emissions directly produced from the company’s operations (Scope 1) and its emissions generated from purchased or acquired electricity, steam, heating or cooling (Scope 2) by 90% by FY25 – it’s at 48% reduction in FY23.
  • The company has a goal that 100% of new Cisco products and packaging will incorporate Circular Design Principals by FY25. It has achieved27% circular design in FY23.
  • Cisco planned to increase product packaging efficiency by 50% by FY25. Cisco achieved this already and has increased its product packaging efficiency by 65%.
  • The company set a goal of having 80% of its component, manufacturing, and logistics suppliers (by spend) have a public, absolute GHG emission reduction target by FY25. Cisco has worked closely with suppliers and is at 92% in FY23.

The expansion of Cisco CX’s services includes launching its Sustainability Priority Assessment Advisory Service, which became generally available in November. The service is designed to help businesses align their current sustainability practices with their future goals, offering an assessment and a roadmap for sustainability. Also, in November, Cisco’s Energy Optimization Assessment Advisory Service became available in a limited capacity. The service provides businesses with energy measurement and consulting to improve energy efficiency.

This could include things as basic as ensuring power-saving features are turned on in Cisco equipment. Cisco has a feature called EnergyWise which automatically turns off switch ports when not being used. Advanced capabilities could include data center design, office layouts, and equipment modernization.

Furthermore, Cisco is extending its Lifecycle Services to include energy optimization management for both campuses and data centers. The objective of this expansion is to offer greater visibility into the consumption of IT assets and ensure that energy efficiency is consistent across different business environments. The campus service (Meraki) became available in August 2023, while the data center service will roll out in January 2024.

Sustainability-focused services are badly needed. As mentioned earlier, almost all companies have sustainability initiatives today, but I estimate that less than 5% can track their progress toward their goals. Technology today is much more advanced, has many more features, and so much more data than ever before that it can be hard for customers to understand how to leverage it best. This is where Cisco’s CX Services can help.

During her keynote portion, Jacqueline Guichelaar, former CIO of Cisco, now running the CX organization in APJC, talked about today's CIO mindset. She stated, “You’re probably thinking, how do I get all of this to work? Is it going to add more complexity? Do I have the right people? Do we have the skills? How do I get from where I am today to where I need to be?” These are all valid questions, as the stuff being deployed today is markedly different than just a few years ago. Trying to get it to operate optimally while keeping sustainability can be a daunting, if not paralyzing, proposition. By offering a suite of services that take these waves of data and translate them into measurable and actionable goals, Cisco is offering customers an operational solution to their sustainability requirements.

While the announcement was made at Cisco Live APJC, sustainability is now something all businesses across the globe need to be concerned with. Infrastructure modernization can go a long way to meeting company goals, but only if deployed correctly. Cisco’s new sustainability-focused CX services can help its customers deploy the latest and greatest while improving the planet -- and that’s a win for everyone.