Meet the Executive: Edwin Paalvast, President of Cisco EMEAR
Thought Leadership, People & Culture
Edwin Paalvast is President of Cisco EMEAR (Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia) and has over 25 years of IT industry experience in senior management positions. In a rare opportunity to sit down with him, we asked about his career journey, as well as for his perspective on ‘the digital journey’ - the present and future of technology in EMEAR.
There are so many elements of my role that I enjoy and I feel incredibly privileged to be running such a diverse and dynamic region for Cisco. Apart from working with an amazing team here in EMEAR, I would say the most exciting part for me is to see the key role that Cisco and our technology can play in helping our customers become more agile and competitive.
Cisco, together with our partners, provides a consistent approach to support customers in their evolution. With the role of the network having never been greater than it is today, we are more relevant than ever before.
Technological change is rapid and it’s thrilling to be a part of that. It’s a new era for networking and Cisco can deliver the secure, intelligent platform that our customers need for digital business…the foundation for all of our customers’ futures. It’s a fantastic opportunity.
Firstly customers - the customer is always at the heart of what we do is and, as I mentioned, our focus is on helping our customers and partners to realise the value of digitisation. The conversations we are having are changing – they are based around simplicity and automation, security and compliance (privacy) and software, analytics and insights. Customers are also wanting to consume technology in different ways - our business is becoming more software and subscription based- and we are adapting to meet their needs.
So, of course, Cisco is also undergoing its own evolution. Our business is complex but, by using technology to standardise, digitise, automate and simplify ourselves, we are ensuring we also become more efficient, competitive and easier to do business with.
The final thing is the uniqueness of this region. With 124 countries in EMEAR, we face many different challenges and opportunities. One of the key challenges that organisations in Europe will face next year is how they store and process data, when the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect in May 2018. Whilst the penalties for non-compliance will be severe, this is also an opportunity for customers to look more closely at how they manage and process data and where they can make improvements – so that they can ensure they do not contravene the regulations. We can help our customers secure their data centres, we can provide Network Segmentation and Access Control solutions, as well as Breach Detection and Notification…tools to ensure that the data of our customers, and theirs, is more secure.
The technology landscape is ever changing. In Cisco, in EMEAR, we place a huge amount of effort and resource on innovation so that we can help to shape the technology landscape. We continually invest in R&D to ensure that we deliver new and innovative technologies to meet the needs of our customers.
One thing that is having a huge impact on the technology landscape, as I mentioned, is data. It is being generated by devices, cars, factories, and end users and, in fact, more data has been created in the last two years than in the previous 5,000 years of humanity.
The complexity of storing this data, securing it, analysing it and processing it, increasingly in real time, is something that customers, no matter what their industry, are keen to understand as they look towards the future.
Huge amounts of data touch Cisco equipment but what is key is that the network is the only place where all this data travels through. We are building the networks of the future to be more agile, more secure and give us all valuable insights – insights which will help us shape the technology landscape moving forward.