Meet the Executive: Oliver Tuszik, VP and GM Cisco Germany
Digital Business, Thought Leadership, People & Culture
Oliver Tuszik has been Vice President and General Manager of Cisco Germany since 2013, after a long career at Computacenter, also in Germany. He currently lives with his wife and three children near Cologne and publicly supports the campaign against the shortage of skilled workers. In a great opportunity to sit down with him, we’ve discussed digital transformation in Germany, in his personal life and in the future.
Firstly; Digitization gives me a new quality of working and interacting with people. Today video Calls are the default setup for almost every remote conversation I have. I can have a face to face conversation in HD with all the emotions and intimacy of a “normal” chat in the office. That’s really changing the way I work – and also how I can interact with my family when I need to travel. It might sound trivial, but that’s the actual magic of digitization. It gives us true improvements in our life, although it is really complex at the backend. Just think about the millions of devices that need to be securely connected for this.
Secondly; I can consume things and services in a new way which fits my needs much better than before. My newspaper, my music, my wifi, my movies, my grocery shopping, my banking – all digital, subscription based services. Digitization enables new offers and new ways of living and organising our lives – for me that’s a new quality of life and freedom. Same for customers: they expect business services which are flexible, adaptable, cloud based and easy to handle as well. If you have a smart home, you don’t want to go back to the Stone Age at work. Cisco recognized this and with our strategy for subscription based offers we are successful addressing these needs.
Digitization in Germany is driven by our traditional strengths: a passion for engineering, the desire to optimize and the wish of exploring and creating. This last point is explicitly not just referring to machine building – it also follows the strong cultural and social tradition of Goethe and Humboldt for example, who were great thinkers and explorers. All these drivers are helping us digitize our economy and society.
But of course, there are some aspects of our culture that are not really accelerating us. We are not often the first ones to adopt a new technology. Our approach is long term in its orientation: trends have to prove to be sustainable. We only develop and implement technology when we are convinced of its application. Until we get there, we need more time for discussions, planning and structuring than others. Security is a good example. There are solid concerns, especially in the German mid-market. It took German companies and organisations a while to understand we can’t avoid cyber-attacks. But meanwhile, there is a strong understanding that security is accelerating the process of digitization, not slowing it down.
Cisco supports these developments very actively. Our CDA investment program “Deutschland Digital” is a true success story. It meets the need of the German mind-set and drives digitization in the three areas of education, innovation and security.
You are right, it is an exciting time. We, at Cisco, have been talking about innovation and digitization for years. However, I have the feeling that this year we are moving from vision to implementation. Based on my conversations with customers, partners and developers, and our technology developments at Cisco, I see 4 technology trends that will become reality in 2018.
1.) Autonomous and networked things in the IoT. For the first time in 2018, networked devices will act autonomously - differently than expected. Autonomous vehicles won’t probably appear first on public roads, but at airports or in logistics centers.
2.) Networks know intuitively what their admins want. This is necessary because Digitization places new demands on networks: more flexibility, speed and security. As the number of devices they control sometimes increases from 200 to 200,000, administrators can’t effectively manage networks manually any longer. The solution is called intent-based networking.
3.) Artificial intelligence and machine learning will make business meetings completely different in the future. In 2018, virtual assistants already support meeting management. Thanks to AI bots that understand natural language and context, wizards perform simple instructions. From 2020, virtual assistants will be able to summarize the most important topics after a meeting.
4.) Blockchain technology offers many possible applications, far beyond digital money. For example, it allows goods to be tracked, services to be handled and data to be accessed. All this in a transparent, accurate and secure way. I think we will see the first use cases this year – especially in combination with IoT or in manufacturing.
Will these trends really become reality in 2018? I am sure that we will see the beginning of many changes in 2018. As I said: it is an exciting time.