WashingtonExec had the opportunity to discuss with Bruce Klein, Senior Vice President of Cisco’s U.S. Public Sector, changing workplace dynamics through telepresence and telecommunications. We also asked Klein for his FY13 federal contracting outlook, as well as hot trends in the public sector. Our interview with Klein touches on BYOD, healthcare IT, and virtual communications.
WashingtonExec: Please share your background and your role at Cisco.
Bruce Klein: I have been in the IT industry for 30 years—I started my career at Unisys and then spent 21 years at Hewlett Packard and have been with Cisco for almost 8 years as SVP for Public Sector.
“Video really changes the way people connect, collaborate and make decisions. It’s a vehicle for driving productivity improvements and enabling new business models.”
WashingtonExec: What is the potential for TelePresence in the Public Sector?
Bruce Klein: Cisco has a complete family of TelePresence video solutions ranging from desktop devices to immersive video conferencing rooms. Video really changes the way people connect, collaborate and make decisions. It’s a vehicle for driving productivity improvements and enabling new business models. Some examples of where video can change business models in Public Sector include the Education market – using connected classrooms to share teachers (i.e. music, language, and art) across a district or to support a Globalization strategy in Higher Ed institutions for things like research and development. Within Healthcare, helping to diagnose and deliver care at a distance, and in Public Safety to increase efficiencies within the justice system including video Arraignment or video visitation. These are all examples of how video can deliver new business models that drive efficiency, effectiveness, and cost savings.
WashingtonExec: Do you personally use video?
Bruce Klein: I spend 30-40% of my time using video and have video units in my office and at home, and use a Cius tablet for video as well. When you are on voice conferences, most people tend to multitask and are really not listening. When you are all connected via video people are engaged. It contributes to a completely different type of meeting with higher levels of engagement and productivity.
WashingtonExec: Financial Outlook—Where do you think the federal budget is headed? What challenges do you see?
Bruce Klein: We are all watching the FY13 budget very closely and are hearing reports that the Federal IT budget will be about $79 billion, down 1.2%. Most of our customers anticipate budget cuts are coming and are therefore looking to drive efficiency and cost savings. We’re also seeing a growing emphasis on data center consolidation—last year the Federal government announced they wanted to close 800 data centers, which would account for about $3 Billion in savings. Other spending priority areas include a Cloud first policy, closing the productivity gap, and looking to deploy a secure mobility strategy with a significant focus on cyber security.
When you consider where we are with the Federal budget, Cisco is uniquely positioned to help our Government customers meet their mission requirements within their budget constraints. Cisco’s Intelligent Network foundation enables architectural frameworks for Collaboration, Video, and Data Center Virtualization/ Cloud, that coupled with our solutions which are layered on these architectures, are helping our customers to do more with less. By investing in solutions such as Secure Mobility, Cyber-security, Connected Classrooms, Connected Health, and Connected Justice, these government agencies and organizations are able to deliver more comprehensive and cost-effective services to our citizens.
WashingtonExec: Mobility—how do you think it applies to the private sector? Is it a phase? Do you think it is a fundamental change?
Bruce Klein: I think it is a fundamental change. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a big opportunity because people want to use their tablets, laptops, and mobile devices with secure access to resources in the Cloud. The ability to create an environment where people can work any time and in any place, is not a passing fad. This is the perfect opportunity for government to look at how they can become more efficient and effective while supporting secure mobility. This is another area where Cisco has industry leading solutions which all tie back to the Intelligent Network foundation.
WashingtonExec: What are you most surprised about regarding healthcare IT?
Bruce Klein: There are numerous market transitions taking place within the Healthcare space and the most significant is the role that video has played in transforming healthcare delivery. If you just consider the ability to use video to treat patients in rural areas where they have a challenge deploying medical personnel or look at how the VA uses video kiosks so that veterans can have one-on-one care with specialists, these are major improvements in a very short period of time.
Cisco is setting the standard for enabling video over intelligent networks. In combination with collaboration technology, video is helping to significantly improve care at a distance and how training is delivered. For example, teaching hospitals are training surgeons to do special procedures such as eye microsurgery using video and collaboration technology, without having to travel to a specific location. This innovative approach saves time and improves the frequency and quality of training that doctors can receive.
WashingtonExec: Should customers invest in the social media aspect of their business? Do you think social media is important?
Bruce Klein: The key trends we see in IT are around Mobile, Social, Visual, and Virtual communications. At Cisco, we have developed an Enterprise Class social networking solution called QUAD. We think it’s an essential part of an organizations’ strategy to improve the way they connect and collaborate. This is all part of our Collaboration solutions suite that improve productivity and increase the speed of decision-making.
WashingtonExec: What is your favorite part of the your job at Cisco? What does a good day look like?
Bruce Klein: I love working with my team. I have one of the most dedicated teams at Cisco and they have been working with government customers and partners for a very long time. They have a deep understanding of the challenges within the Public Sector market and therefore can see how technology can be a tool enable and transform in some of the areas we’ve already discussed.
WashingtonExec: What has lead to your success and how has your leadership style changed?
Bruce Klein: When you have been in business for this long and worked for and with a lot of different leaders, you take the best of what you see and adapt it to your own style. Most important to me, is earning the trust of the people you lead and work with. You earn trust by being knowledgeable, credible, and meeting your commitments. I think leadership is directly related to your ability to influence and these are some of the qualities that I look for when building my organization and that shape my leadership style:
- Active Listener
- Personally engaging
- Strategic—have a vision about where are you are going but also be able to execute
- Empowering others
- Adaptive – a change agent
- Demonstrate integrity
WashingtonExec: What is something people might not know about you?
Bruce Klein: Outside of work I am a big family man. My wife and I are going on our 30th wedding anniversary this year and we have three great kids who are 26, 23, and 18. I love to spend as much time with my family that I can. I am also a huge sports nut and like to play softball, basketball, racquetball, and golf. I am very competitive and love watching and playing any sport.
WashingtonExec: Anything you want to add?
Bruce Klein: What people might not know about Cisco. People know Cisco as a tech company and that we have one of the best leaders I have ever seen. John Chambers sets a culture for the company that is all about giving back to the community. We actively encourage employees to volunteer their time and participate in donation-matching programs. Last year we collected $4.3 million in donations for the Global Hunger Relief campaign. When hurricane Katrina hit the Southeast, Cisco worked with the local governors to help build 21st century schools to create renewed learning environments. We helped build hospitals in China after the earthquake and are one of the largest educators in the world with the Cisco Networking Academy, which includes over 10,000 academies in 165 countries with over 4 million graduates of technical training programs. Cisco’s legacy of giving back is very important to me personally and the members of our Public Sector organization.