Business Today

Cutting Edge

Emphasis on innovation has made India the fastest-growing unit in Ciscos global ecosystem
By Venkatesha Babu   Delhi     Print Edition: March 12, 2017
Cutting Edge
Dinesh Malkani, President of Cisco, India & SAARC, at the Bangalore office (Photo: Nilotpal Baruah)

Do you know that Cisco India generates two patents a week? Or that Cisco India has, for the last 10 quarters, been the fastest-growing part of Cisco's global operations? That with more than 11,000 people, India is the company's second-largest employee base and alternative global headquarters?

The ebullient Dinesh Malkani, President of Cisco, India & SAARC, reels these and other factoids breathlessly. "The work done in India, be it in products or services, is cutting-edge and relevant to Cisco globally, which is why we attract the best and the brightest."

Ask Daisy Chittilapilly, who has been with Cisco for a dozen years, about what makes it special, and prompt comes the answer: "No Monday morning blues. Cisco has thrown many challenging opportunities my way over the years, and that has kept me moving, learning and growing. Our inclusive culture ensures that all of us keep our unique voices and get to showcase our strengths on a daily basis," she says. This has brought new responsibilities. From Regional Manager, she has become Managing Director - Partner Organisation within three years. "But the most important reason for me to be here has been the ability to connect what I do with the impact we bring to businesses and communities, which ultimately changes the way people work, learn, live and play for the better," she says.

Human resources head Christian Barrios says the open and collaborative culture means they can hire the best. "We are a Day Zero company at most campuses. Our culture of innovation means a lot of people want to work with us." He says attrition, in single digits, is at its lowest levels over the last three years.

Malkani, however, makes it a point to stress that it is not all work and no play. "We encourage employees to take off on birthdays. To improve health, apart from the gym and cricket matches, we have yoga instructors too. We provide 24 weeks surrogacy leave. Cisco is what it is because of its employees and we recognise that." To volunteer for causes dear to their hearts, employees can take a five-day off every year. The company also has an in-house plug and play - Thinkubator, where employees can experiment with ideas that, if they have potential, are commercialised.

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