The Power of Collaboration

June 6, 2013

I just want to start by saying thank you.  Without everyone in the community working towards one goal of reversing a decision by Cisco we would have never succeeded.

But let’s backtrack in case you haven’t been following this story.  Last week, Cisco made the announcement that they were upgrading the CCIE Voice track.  I thought this was a good idea until I heard how they were doing it.  They had decided that the CCIE Voice was going to be retired and the current CCIE Voice engineers would have no way of transitioning their existing certification over tot he new CCIE Collaboration.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  We were told that the transition path was to take the new CCIE and become a double IE (Voice and Collaboration).  As you can imagine, many many people were not amused.

What happened next, was actually kind of magical.  In this age where politicians yell at each other and online discourse is usually relies more on insults than logic I saw many people posting professional, well thought-out and well said arguments about why the decision was wrong and what should be done to fix it.

After some discussion on Twitter, I took a cue from some and put together a petition.  After just over six days that petition stands at 1,198 signatures.  I can assure you that I don’t have 1,000 followers on Twitter.  This succeeded with a massive number of people retweeting and mentioning and posting items on the Cisco communities site.

Earlier today, Jim Duffy at Network World posted this article about what was going on.  In the process of writing it, the team at Learning @ Cisco informed him that they would be making a change that that the broad strokes of it were that current Voice CCIEs could take a Collaboration written test to re-certify.

I think there are two stories here.  First, the awesome community that came together to make this happen.  This wasn’t just about CCIE Voice engineers.  This was about all of the people in the Cisco community: partners, customers, engineers, account managers and even Cisco employees that recognized a problem and decided to speak up to let a large company know what was going on.  This was absolutely amazing and I have to say thank you to everyone again.  This was an awesome demonstration of the power of collaboration and social media.

The second story is one that might not be so apparent.  A lot of companies will continue on a path that they think is correct long after it is plainly apparent that a decision made somewhere along the way was wrong.  Many will never admit to being wrong.  This is why I have to say that today I am proud to be working for a Cisco partner.  Yeah, they may have gotten it wrong in the beginning, but it looks like they are doing what they need to do to make this right.

I realize that this post is short and sort of dis-jointed, I’ll just say it’s because I’m happy that we all succeeded.  Great job everyone and if you are going to be at Cisco Live this year, ping me on Twitter and we can have a celebratory drink!


  • Brent Salisbury June 6, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Great effort and congrats John. Great to see community leaders like yourself. Kudos to Duffy also. We have some really good tech journalist out there in networkworld, networkcomputing and techtarget to name a few that are really keyed into the technology and community.


  • Mirbaz June 6, 2013 at 2:37 am

    Great Work John, that’s the real collaboration effort, together we can make difference. Great Discipline and guidance to the CCIE’s Voice.

    Time to Celebration.
    Usman Mirbaz