My Awesome IT Job: Senior IT Manager, Cisco

Summary:Hey, we all complain about work from time to time; we've all had lousy jobs. But before you call it a day and head off to the support group that meets at the bar, here are a few words from an IT pro that loves their work.

Hey, we all complain about work from time to time; we've all had lousy jobs. But before you call it a day and head off to the support group that meets at the bar, here are a few words from an IT pro that loves their work.

Name: Stephen Liem

Location: San Jose, CA

Profession and specialization: I am the Senior IT Manager for Cisco. I joined Cisco in 2001 as an IT Project Manager, and was promoted to Senior IT Manager in 2006. I am responsible for managing production support for the Cisco Technical Support team, in addition to managing 12 data centers for the Cisco Technical support team worldwide. I also manage the Innovation Lab for the Cisco Technical Support team.

Hobby: I am an avid reader of both philosophy and poetry books, and also like to mountain bike and travel to gain new cultural experiences.

Last book read: The Iliad by Homer.

Latest accomplishment: In the past ten months, my team developed the first official Innovation Laboratory at Cisco geared specifically to help our business clients create new products. We started with three projects, and now are hosting over nine projects giving our clients a well supported sand-box where they can test, and innovate new products.

In addition, in January of this year we realized the impact the Beijing Olympics would have on Cisco’s growing investment in China over the next few years. Before January, all of our Cisco engineers supporting customers in China had their data in Australia and California data centers. There was no local support, and Cisco felt the need to be closer to our customers. Because of this foresight, Cisco was able to support the Beijing Olympics with a guarantee that data would be stored locally; the Seoul, Korea data center being used a backup. This way, Cisco’s physical presence in Beijing enabled us to strategically provide in-person and high-touch technical service during the Olympics.

Toughest technology lesson learned: While establishing the Innovation Laboratory to encourage Cisco users to innovate in a safe and supported place, we were forced to find a happy medium between our business clients’ aggressive need to introduce new products to Cisco customers, and IT constraints. The Innovation Lab helps to solve that problem by allowing customers to prototype new products at a very fast pace within the confines of a secure and well-supported IT environment.

Advice to an up-and-comer: My mentor always told me that to be a good IT manager, you need to understand how to manage budget. Once you can control that, everything else is easy. The second key is communication, communication, communication. As an IT executive, we are excellent at solving technical issues, making us fluent in “techno-speak.” Unfortunately, we do not necessarily excel at communication and translating that language to our business partners and clients. Communication at all levels is critical to our success.

[Know someone who thinks their IT job is awesome? Introduce them to me at debperelman [at] gmail [dot] com.]

Topics: Cisco

About

Deb Perelman is a journalist in New York City with a focus on tech and the daily grind. Previously she was a reporter for eWEEK, leading the magazine and Web site's coverage of the issue and trends that affect IT workers.

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