Feature Story

Cisco Innovators: Ulf Vinneras

by Liza Meak

Cisco innovator looks to the power of analytics to help drive the advanced services team

Cisco innovator looks to the power of analytics to help drive the advanced services team.

When Ulf Vinneras flies in and out of the Stockholm airport, a quote painted on a wall always resonates with him. "It says ‘I am a world citizen'.  I love that quote because it's pretty accurate," says Vinneras. Accurate because his 17 years at Cisco has given him the opportunity to live all over world.

A Swedish native, Vinneras has spent the last five years in the United States, working at Cisco's San Jose headquarters. Most recently as the Director of Cloud, Network and Analytics Innovation for Advanced Services. "I'm responsible for any customer with an existing Cisco solution. That can be in networking, data center, WiFi, video, optical, and cable," Vinneras says.  "For those customers, my job is to make sure that they get the best value of their Cisco solution investment."

During his time at Cisco, Vinneras has seen his department transform, most notably when it came to merging networks into one integrated platform solution. "When I joined Cisco, we had separate networks for video distribution, separate networks for data distributions. People talked about multi-network solutions, but when you looked under the cover, no one was really doing that," Vinneras said. "In the early days of my Cisco career, I was part of making it happen, and that's the first big transformation I went through."



Fast forward to today and Vinneras sees extraordinary possibility in the power of analytics. This big change for the tech industry drives him to innovate and push the envelope. "We have data from millions of devices, and we can look for trends and patterns," Vinneras explains. "When we find an anomaly, we'll immediately be able to tell other devices about the risk. We've become predictive and communicate to our customers what's going to happen. It is a game changer."

Vinneras has been busy the last 12 months transforming the flagship portfolio in the professional services organization, optimization services. With the launch of Business Critical Services, we are able to recommend service capabilities that map to our customers' business and operational goals including, cost efficiency and compliance, business agility acceleration, and transformation agenda development. We enable customers to achieve a secure, efficient, and agile environment across all architectures.  Taking into consideration optimization best practices from 800+ customers, Vinneras' analytics team developed and delivers an analytics portal called Business Critical Insights, powered by an artificial intelligence engine.  "Our customers can monitor KPIs, trends, correlations, benchmarking, and anomaly detection with ease and the team helps our customers prioritize recommendations."

Vinneras likes a challenge. When he came into his role, the business was in negative growth. He's been able to turn it around, and now it is up nearly 25%. He credits much of his success to his colleagues, who are sources of inspiration and wisdom. "When I look at my job at Cisco for these past 17 years, I've constantly felt that I had to push myself to keep up with my colleagues and I continually learn from them because there's so many brilliant people here," Vinneras says. He compares it to joining a running group where you're not the fastest runner. "If you go for a run and you're the fastest one, you're not going to improve. If you go for a run with people that are faster, you always need to push yourself to try to keep up."

Maybe it's from his training as a Captain in Sweden's Marine Corps, but the fast pace suits Vinneras. Even though he grew up on a small farm, it's not in his nature to sit still and watch the crops grow. "I'm not really a status quo guy," Vinneras says, "changing the way we live, work, play, and learn drives me to dare to reinvent"