Keeping More Analysts Better Informed with a Central AR Portal
Cisco is the worldwide leader in technology that powers the internet. Through a variety of solutions and services, the company helps customers reimagine their applications, secure their data, transform their infrastructures, and empower their teams for a global and inclusive future.
Given Cisco’s wide range of product lines, the company is relevant to a large number of technology analysts. Cisco has a reputation for excellence across both its technology and analyst relations (AR) practices — with a global team keeping analysts across geographies and coverage areas up-to-date.
There’s a universe of more than 1,000 analysts who are relevant to and interested in Cisco. Even with the size of Cisco’s team of 30 AR managers, it’s not possible to engage every analyst at the individual level — proactively (or reactively) supplying the information they need. For those analysts without a dedicated Cisco AR contact or access to a steady flow of company information, doing a web search was often their primary means of gathering information about Cisco.
Irene Mirageas, VP of Analyst Relations at Cisco, wanted to make it easy for all relevant analysts to be and stay in-the-know. Without expanding headcount, the team sought to scale the program, expand its reach and further demonstrate Cisco’s leadership — giving analysts a central resource for Cisco information and updates. Even for analysts who communicated with Cisco regularly, having an analyst-dedicated, curated portal would be greatly beneficial.
“My guiding principle, across all AR activities, is to bring value,” explained Cynthia Leong, Cisco’s Corporate AR Program Manager. “We saw an opportunity to scale our program with the portal — providing helpful, timely information to a much broader community on a self-serve basis.”
Cisco turned to ARInsights to bring its vision to life. The company has been an ARInsights customer for more than a decade, using ARchitect to manage, track and report on analyst interactions.
ARchitect also offers an Analyst Portal solution — something that Cisco was looking to take advantage of to address its knowledge-sharing challenge.
With the portal, Cisco now provides a curated digital experience for analysts. The invitation-only, password-protected environment features Cisco corporate updates, webinars, presentations, case studies, regional roundtables, AR contact information and more — all centrally accessible and intuitively organized.
“Working with ARInsights, we were up-and-running with the portal quickly — in less than two months,” Cynthia said. “Since then, we’ve continued to iterate to better serve the analysts and keep content fresh.”
To drive analyst engagement with the portal, Cisco timed its launch with the company’s European annual user conference. The AR team invited analysts to join the portal and posted relevant content including pre-briefing materials, presentations, press releases, a live-stream link and more.
Just one month post-launch, Cisco’s AR portal had more than 135 registered analysts, including from Gartner and IDC. And today, Cisco’s portal hosts hundreds of registered analysts.
For Cynthia, who had grappled with internally-created portals at previous companies, the ARInsights solution was both a time-saver and easy to use.
“ARInsights’ solution cuts the work of portal management in half,” Cynthia said. “We can focus on the content we provide and value-add activities, rather than sinking time into maintenance and keeping the analyst database up-to-date.”
With its portal, Cisco is now able to:
- Effectively scale its outreach, using the portal as part of its integrated AR strategy.
- Ensure analysts are accessing up-to-date materials.
- Alert analysts to recent content. Analysts have the ability to set up alerts, so they’re notified when new, relevant content is published.
- Get insights into consumption patterns, with dashboards showing portal engagement at the analyst-, firm- and category-levels. Cisco can also see overall trends, including which type of content performs best.
- Centrally post multiple file formats such as documents, links, videos, etc. for on-demand access.
- Drive frequent updates, online, catering to changing work conditions. As face-to-face briefings and in-person events waned in the COVID era, Cisco’s AR team was well-prepared to keep up a steady online cadence of updates, also offering easy access to Cisco’s virtual events.
“We’d like to continue expanding the number of analysts we reach through the portal with compelling, relevant content,” Cynthia said. “Hundreds, even a thousand, more — bring it on!”
For others looking to deploy a portal like Cisco’s, she offers some best practices.
“First and foremost, you have to keep the content fresh,” Cynthia said. “Stay in tune with your team, so you know what content is coming ahead.”
Cynthia also recommends alerting analysts to recent posts, using visuals and video to grab attention, monitoring the usage, and promoting the portal in analyst interactions to increase engagement.