Jacqueline Guichelaar has been an advocate for listening to customers in order to provide better experiences during her 30-year career in the tech industry. This is one of the reasons she was appointed global CIO at Cisco, where she led the company’s strategy for digital transformation, including migrating 140,000 staff to remote working during COVID-19, and consulted on product design and development. After four years in the role, Guichelaar has now taken on the role of SVP and general manager, customer experience overseeing APAC, Japan, and Greater China.
She has relocated from California to Singapore, where she will be responsible for leading customer experience efforts. Her previous roles have focused on working with and managing customers, including some of Australia’s largest companies, and she has always placed herself in the customer’s shoes.
CIOs can’t build everything
Jacqueline Guichelaar, the former global CIO of Cisco, is hoping that her legacy will be based on her achievements in improving user and customer experiences and simplifying technology. Under her leadership, the IT department was able to save $200 million by implementing a ‘buy before you build’ strategy and rationalising homegrown applications, especially in finance, legal, and HR. The company also reduced its vendors to strategic partners, which helped reduce costs.
Additionally, she rationalised data centres, networks, and other tech infrastructure, resulting in greater clarity and intentionality in where workloads were stored. Although Guichelaar is best known for leading Cisco’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she hopes her legacy will be focused on these simplification efforts.
During her tenure as Cisco CIO, Jacqueline Guichelaar emphasized that companies should focus on their strengths and invest in areas where they have a competitive advantage or where there are no existing solutions in the market. She believes that companies cannot build everything and must prioritize their investments.
Guichelaar warns that investing large amounts of time, energy, and money in building in-house applications that can be purchased for far less is a common mistake made by many CIOs. Instead, they should simplify their systems and invest in frameworks to avoid creating a complex environment. Guichelaar stresses that the key to delivering better experiences, whether for customers or staff, is simplicity.
She draws from her experience at Cisco to help companies deal with the challenge of sprawling legacy systems. One of her clients, a large American bank, faces the difficulty of figuring out how to refresh its systems and how to get the investment, support, and engineering resources required.
Technology needs to deliver value in the form of outcomes
Jacqueline Guichelaar and her team found that a major bank was not utilizing the value it had purchased from Cisco. To address this issue, Guichelaar sent a team of CX engineers to help the bank get back on track. Guichelaar is also working with another major bank that is transitioning to a hybrid cloud environment.
Challenges like this are where great CX teams can excel. In today’s world, the purpose of all technology projects, whether customer or staff-facing, is to deliver outcomes that create value. As a former customer of Cisco, Guichelaar understands the importance of delivering value to customers.
With competition in the tech sector growing more intense and the cloud driving prices and margins down, Guichelaar believes that her new CX role may be as challenging, if not more so, than her previous role as Cisco’s top tech executive. Despite the difficulties, Guichelaar feels that her new role is the right move for her, and she is eager to work with customers.