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Neeraj Arora: Director and Lead, India and SAARC, IBSG, Cisco Systems

March 01, 2012
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A telecom executive by profession and an artist by passion, Neeraj Arora feels that these two diverse career paths have a lot in common. “The soft talent of a creative artist  has a lot in common with the scientific decision-making and rigour of a telecom and technology executive, as both are based on close observation of the environment and envisioning scenarios that can change the way people live, work and play.”


Currently the director and lead for Cisco’s internet business solutions group, Arora has over 15 years of professional experience, including 10 years with McKinsey&Company. Known as Cisco’s “the-next-thing-guy” or “chief ideation expert”, Arora’s current position requires him to work with leading service providers and various governments.

“My focus has been squarely on how service providers could become more innovative in developing business models, more effective orchestrators through changed business processes and more intelligent in their technology deployments,” he says.

He feels that the telecom industry in India is at an inflection point. “Several challenges exist, but so do many new opportunities. The industry has witnessed more than its fair share of issues, including regulatory constraints, slow uptake of 3G services despite high investments, fragmentation in cable, lack of innovative value-added services, etc., all of which puts a strain on industry growth and profitability.”

Nevertheless, he remains bullish about the service provider segment. He notes: “Several opportunities are emerging on the horizon, such as 4G, Wi-Fi deployments, the National Broadband Network, innovative mobile data and video cloud, IP transformation, cable digitalisation, etc.”

In fact, he has been working with clients on realising the potential of these opportunities. “Some of my most memorable experiences have been with a leading service provider to help identify innovative mobile cloud services for consumers, develop ecosystem partners and help deliver a platform to enable these services,” he says. “This effort gave us the opportunity to interact with and help shape new business ventures.”

In his spare time, Arora enjoys painting, photography and playing cricket with his son, who is training to participate in the local cricket league. His wife, an IT professional, ensures that the family takes time off the rigorous work schedule periodically to travel to new places. The family is also passionate about supporting NGOs – particularly for causes such as treatment and rehabilitation of cancer patients and the elderly.

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