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Cisco Systems, Inc. has introduced a new family of products, Cisco Interactive Mentor (CIM), that transfers knowledge of networking technologies and Cisco support methodologies.

CIM offers an interactive learning approach that combines a line of self-paced CD-ROM products with the benefits of support and shared resources in a knowledge community Web site.

"Technical competency in networking continues to be increasingly critical to a corporation's success," said Doug Allred, senior vice president of Customer Advocacy for Cisco Systems. "Cisco is dedicated to providing innovative knowledge transfer solutions to help our customers and channel partners advance the expertise of their people in more timely and cost-effective ways. Cisco Interactive Mentor enables our customers to optimally plan, deploy, and maintain their Cisco networks and achieve business success."

CIM's scalable and cost-effective knowledge transfer solutions can easily be integrated into existing learning efforts. These new learning methods help customers and channel partners quickly build and refresh their networking knowledge base to optimize performance and maximize availability from their network.

"Developing our people to a high level of competency is one of the most difficult tasks we face as a rapidly growing company in a fast-paced industry," said Bruce Nelson, vice president of Technology for AllTech Data Systems. "CIM greatly assists this process by giving a hands-on, real-world look-and-feel to the exercises. We can get our people up to a higher level of performance more quickly than was possible before."

Cisco Interactive Mentor

CIM offers a broad-based learning approach that combines the advantages of self-paced CD-ROM learning with the opportunities of direct participation and support in an online Cisco knowledge community. The products feature technology-specific tutorials, Cisco expert input, and configuration and troubleshooting methods used in the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) which can be practiced in simulated networking labs. Knowledge is augmented through the CIM Knowledge Community Web site where users can obtain content support, receive updated product news, access online demonstrations and share resources.

Configuration techniques are presented in a step-by-step format and reinforced through a series of simulated configuration labs. Hyperlinks to reference materials provide the support needed to maximize learning. Cisco TAC troubleshooting methods are included to help users maximize the performance and availability of a Cisco network. Users can practice these approaches in the simulator using real-world network scenarios. Pop quizzes and tips are available to reinforce the learning experience.

"The simulations are very useful and can be used while traveling, allowing our staff to learn new technologies while away from the network," said Michael Francois, director of IP Network Planning for DIGEX, Inc. "CIM has the look-and-feel of working on an actual network with real routers which is very useful. We plan on using CIM products with both new and experienced employees to continue to improve our skills with Cisco equipment."

To extend the value of using CIM products, users can also participate in the CIM Knowledge Community Web site, obtaining product information and news, posting and accessing additional knowledge resources, and content support. In the future, users will be able to participate in online interactive forums with Cisco experts. Support questions will be answered by TAC engineers and all shared resources contributed to the community will be validated by the TAC.

For channel partners, CIM represents a cost-effective way to deliver high-quality Cisco knowledge to front-line engineers and support technicians who need to efficiently manage time spent with customers. Additionally, this is an opportunity to add value while responding to customers' requests for internal skills improvement.


The CIM Access ISDN product is available today. Other key networking technologies such as LAN switching, WAN switching, and Voice-over-IP will be delivered in the upcoming months. A series of simulation lab exercise products, based on the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE) practice lab environment, will be delivered throughout the next calendar year.

CIM Access ISDN is available for the U.S. retail price of $1595. Multipacks and volume purchase site licenses will be available soon. Browser software and Real Player 5.0 is included with each product. For more information about Cisco Interactive Mentor visit the CIM Knowledge Community Web site at

CIM products include up-and-running telephone support for the first 90 days at (800) 553-2447 in the U.S. and at (408) 526-7209 in other geographic regions. In addition, Cisco will provide registered CIM product users with online content support via the CIM Knowledge Community Web site.

About Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:CSCO) a leader in networking for the Internet. News and information are available at

For more information, call 408/527-2406.
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Article Details
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Publication:Networks Update
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 1999

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