Cisco Meraki and DesignMap Envision the Future of Network Management

Cisco Meraki & DesignMapUnited States
2023 People’s Choice Award
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Voting closes at 23:59 EST (EST time: UTC-5) on 5 May 2023.


Production / Professional


Mary Piontkowski, head of product design, Cisco Meraki, Austin Lin, director of product, Cisco Meraki, Alex Katsman, product manager, Cisco Meraki. Janet Blake, senior ux designer, Cisco Meraki, Barbara Natali-Sherman, director of design, DesignMap, Sean Murray, lead designer, DesignMap, Neal Sanchez, senior designer, DesignMap, Vivian Lee, senior designer, DesignMap, Curtis Koyoma, producer, DesignMap, Sean Jalleh, lead designer, DesignMap, Wanda Lam, visual design lead, DesignMap, Maggie Mitchell, senior designer, DesignMap,


Cisco Meraki is leading cloud networking, the future of networking, for Cisco. Meraki’s mission is to be the most simple, secure, intelligent networking & IoT platform for enterprises everywhere.

The Meraki Dashboard is known for its simplicity and has paved the way for cloud networking. Over time, as engineering teams added more functionality with little design attention, the interface became more cumbersome.

Design is relatively new within Meraki. Over the past three years, the organization has significantly invested in design. Along with this investment, the design team engaged DesignMap to help the organization articulate a target-state vision to energize and align siloed teams around a unified vision.

DesignMap—a product strategy and experience design consultancy—partnered with the Meraki “Next Gen Dashboard” UX and PM team to drive an initiative that involved 50+ stakeholders and subject matter experts. Broad SME engagement was essential to bring deep knowledge of personas and key use cases. Broad stakeholder engagement was critical to gain the alignment requirement for this work to truly impact Meraki’s future.

DesignMap led competitive analysis, customer research and co-creation, SME workshop facilitation, personas, and journey maps. Together, the Design Map and Meraki teams co-created a visiontype (prototype of the future)

The Next Generation Meraki Dashboard work led to widespread enthusiasm about the future of Dashboard, new work streams to start transforming IA and hub pages, and a new design system, Magnetic, that is already gaining broader adoption across Cisco.

Project Description

Cisco Meraki sought an aligned, compelling vision of their future dashboard to serve user’s evolving needs and usher their next generation of innovation. They partnered with DesignMap to create a user validated, redesigned experience. Through this alignment, they’re delivering a more powerful, streamlined, and automated experience that meets network operators where they are and helps them grow.

This project aligned stakeholders around the future of Cisco Meraki. It also impacts users—network operators across diverse disciplines and company sizes.

The impact of this design work was multifold:

  • Aligned the company on a tangible vision for the near and long-term
  • Helped them deliver on their promise of simplicity and empower users to operate more effectively, strategically, and efficiently
  • Helped them differentiate in a competitive market by enabling them to offer a more intelligent and automated solution for specialized networking professionals

DesignMap and Meraki teams conducted user and stakeholder interviews, researched the landscape, created personas, built journey maps, and designed a new experience via a visiontype.


User & stakeholder research

We conducted 39 stakeholder interviews across various disciplines. Additionally, we held 29 user interviews with network operators across diverse disciplines and company sizes.

We analyzed commonalities to uncover pain points, tools used as workarounds, business opportunities, and other themes.

We used those themes to create seven user personas to understand the full ecosystem of users in the networking space. And we created a journey map to provide an overview of the different/key stages in building and managing a network and who is involved.

Landscape analysis

We also conducted a landscape audit of 21 similar products across in-direct competitors, single-point solutions, and comparable interfaces to surface capabilities, differentiators, best practices, and market opportunities.


We uncovered that the industry is moving toward a convergence of the networking space—leading to an increase in competition. To remain competitive, Meraki needs a more unified platform that encompasses more aspects of the network, addresses the fact that users are becoming more specialized and want more intelligent tools, and puts security at the forefront.


DesignMap created vision concepts and further developed them through a combination of co-creation with Meraki stakeholders, brainstorming, and iteration. We created wireframes to enable user testing of our ideas and established an IA for these concepts that would better meet user needs.

Vision Scenario

The vision scenario pulled the concepts into a compelling narrative that demonstrated the improvements users would experience with the future dashboard. This vision was socialized and iterated upon for the final vision.

Final Visiontype

The teams presented high-fidelity screens to the broader organization to articulate and realize their vision: to be the most simple, secure, and intelligent networking & IoT platform for enterprises everywhere.

The visiontype demonstrated what the product could be and helped articulate how Meraki meets a small company where they are and helps them grow. The work also included a visual refresh to deliver on the promise of simplicity.

DesignMap hosted an activation workshop to prioritize and develop a high-level plan to execute the vision.


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