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No Free Lunch

This is the fourth in a series of blogs comparing and contrasting the Microsoft and Cisco approaches to providing enterprise collaboration in the post-PC world. The first blog discussed the differences between a purpose-built architecture and a desktop-centric approach that needs third party extensions to make a working enterprise-class system. The second blog discussed how the two companies are approaching the trend towards “Bring your own device” (BYOD) to work. The third  blog discussed how the two companies deliver voice and video. This fourth blog focuses on the true cost to deploy.

No Free Lunch

A little after lunch time today at Enterprise Connect, Nemertes Research will host a session to present its findings on a topic near and dear to Cisco’s heart: “Building the Business Case for UC”. Drawing on data supplied by hundreds of IT decision makers on Unified Communications products and technologies, attendees apparently will “leave the session with a clear picture of the elements of a successful UC business case”.

Having this session right after lunch seems appropriate, since the session could easily be named: There’s no Such Thing as a Free Lunch.

As you may know, just a few weeks ago Cisco’s Rowan Trollope started a conversation about what matters in collaboration. The topic is so important to Cisco that we launched a web page to communicate our view on the key considerations in evaluating an enterprise collaboration solution, with a special focus on the differences between Cisco and Microsoft. So it is exciting to see the industry hone in on one of these considerations: cost and licensing.

Cisco believes that building an accurate business case for UC is increasingly complex. Capital costs and licensing are just the tip of the iceberg. What you spend on getting and keeping the solution running — the internal staff, training, third-party vendors and annual maintenance — matters quite a bit. Without a full understanding of all the factors involved in the real cost of ownership, selecting the right vendor and architecture for your organization may be an incredibly daunting task.

In a blog about the research behind today’s session, Nemertes’ Robin Gareiss calls Lync an “expensive operational proposition.” We think it’s important to note that Lync licenses are often Read More »

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Video Collaboration: On Every Pane of Glass

March 17, 2013 at 10:07 pm PST

This blog is second in a series of blogs glimpsing into the future of video collaboration. The first blog was “Video Collaboration: Better Than Being There“.  We encourage you to follow the series and let us know your thoughts.

Have you noticed that there is a camera and a pane of glass available to you at ALL times? From your smartphone to your PC, desktop office phone, telepresence (personal or room system), tablet, and even your TV, the ubiquity and ease of use of these devices and capabilities are providing a platform to extend video experiences everywhere. The big challenge is in providing a consistent, high quality user experience across all these devices. And that is not all. With new technologies available today such as HTML5 and WebRTC, more web-enabled devices can quickly become video enabled (video fridge anyone? :-))

So the future of video is not Read More »

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Australian Government CIO gives TelePresence the Thumbs Up

Cisco TelePresence has received one of the most glowing endorsements possible, with the CIO of the Australian Government speaking to Sydney Morning Herald’s ITPro section about the success of the Australian Government’s roll out of its TelePresence system.

Glenn Archer cites the national Cisco TelePresence system with 37 operational video conferencing sites across the country as being an example of a highly successful government IT project.

2,500 meetings have been held via the system in three and half years and the Government calculates that it has saved around $44 million through reduced airfare and travel costs. In addition, Glenn Archer is quoted as saying that the Government has reduced its carbon footprint by 8,500 tonnes of CO2 through the introduction of TelePresence.

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Online Learning and MOOCs – passing fads or major game changers?

It is twenty years since Harvard moved into online learning, quickly followed by Rice, MIT – and the Open University. So it is worth asking what is new about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)? I think two things are new: First, the scale of the disruption: free learning, for hundreds of thousands of individuals, most of them outside the formal university system. Coursera claims to have 2.4 million students registered to their 200 online courses; these are pretty impressive numbers achieved in a relatively short period of time. Second, the nature of the learning experience: increasingly collaborative, and even peer-led.

But as a driver of real transformation, the impact of MOOCS has been limited, absent a viable business model. And specifically, absent a way in which providers can offer some level of teaching experience, that’s valuable and therefore chargeable to the learner. However, two initiatives we’re familiar with at Cisco suggest this sort of model is now starting to emerge.

The first initiative is the University Of The People. A global university, with 1500 students, remarkably from 135 countries. This is online peer-learning – chat-room technology – providing qualifications in business and technology at just $50 a course. A very affordable model offering mentoring of substantial value from volunteer faculty around the world.

The second initiative is the latest move by Udacity. Udacity as we know has 750000 students in all, 150000 registered to one course, Artificial Intelligence, alone. But as Sebastian Thrun recognizes, Udacity has been looking for a business model until the announcement last month of San Jose State Plus.

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Shared Value: Amplifying the Success of a Business and Its Community

This post was also published on the Huffington Post ImpactX

The term “shared value” was introduced in 2010 by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer, co-founders of FSG, a nonprofit consulting firm specializing in strategy, evaluation, and research.

But what does it mean? Simply put, it is the concept that a company can enhance its own competitiveness while simultaneously alleviating social problems in the communities where it operates.

According to Porter and Kramer, one way in which companies can create shared value opportunities is to enable “local cluster development.”

“When a firm builds clusters in its key locations, they also amplify the connection between their success and their communities’ success,” Porter and Kramer wrote in the January-February 2010 issue of Harvard Business Review.

I am a believer in this approach to creating shared value because it is the basis for the Cisco Networking Academy, our largest and longest-running corporate social responsibility program.

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