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Cisco Data Center 2011-Texas: Study Says 60 Percent of Employees Can Work Remotely. Can Your Construction Vendor?

According to the recent Cisco Connected World Report, three out of five employees believe they don’t need to be in the office to be productive or efficient at their jobs.  Yet 45 percent of IT departments are feeling challenged to provide the mobile, distributed access that workers want. This challenge crosses company sizes, countries and industries, but is especially notable in fields like construction that have traditionally required in-person engagement. Like many IT organizations that must partner with their facilities counterparts, Cisco IT works closely with Cisco Workplace Resources (WPR) and its construction vendors. In our new Texas Data Center 2 (DC2) project, we’re learning that productivity gains for our partners and vendors are gains for us too.

Over the past few years, the construction industry has recognized that it hasn’t benefitted like other industries from the increases in productivity offered by mobility and collaboration technologies.  In response, many in the U.S. construction industry have adopted a new model called Integrated Project Delivery (IPD).  IPD incorporates collaborative technologies into the planning and execution process of construction projects. Meanwhile, new interoperability solutions like the Building Information Model (BIM) are helping to standardize the creation and use of data by applications that support both collaboration and the building lifecycle. By combining initiatives like IPD, BIM, and LEED with collaborative technologies, the construction industry is progressing to a new way of doing business where planet-friendly project management results in environment-friendly buildings at lower cost. And this is good news for the construction industry’s partners in IT that are working with them to build data centers.

In Cisco IT, use of mobility and collaboration technologies is not new.  We’re tasked with supporting and keeping pace with the solutions that our own industry-leading company develops.  And we’ve learned alongside our workforce as we’ve deployed solutions such as Cisco Virtual Office for teleworkers, unified communications, Cisco TelePresence, Cisco WebEx, and now, Cisco Quad. Our Collaboration and Communication Vice President, Shelia Jordan, is blogging about our use of these technologies within a platform we call the Integrated Workforce Experience (IWE).  Her recent post, “Why is Cisco’s approach to collaboration different?” talks about the accelerated use of video in the enterprise, the importance of an integrated collaboration solution, and how our ultimate goal is to have company-to-company collaboration.

In our Texas DC2 project, we’re experiencing this ultimate goal now as an intersection between the increasing trends of collaboration within the enterprise and the construction industry. We’re using mobility and collaboration software to create and share documents, drawings and video, interact regularly, and even remotely conduct interviews. And we’re realizing the benefits of bringing together a team that’s distributed across the country with minimum travel, improved productivity, lowered costs, and less impact on the environment.  In Cisco Data Center 2011-Texas, our three-part special feature on Virtual Project Management shows how we’re using these solutions. We also share some of the best practices we’ve learned in the process, in the hopes that our collective gains can be yours, too.

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