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I’m back in my hometown of Boston today where I presented Cisco’s collaboration solution to more than 200 IT professionals attending the Forrester Collaboration and Content forum.

I started and ended my presentation with a provocative statement: collaboration is the IT investment of the decade. Let me first define what I mean by collaboration:  collaboration is a combination of social, mobile, video and virtual elements, and must be accessible from all types of devices.  IT professionals will spend a lot of their time delivering a holistic integrated collaboration solution for their customers, partners and employees in the next 10 years. What makes this a bit more exciting is each component of collaboration is going through significant transformation.

We at Cisco are in the third year of our collaboration. As you know, we have deployed our social software enterprise, Cisco Quad, globally. We also have a very robust device policy and adoption (now deploying 1,000 iPhones a month).  We are learning a lot about the need to integrate collaboration technologies with business applications and business process.  That is where I believe the transformational and strategic ROI comes from.

Rob Koplowitz, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, agrees with us.  In fact, Rob used Cisco as a shining example of the three elements of successful collaboration deployment:  executive support, business value and groundswell of adoption.  In fact, he used Cisco and our CEO John Chambers as an outstanding example of collaboration.

I agree with Rob —  it does take all three components to really drive change and value in the enterprise.

Following my presentation, there was time to take a few questions – most of which were about mobility in the enterprise, our strategy, devices used and trends we’re seeing.  One question specifically was how to make sure that different devices do not deter from the holistic collaboration experience.  My response is if you’ve taken an enterprise integrated architecture approach first, then it is very easy to deploy those services on any and all devices – like for example Cisco Cius, our new business tablet.

Once I wrap things up here I’m off to Italy to discuss collaboration and video at customer meetings – looking forward to more interactions with them!

Happy Collaborating!

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