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Journey to the Cloud: a Smooth Transition

I speak with many business leaders about “the cloud” and how best to use it to improve collaboration. Quite often, discussions end up getting into specific services and technologies but I always try to ensure that some basic considerations are a primary focus – namely People, Processes and Culture. This video is a great overview and insight into how important it is to get the foundations right, and what questions you should ask before you start looking for a specific solution or ‘technology’.

The Three Considerations

People

People

People are your company’s greatest asset and you need to enable them fully and effectively. Increasingly, they “vote with their feet.” They use their own solutions or those provided directly by their departments instead of official IT options (shadow IT). For many reasons public cloud services are a big hit, but you can’t afford for the virtualized environment you have painstakingly created to be used only for functional or legacy workloads.  Nobody can afford a discrete, separate underutilized platform -- unappreciated and with hidden value. Read More »

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Building Relationships over Distance –Tips for Success

I recently read a great article that talks about how midsized companies can take advantage of slow periods to visit customers, partners, and others to better understand their needs.

The article comes from Erik Sherman from the National Center for the Middle Market. Part of Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, the center provides knowledge, leadership, and innovative research on U.S. midsized businesses.

Sherman provides is great advice, but in a fast-moving, highly competitive economy that never seems to slow down, I would add the following points:

  • Getting to know your stakeholders shouldn’t be just a once-a- year activity
  • Engaging with them shouldn’t be limited by the ability to travel due to time or budget constraints

Let’s take the case of engaging with employees and co-workers.  As middle market companies continue to lead economic growth and job creation, Read More »

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Simplify Sales with Remote Product Demonstrations

I spent the last eight months on the front lines of the virtual demo world for Cisco. Working from our headquarters in California, I met with people from all over the world to demonstrate our latest products — without a single plane trip. Using collaboration technology sales teams can avoid travel expenses, sell more, and increase productivity.

Most significant business purchases require some form of travel. Companies need to send sales experts out in to the world to demo their products. Or, depending on the products or the situation, customers often travel to the vendor’s site. Although travel involves expense and time, personal interaction is important to customer relationships. Travel can make the sales process more cumbersome and time consuming. But without travel, you limit the degree of direct engagement you might have before a customer makes a buying decision.

How Can Remote Demonstrations Add Value to the Sales Process?

Remote product demonstrations are providing companies with a less-expensive option to engage with customers. And the best part of it is that neither customers nor your technical experts have to travel as much. Just as video is changing the nature of meetings, it’s also a fitting solution Read More »

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Gartner Recognizes Cisco as a Leader in Unified Communications…Again

For the seventh year in a row Cisco was positioned as a leader in the August 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications. In the accompanying Critical Capabilities for Unified Communications document, published July 2014, Cisco also received the highest ratings in Full UC with Strong Telephony and Ability to Offer Hybrid Solutions use cases. We believe our continued recognition in these key industry assessments demonstrates that the focus on simplicity and user experience across the Cisco Collaboration portfolio is delivering our customers the productivity gains they are looking for through a collaboration experience that only Cisco can deliver.

According to Gartner,  “The primary goal of unified communications (UC) is to improve user productivity and to enhance business processes. Gartner defines UC products (equipment, software and services) as those that facilitate the use of multiple enterprise communications methods to obtain that goal…UC products integrate communications channels (media), networks and systems, as well as IT business applications and, in some cases, consumer applications and devices.” Cisco shares this vision for UC and continues to deliver key innovations and integrations to ensure our customers are clearly benefiting from the full suite of Cisco’s leading  telephony, video , web conferencing , messaging , IM/P and contact center offerings.

In the 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications, Gartner once again positioned Cisco as a leader for ability to execute and completeness of vision.  The report identifies strengths and cautions for individual vendors and we feel the strengths for Cisco UC offering are: Read More »

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Cisco and Salesforce.com: IoE and the Next Generation of Customer Service

The networked connection of people, processes, data, and things that we call the Internet of Everything  (IoE) continues to increase its pervasiveness in the workplace and at home. As a result, business leaders are adapting to meet the changing expectations of the enterprise, their customers and the consumer market.

This isn’t the far-off future. It’s now. Organizations are revolutionizing business processes today. The Internet of Everything is dramatically impacting the performance of innovative businesses.

IoE is real and beneficial and can take many different forms, depending on the unique issues or opportunities facing an enterprise.

In a recent post, Chris Botting talks about how Customer Collaboration connects IoE to consumers.

I had an opportunity to really look closely at some of these impactful uses of IoE as we prepared for a two-day media, customer and partner event exploring tangible examples of IoE in action in Chicago last month. Along the way, I developed another perspective about business applications of IoE. In many cases, IoE becomes the Internet of Customers.

As a panelist at the event, Daniel Debow, senior vice president of Emerging Technologies at salesforce.com, provided great insight into IoE’s role in this amplified customer interaction.  He suggests that IoE is providing the roadmap of the next generation of customer service while transforming the entire service experience.

Daniel recognizes that behind every one of these billions of connected devices, there is a customer. In the real-world, Read More »

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