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Welcome to the New Town Hall Meeting

April 23, 2014 at 8:27 am PST

In the quest for speed, how leaders are engaging employees differently

I recently had a Fortune 100 CEO tell me he wants to “flatten access” in his organization.  It’s a familiar theme talking to customers around the world, as leaders seek out innovative ways to get their teams executing faster.  More and more I’m hearing about leaders putting a modern twist on the classic “town hall” meeting format – sort of a New England-style public meeting and social media all mixed together – as a new way to mobilize their teams.

What’s at stake, of course, is the company’s ability to get to opportunities faster – faster than competitors.  Shortening the time it takes to move from a decision in a conference room to galvanizing action on a team is the most often cited pain-point I hear when I ask customers about their collaboration challenges.  Here’s the rub:  most organizations aren’t great at engaging their employees, according to Gallup – only 30% of employees feel engaged.

When we think of innovation, we tend to associate it with technology.  The innovation being demonstrated in the online, virtual town hall meetings comes in the form of employee engagement, shifting dramatically how you communicate to your team. At the heart of the innovation is the recognition that people need more than “goals” or “priorities” when being lead.  My friend Peter Guber said recently that people have a need for “emotional understanding.”

The new town hall meeting is intrinsically designed to foster understanding – and in doing so, mobilize teams even faster for execution.

In our book The Collaboration Imperative my colleague Carl Wiese and I emphasized Read More »

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Message to IT: Lead the Charge in Creating the Workplace of the Future

April 14, 2014 at 7:56 am PST

As I visit customers and partners around the world, I see that many of you are excited about the idea of “workplace transformation.” The reason is clear: workplace-related costs are usually among a company’s top three expense items. Optimizing these assets and ensuring that they support the needs of the business is – or should be – a top priority.

collab_cubesWhere we work is becoming more mobile, more flexible, and more collaborative than ever. This has made the traditional cubicle-based workplace – with its overbooked meeting rooms and rows of assigned cubicles sitting empty—obsolete. According to CoreNet Global, around 60% of a company’s desks are vacant at one time because workers are either on the road or in meetings.1 Creating what we call an “activity-based workplace” will help you keep up with evolving work practices, improve employee engagement, and build for the workforce of the future. It will also help you use your physical space more efficiently.

An activity-based workplace unshackles your employees from their desks and gives them a variety of work spaces work_space_2to use based on the activities they need perform at a given time. This could be a typical workstation, an individual quiet room, a small team huddle space, an audio privacy room, a Telepresence room, or an open project area. Whatever the choice, they’ll have seamless access to the tools they need to get their jobs done. Any desk phone becomes “their” phone, and pervasive and secure wireless enables access to the corporate internet, email, calendars, and collaboration solutions such as IM and presence, web, and video conferencing.

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How Intercloud May Extend Cisco’s Leadership in Collaboration

Wow!  Last week was a big week for Cloud news.   Whilst Amazon Web Service, Microsoft and Google started a price war or ‘race to the bottom’ for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) services, Cisco came out with a potentially industry-shaping announcement around Cloud Services.

On March 24th Cisco announced plans to build the world’s largest global Intercloud together with a set of partners to create a network of clouds.  This is not a trivial investment, Cisco expects to invest more than $1 billion in its cloud business over the next two years.  This ‘Intercloud’ will feature APIs for rapid application development and will deliver a new enterprise-class portfolio of cloud IT services.

Cisco’s overall strategy for the cloud is based on the premise that there will be a “world of many clouds.” My colleague Fabio Gori wrote a great blog describing how Intercloud is the critical enabler to capture the immense value of the Internet of Everything (IoE).  In this post, Fabio provides a clear summary of how we see Intercloud impacting the next phase of cloud computing, the IoE and ultimately how we all collaborate.

Intercloud and Collaboration

Gartner consistently places Cisco in the Leaders Quadrant for Unified Communications, and we think the Intercloud can help us further extend our leadership by enabling our partners to offer even better experiences, on multiple devices, and across multiple platforms by connecting the world of many collaboration clouds.    Read More »

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Design Excellence Delivers Uncompromising Experience…And Coveted Red Dot Award 2014

My mission since joining Cisco Collaboration is to deliver unparalleled experiences across all of our products -- in every pocket, office and conference room.

And, we are delivering on that mission. March 2014 has been an amazing month for Cisco Collaboration. We unveiled our newly designed video portfolio; revealed a second-to-none user experience that spans across the entire collaboration portfolio --  from the browser to the boardroom; had a tremendous presence at Enterprise Connect, and that’s just the beginning…

I have even more exciting news to share. Our newly launched video products have been awarded six Red Dot Award 2014 for high design quality – an incredible validation of our design-led approach. The following Cisco Collaboration products all received the coveted Red Dot quality seal:

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Putting the User Experience First at Enterprise Connect

Today in my keynote at Enterprise Connect in Orlando, I talked about what really matters -- the user experience with collaboration.  And, when you look at the experience that’s offered today, and you talk to end users, you realize today’s tools do not match the way people want to work.

People today want the collaboration experience to be as good on the go as it is in the office. They want it to be simple, incredibly intuitive and work across just about any device they care to use, from the boardroom to the browser and everywhere in between.

Our mission is to get amazing yet affordable collaboration into the hands of more people.  We are working on this every day.  Our recent announcement—the single biggest refresh our video portfolio has ever seen—is just one example of how we’re doing that. But, we’re not just looking at how Cisco can change the game. We are always looking at other companies that have a similar mindset and trying to see how we can do great things together.

Today, I had the pleasure of being joined onstage by Rajen Sheth of Google. We announced an exciting collaboration that I think Read More »

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