By Kara Wilson, vice president of marketing, Cisco Unified Communications Collaboration technology is in the midst of a perfect storm. We’re in the worst bear market we’ve seen in decades, yet savvy companies are using the downturn to plan for future growth and build sustainable competitive barriers. A new technology investment cycle is imminent, and many businesses are already seeking ways to improve worker productivity with reduced resources. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will invariably facilitate investment and assist companies in developing critical communications infrastructures with applications to grow the business and better serve their constituents. Advancement in technology: green, video, Web 2.0, and mobility along with regulatory change is also impacting how technology is assessed, implemented, and used.If you’re looking for ways to survive and thrill in today’s economy, I’d like to invite you to join us for the Cisco IT Innovations Forum online conference entitled “Thriving in Turbulent Times” on Thursday, May 7th at 8:00 a.m. EDT. The session will focus on how you can control costs, increase productivity, and accelerate innovation, and will featuring real-world answers and customer-proven solutions to help navigate these turbulent times. To register or for more information, please visit http://tinyurl.com/cmyv3p. Many of our customers believe that collaboration carries a very strong ROI, with significant upside benefit to their companies and to end users. Where are you in collaboration technology planning today?