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Collaboration – a Catalyst for Change at the 2012 Olympic Games

As the nights draw in, next summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games might seem a world away, but things change fast in the business world. So how prepared are you? Is technology helping businesses benefit when the Games end?

For even the most Games-ready business, the predicted absenteeism (28% during Sydney) and deluge of holiday requests (27% of staff requesting annual leave) is a headache-inducing cocktail for HR teams.

At Cisco, we’ve been involved with the Games for a while, so we’ve been busy putting plans in place. Like being flexible and agile during the Games, which sits well with our big push to be a more collaborative business. You’d expect us to demonstrate best practice, because we’re already supporting the Games with network technology. Plus, video, collaboration and business applications are at the heart of everything we do.

Flying less – our major departure

Some time ago, we cut internal travel by 90%, which radically altered attitudes to flying to business meetings, remote working and business mobility.

From this transformation sprung The Loop – an innovative, interactive, online forum for the UK and Ireland. This live Cisco TV show is now attended by 2,000 employees.

Globally, our use of Telepresence and WebEx has exploded. Now available across 1,010 rooms in 241 cities in 59 countries, one million Telepresence meetings have saved 191,000 trips and a staggering $817 million. Every month 700,000 WebEx meetings take place – 68% more than a year ago.

What works on the web, works for us

By sharing knowledge readily and richer interaction, we’re more productive.

Our version of YouTube, Show and Share, is a runaway success too. Open to everyone, it’s a simple, effective channel and a valuable body of knowledge. With 2,000 videos added and over 120,000 views per month, it’s grown 23-fold in its first year.

Another idea ‘borrowed’ from the internet is the community wiki. Embraced by ‘interest groups’, such as IT support for Mac users, it comprises 7,000 wikis and 42,000 pages. To help people manage their information, our Integrated Workforce Experience (IWE) is our ‘internal Facebook’. Complete with dashboard, people directory, blogs and discussions, it empowers individuals to build personal communities and libraries.

Apart from simplicity, I put uptake of these channels down to people relating to our changing culture. They ‘get’ the goals, welcome technology-enabled collaboration and enjoy benefits, such as increased flexible working.

Technology is no substitute for face-to-face

How to introduce change effectively has been a steep learning curve, such as turning face-to-face into technology-enabled meetings. It’s highlighted networking in person is still fundamental, as shown by Cisco’s Virtual Sales Conference where 20,000 participants met online for the first time. Almost as vast as the 211 million air miles saved were the lessons learned – we listened and local networking events now feature too.

We want to share our learning experience with fellow HR professionals. It will help you if you’re getting ready for the Games, want to know more about the long-term benefits of closer collaboration or you’re looking at ways to future-proof your network.

So why not tap into our experience? The HR webinar is on 24 November 2011 and together with Deloitte and Lloyds TSB, we’ll be talking about Games-related HR challenges. From revenue opportunities to cultural change, you can see the Games from the HR perspective by registering here.

Find out how introducing collaboration technology can be a collaborative process in itself. With technology at the heart of what we do, anything is possible.

www.cisco.co.uk/london2012

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