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Mobilizing the New Collaboration Experience in the BYOD Era

Guest post from Hans Hwang, Vice President of Collaboration within Cisco Advanced Services.

At last month’s Enterprise Connect (EC), there was a lot of discussion around the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, and how IT departments are enabling this “new collaboration experience.” As OJ Winge, SVP and GM of Cisco’s Collaboration Endpoints Technology Group, outlined in his EC keynote, collaboration is becoming more “mobile, social, visual and virtual.”  This is especially true as employees look to smartphones and tablets to enable them to collaborate more efficiently and effectively, and get their jobs done whenever and wherever they are.  This increasing desire for untethered collaboration, without compromising on the collaboration experience, means IT departments must take a side.

The Proactive Enabler or the Passive Supporter

Whether IT embraces or ignores this trend, there are serious concerns for companies:  impact on network, security, governance and liability questions. IT has a choice: they can either choose to embrace the opportunities BYOD policies bring, and become known as strong enablers and leaders to employee productivity and flexible work styles. Or, IT can limit users’ device choices and act as a passive supporter for a company’s workforce.

A passive approach might be to approve only one or two specific devices, and to restrict access and limit applications. A enabling approach might be to allow a choice of mobile devices and applications, to support collaboration on these devices and to reduce security risk with technology, policy, governance and training.

Cisco Recognizes Mobility is an Integrated, Critical Element of a Collaboration Strategy
Mobility has quickly risen to the #2 technology priority for CIOs as opposed to three to four years ago when it was ranked number 12. (Gartner CIO Study)

To help IT plan and prepare for the impact to collaboration, Cisco Services has introduced a dedicated practice for Mobile Collaboration Services. This new Cisco practice is designed to help IT departments connect their organizations’ business imperatives to mobile collaboration business transformation opportunities.  Experts from this practice can also help organizations prepare their network and communications infrastructure to deliver a compelling collaboration experience.

Next Steps for IT Managers

  1. Acknowledge that users will bring personal devices and applications into the workplace (remember when the Internet first made its way into the office?), and determine whether your company’s IT department will serve as a BYOD team active enabler or passive supporter.
  2. Understand what users are looking for:  what communications capabilities and applications will help them get their job done? Also, consider what IT can do to make access and use of these applications more secure, and accessible on a variety of devices.  Cisco offers mobile clients for Cisco Collaboration applications allow consistency of experience without compromising security, and in March announced Cisco Jabber releases for iPad and Windows.
  3. Engage Cisco and partners to help map out and implement your strategy for mobile collaboration that will proactively address business objectives and provide enhanced security while enhancing customer satisfaction.

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