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Mud, Lightning and Collaboration

GlastonburyDespite having spent most of a weekend stood in mud, rain and thunderstorms at the Glastonbury festival, I’ve spent time since happily reflecting on some of the amazing collaboration between performers over the three days.  Aside from the various bands, whose members (presumably) work closely together all the time to perfect their sound, there were some fairly unlikely partnerships on display too.  Dolly Parton and Richie Sambora from Bon Jovi rocking to “Lay Your Hands on Me” for example. Or Ed Sheeran and Rudimental ripping it up in the middle of an electrical storm.

These combinations got me to thinking about how businesses with very different skill sets and competencies frequently come together to collaborate.  For small to midsized businesses the ability to collaborate effectively with partners, suppliers and customers is often critical to success.

Many organizations collaborate specifically to accelerate growth and innovation.  According to the Plante Moran 2013 Innovation Survey  of 4,225 business leaders,   94% of respondents felt that Innovation was important to sustainability and growth. And three quarters felt that collaborating would increase their chances of success with innovation, with the majority open to sharing financial risk and reward.

“Collaboration was considered a possible jumpstarter for innovation among three out of four of the respondents to the innovation survey.” Plante Moran 2013 Innovation Survey

So the question is -- how is your business collaborating with external third parties?  And can modern collaboration technology help?

For rock stars, hopping onto a private jet to spend a week in a studio collaborating for a one-off performance may be an option.  But for midsized organizations looking for sustainable partnerships that approach is unlikely to “fly”. Traditional voice calls and email, combined with an occasional in-person visits, don’t seem to be enough anymore.

At Cisco we believe that the ability to seamlessly communicate with a choice of media, using any device is critical.  And we’ve been helping thousands of businesses to enhance relationships with key stakeholders for many years.  Cisco and its partners are helping businesses to collaborate with each other by:

  • Providing mobile workers the ability to simply and securely connect with co-workers, customers and partners using Cisco Jabber mobile UC clients
  • Enabling secure, high definition video meetings from any device – from the browser to the boardroom – using video conferencing room systems,  desktop endpoints and mobile systems
  • Hosting online meetings using Cisco WebEx and TelePresence to share content and work together on it.
  • Federating instant messaging and presence to allow trusted partners to know when each other’s staff are available use chat to respond to questions in a timely fashion

Take for example Italian book distributor  Emmelibri, who’s staff use Cisco Collaboration Solutions to collaborate with partners and suppliers to respond to their customers’ needs quickly and efficiently and stay ahead of the completion.

“We wanted our employees and partners to be able to connect at any time and in any location, so they can resolve issues quickly and serve our customers faster.”
Luca Paleari, Chief Technology Officer, Emmelibri

These are just a few ways Cisco is enabling customers to extend their reach beyond organizational, technological and geographic boundaries to innovate faster, respond to customer needs quicker and stay ahead of the competition.

I certainly found some inspiration through collaboration in the Glastonbury mud.  Why not think about your external relationships and how you can work better together to create performances that amaze, excite and delight your customers?

And if you need more inspiration, check out our new IT Brief -- Collaboration Solutions for Midsize Businesses.  It features exclusive access to research from Gartner, plus collateral, case studies and videos showing how Cisco Collaboration Solutions are helping to drive business growth.

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