by Alan S. Cohen, vice president, Enterprise Solutions, Cisco.
I am a recovering (semi-competitive) mid and long-distance runner. At an advanced age (in my late 20s), I finished my last serious competitive race at 5:20 a.m., skidding a finish line on the FDR expressway in New York, having run the inaugural leg of America’s Ekiden. As part of the Washington, D.C. delegation, we ran the relay race through Manhattan at the wee hours – it was primetime television in Japan – and I finished dead last in my segment when I passed the sash to my anxious teammate. Like all runners, I competed against myself. And I lost. I should have known I was out-classed when I stood behind Steve Scott at the starting line. At that time, Scott was the American record holder in the mile, 5K, and several other feats of running prowess.
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Most companies have barriers within functions and across functions, for example a sales person wanting to collaborate efficiently with another sales person or a sales person collaborating effectively with purchasing and R&D. The situation is further complicated in a world where companies operate globally and have to work across different cultures, languages and time zones. Finally, more and more companies are recognising the advantages of being able to collaborate with external partners and suppliers.
Without a willingness to change the fundamental processes and culture and a flexible underlying infrastructure, organisations risk remaining captive to their legacy environments, forever held back by what’s gone before. As organisations assess their operations as a result of the recent downturn, there is an opportunity to make significant changes that will deliver cost saving in the short term but position the company for unprecedented growth in the future.
By Tim Stone, Cisco Business Development Manager
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Truly productive collaboration means being able to interact quickly without boundaries – without being hampered by the need to change devices, launch new applications, or switch between screens. It’s long been recognised that business users don’t care about the technology – they merely want the assurance that they can go about their jobs efficiently and effectively. Whether they need to track down someone and discover their availability for contact, strike up an ad-hoc conversation (by phone, instant message, SMS, email, voicemail, tele-meeting, web conference or video session), or share content securely over a variety of networks, the process should be easy and uniform.
For optimal results, organisations need to free users from any restrictions, provided of course that the resulting collaboration environment is inherently and robustly secure – something that should be a given with the right technology partner. Innovative, high-performing collaboration applications strike straight at the heart of organisations’ fundamental needs to work more dynamically and interactively with partners and customers. Being slick and agile means being able to form and disband teams on the fly, provide timely access to relevant information, regardless of where people are located or which technologies are at their disposal.
By Tim Stone, Sales Business Development Manager
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As CTO for Unified Communications at Cisco, I’m involved in all three ways in which Cisco creates product innovations: current product evolution, partnerships & acquisitions, and internal innovation. My team and I help to ensure that Cisco strikes the appropriate balance between the three as we build products to meet the needs of our customers and partners.
When Cisco innovates, we ensure the usefulness of our innovations with five criteria. We ask whether our innovations enable our customer to:
• Reduce costs
• Improve employee productivity
• Increase customer intimacy
• Differentiate versus their competitors
• Innovate within their business
By Joe Burton, CTO and Vice President, Voice Technology Group
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Large-scale, all-virtual meetings are rapidly becoming the norm at Cisco. What’s the underlying concept at work in transforming the way we conduct these events? Network-enabled collaboration. By beginning to adopt our own video and collaboration solutions with Web 2.0 technologies, we’re lowering costs, avoiding the need to travel, and improving the overall meeting experience for attendees.
The Cisco IT Global Virtual Collaboration case study describes how Cisco IT supported the company’s annual Strategic Leadership Offsite meeting of more than 3100 Cisco executives with a powerful global virtual event. Enabling Cisco products included Cisco TelePresence, Cisco TV, Cisco WebEx Meeting Center, and Cisco WebEx Event Center.
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