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Openness and Interoperability — Cisco’s DNA

Openness and interoperability have been in Cisco’s DNA since the company shipped the first multiprotocol router in 1985. At that time, interoperability was about connecting disparate physical networks, enabling them to talk with each other and share information. Flash forward to today, and Cisco is still helping people connect, communicate, and collaborate with innovative on premise and on demand applications that use the network as a platform to share knowledge and ideas. But what does a collaboration portfolio that is founded on openness and interoperability mean to businesses? The ability to survive and thrive in a challenging economy. Openness equals choice, and choice empowers employees with the tools and communication styles they prefer to drive productivity. Different mobile phone users? No problem. “Facebook” and email users? No problem. Cisco’s collaboration portfolio works across different devices and applications within and outside the Cisco fold to foster teamwork, creativity and efficiency. Openness and interoperability enables better customer service and satisfaction. Interoperable solutions allow you to more rapidly and intelligently respond to customers with personalized service. Cisco’s contact center solutions interoperate with existing phone systems and legacy contact center systems to help deliver quality service, without having to dedicate more resources. Presence federation allows for closer relationships with customers. Rich collaboration solutions like Cisco WebEx enable the delivery of quality service and support over a wide range of computer systems and across networks.Openness and interoperability drives closer partner engagement, making partners, suppliers and distributors an integral part of a business. Whether it’s federation with IBM, Microsoft and Cisco presence information on who’s available; interoperable video communications with Cisco TelePresence and standards-based H.323 video conferencing systems for richer communications; or the development of new business transformation applications with the Cisco Unified Application Environment, Cisco’s collaboration portfolio can unlock new ways to generate higher quality leads, drive deeper and faster innovation, and win new business using existing resources.Of course, IT and Telecom departments benefit from open, interoperable collaboration solutions by being able to deploy new business transformation applications at their own pace with existing legacy TDM systems, as well as business applications from companies like IBM and, for maximum investment protection and competitive differentiation.Over the coming year, we’ll be evolving our open, interoperable Web 2.0 framework. We’ll be active with partners and developers to help expose collaboration services and new applications for heterogeneous environments. And, we’ll be contributing innovation to the open source community to help further drive communications and collaboration across companies and products. How are you or your customers using open collaboration solutions to survive and thrive in today’s economy?by Kara Wilson, vice president of marketing, Cisco Unified Communications

The End of Generation Text

Carlos Dominguez wrote a fascinating post on his recent experiences with ‘millennials’ and how they are shaping the future of work. It got me thinking that a consequence of this change in our workforce is the rapid demise of”Generation Text”.For many of us, collaboration technologies have been largely focused on text collaboration- documents, email, IM, even wikis and blogs. We’ve been part of”Generation Text”. But with changes in technology, changes in workforce and the drive to find new frontiers for step-change improvements in productivity, text collaboration is giving way to rich media, in-person collaboration technologies.We’ve spent the last decade plus using web 1.0 technologies to achieve productivity gains by automating humans out of business processes- replacing armies of data entry clerks with web self service applications in finance, HR, support, sales etc. In most cases the really big gains have already been made and now we’re making minor incremental improvements. A key characteristic of the web 2.0 era is that we are gaining productivity by improving the processes that humans must be part of by using technology to scale human interactions. Take Cisco TelePresence for example. By virtualizing in-person meetings, subject matter experts, decision makers at all levels and executives can meet more often, with more people and with less latency than any other means. The productivity gains can be startling. Cisco itself has quantified nearly $60M in productivity gains by using TelePresence. In this challenging economic climate we’re all faced with the need make decisions quickly and to collaborate effectively to execute on those decisions. Many of these decisions involve sensitive, important topics like priorities, investments and strategy where human interaction is a critical element and where the participants are often geographically disperse.

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Cisco Webinar Today: Collaborate with Confidence

Later today, Cisco and the Ponemon Institute will host a live webinar on policy and collaboration. I encourage you to attend but wanted to give you an advance look into our thinking about the interaction of these two critical technologies. At their simplest definition Security, Privacy, and Audit all deal with various facets of making sure that only the right people under the right circumstances or context can get access to specific resources, whether they be your network, your documents, your data, your applications or your people. So for example, a patient can read his medical history at any time and from any device, whereas the patient’s primary care doctor can only access the information from inside the medical center between 8am and 5pm on a weekday. In this example it is a person accessing a resource but the discussion applies equally to a resource accessing another resource, for example, an application accessing a document or another application. At its simplest definition, Governance is the set of rules and policies that define and manage the Security, Privacy, and Audit characteristics of an environment. Good governance makes these rules and policies explicit, so that they can be modeled, observed, and reasoned about. Better governance makes these policy definitions directly actionable, so that once specified they can be enforced predictably and consistently.

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“Think Smart” Team Leaders Drive Innovation via Web 2.0 Online Collaboration

By June Bower, vice president of marketing, Cisco Collaboration Software GroupLast week I called a long time friend and business associate to tell her the news: my 15 year old son had broken his pelvis playing soccer at school. She picked up on the first ring and before I could get a word in she said,”I can’t believe Noah broke his pelvis. What a bummer.” How did she know this about my son, and only the day after it happened?Well, it turns out my friend, who is the best connected over-40-year-olds I know had seen the news on my son’s Facebook page. She runs a business to help companies understand how young people communicate using technology and, in turn, help us (non-young people) learn how to use the tools they use with ease. Through our conversation I came to find out the first thing my son did when he got home from the doctors’ was to post the news to Facebook. His world knew in minutes, in fact faster than me: I only found out at the end of an all-day operations review at work. My husband wanted to save me the stress of telling me earlier.So many new ways to collaborate.It is amazing how fast news travels, how the word spreads in a time of interwoven social communities. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube,Technorati blogs, Social Median are all powerful tools to share all types of information yet tools like these have been slow to infiltrate the corporate world. Why?Typically, IT manages the control. Most IT people will tell you these consumer tools are seriously lacking what companies need to protect the process of”corporate” collaboration. Their first concern is security. Web based tools could mean the firewall is compromised. Web-based tools people outside of your company might be participating. That may have been true in the”early days” of online collaboration, but like everything else, times have changed. Smart companies in the Software-as-Service space can tell you these objections can be handled., for example, is a network-based service that manages the confidential sales data of over 43,000 customers. At WebEx, a website for Webex, a product from Cisco, we have a separate secure network called Mediatone that ensures security through a web-based private network.Stand-out team leaders are willing to take a chance.What we are learning is that many of these made-for-consumer tools are being used by corporate”innovators” around the world -- most without IT involvement. This week, during a WebEx end user focus group we held in NYC, a number of our corporate participants said they had gone beyond their IT departments to try new things to improve collaboration for their workgroups. These forward-thinking leaders face one challenge: getting their”non-youth” peers to try something new.So what about teaching old dogs new tricks? How do you get the older workforce to adopt these new ways of working? How about letting the teens and young adults show us the way? They can help us understand how online collaboration and community works. They can help in evaluating new ways of working and helping speed adoption among your workforce. After talking with my friend I decided to see just what my son had said on his Facebook page. A little wary of what I might find, I logged on. Ironically, I had to laugh, not at what my son had written, but rather the comment posted by my friend on his wall.”Don’t worry, Noah. I’ll keep your Mom busy so she doesn’t bug you too much while you are recovering.” How’s that for a true friend?by June Bower, vice president of marketing, Cisco Collaboration Software Group

Gen Y and the Collaboration Age

By Carlos Dominguez, Senior Vice President, Cisco’s Office of the Chairman of the Board and CEO“œMay we live in interesting times.” -Old Chinese ProverbIt’s amazing to see how quickly everything around us is changing, especially when it comes to technology. In 1976 (incidentally the year I graduated from high school) we enjoyed a total of three television channels: ABC, NBC and CBS. There was no cable or satellite TV with the hundreds of channels we have now, no DVRs, on demand, high def, Hulu, the Internet, e-mail, instant messaging, nor text messaging, YouTube …or many of the other technologies my teenager now uses daily. As a matter of fact, 40% of all TVs sold in 1976 were black and white. I can still see the look on my 15 year old’s face when I described what technology and life were like in 1976. “What did you do all day? Life must have been boring,” she said. My Gen Y or”millennial” daughter plus 82 million of her peers were born between 1980 and 1995 and are shaping our world by leveraging technology in all aspects of their lives. They are perpetually connected, communicating and contributing. They engage in 145 conversations about products per week (1), will wait in line for hours to get the new hot product at the Apple store, avoid ads unless they are funny or entertaining, 64% create and share artwork, photos, videos and stories online (2) and 36% of American teens want to become famous …and half believe that they will. (3) If you are lucky like me, you have one of them at home to observe with amazement, and more importantly, to learn from. The digital divide is real but involves several generations. The millennials have grown up digital. The baby boomers (1946-1964 and 82 miliion of them) and the Gen Xer’ s (1965-1981, 60 million ) have not. This divide is increasingly evident as the Gen Yer’s are joining our workforce and the multiple generations are working together. As a matter of fact, 10% (6,000+) of Cisco’s current workforce were born between 1980 and 1988 and bring with them a new set of tools, expectations and behaviors that we need to understand, and leverage. I highly recommend you seek them out in your company and learn how to optimize their experience. For example, use them as tutors on Web 2.0, as early adopters of any new technology …and seek their opinions. 1 Keller-Fay Group, 20072 Pew Internet, 20073 MTV, 2007I recently met with three fantastic, smart, confident, articulate and very connected Cisco millennials and learned a lot from our interaction. I’d like to share our conversation with you since I think they provide valuable insights. I also invite you to submit questions to the blog so we can all learn from each other and help bridge the digital divide.Here are two videos — the beginning of a series — which will help to paint a picture of the way Millennials are now collaborating.By Carlos Dominguez, Senior Vice President, Cisco’s Office of the Chairman of the Board and CEO.You may also connect with Carlos via his Facebook page.