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The Promise of Collaboration in the Evolving Workspace

Post by Nader Nanjiani, product and systems marketing manager in Cisco’s Unified Communications business unitandDave Butt, Manager of operations for Cisco’s Unified Communications business unitSimply put, to collaborate is to tap into the expertise of others when performing work. An individual’s expertise on a topic may be limited, but being able to pull in the skills of others, who may be remote, preferably in real time, could improve both the efficiency and the effectiveness of our work. Consider for a moment how we work. If we look at the functions we perform within our workspace on a daily basis, we may classify them into four distinct buckets: We devise, we transact, we produce and we interact -- in no particular order. Devising relates to all the”figuring things out” stuff that we do at work such as planning, assessing, searching, or strategizing. Transactions, on the other hand, relate to tasks around negotiation, buying, payment processing, ordering, pricing, selling or acquiring. Interaction refers to us talking, conferring or meeting other colleagues for advice, approval, input or guidance. And production refers to creation of content whether that might be documents, deliverables, widgets or services. Technology tools have always had a role, but so far have not permeated through those work buckets. Read More »

Welcoming Securent to the Cisco Family

Post by Joe Burton, Chief Technology Officer, Unified CommunicationsAs I read my colleague Alan Cohen’s excellent Halloween post the other day, I was reminded of the many conversations I’ve had with our best customers concerning  how  to manage who has access to what type of  information -- the notion of policy management across an organization. Virtually all our customers want the business acceleration of Unified Communications, collaboration, and web 2.0. In fact, we would all like to use these capabilities to give us what we want, how we want it, on any device, RIGHT NOW. Read More »

Kramer’s “Movie Phone”: Better than today’s Customer Self-Service?

Post by Sean O’Connell, Manager of Product Marketing for Cisco’s Customer Contact Business UnitRemember the great”Seinfeld” episode, in which Jerry’s neighbor Kramer attempts to imitate an automated voice self-service system for”Movie Phone,” and then after not being able to identify the dual-tone multifrequency selections (aka Touch-Tone),”upgrades” himself to support automated speech recognition? (The punch line being”why don’t you just tell me the movie you selected?”). Sadly, the reality is that Kramer’s hilarious imitation does a better job of than some (most?) of the speech recognition systems in operation today.In the area of customer service, which offers companies the potential for competitive (dis)advantage, many today offer their customers a variety of self-service options. Typically, one of those self-service options is the interactive voice response (IVR), or voice self-service, system. If you’re like me, perhaps you prefer to use self-service systems to avoid the potential hazards of live customer service, such as long wait times or being transferred from agent to agent. Read More »

Learning Globally Using Collaborative Technology

Post by Michael Caton, Collaboration Evangelist, WebExPhil Leigh of Inside Digital Media has an interesting podcast with Dr. John Stuppy president of TutorVista, a one-on-one virtual tutoring service. TutorVista turns the tutoring model on its ear, most students will subscribe for $100 per month and have unlimited access to tutors to help them with a range of subjects. These students would largely be either high school or college students looking for help in a given subject or subjects. TutorVista tutors are full-time employees that are globally dispersed, have advanced degrees and use a virtual whiteboard application (it’s WebEx) and VoIP to interact one-on-one with students. TutorVista has an advantage over traditional tutoring companies in that the company doesn’t have to be concerned about scaling physical infrastructure, i.e. classrooms, with demand. Read more.

Ghostbusters and New “Law of Collaboration”

In the sprit of Halloween, I thought about the classic Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis film, Ghostbusters, after apparently defeating the evil spirit”Gozer,” the character Winston Zedmore joyously declares:”We have the tools. We have the talent.” ghostbusters.gifIn an offbeat way, these comedians created a snapshot of many of the collaboration issues that businesses are dealing with in the area of Unified Communications and Web 2.0 social networking technologies. How do you marry the rich complex talent of your employees, partners and customers to solve a business challenge within the secure boundaries of your information and communication systems? To be more pointed, a significant challenge arises when you try to break down command and control business cultures to create agile enterprises that embrace inclusion, while maintaining the boundaries of privacy and security and adhering to ever-increasing industry regulations such as accounting reform (Sarbanes-Oxley), health care information privacy (HIPPA), and account data security (PCI). While”the wall” on Facebook is a great place to post messages, I am not sure most people want their dentist or banker posting private information in this emerging communications environment. Read More »