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Reinventing Conferencing

What kind of a world will you live in three years from now? How about five? Will your personal robot pour you a drink after your self-driving car delivers you home? That’s where we’re headed, and it’s a pretty quick trip: self-driving cars are already on public roads and you'll soon be able to buy that humanoid robot.

Cisco’s Collaboration team thinks a lot about the future—not just about how we’ll get around and get our drinks, but about how we’ll connect and collaborate. We’re passionate about the future of collaboration, about giving the world collaboration tools that are every bit as smart as those self-driving cars and whiskey-pouring robots.

Where we’re at: today’s challenges
Before we talk more about the future, let’s talk about where the industry is right now. Over the years, various vendors have given us audio conferencing, web conferencing, and video conferencing. Each of these technologies were introduced at different times, and have matured at different paces—with audio being the tried-and-true veteran, video conferencing the relative newcomer and web being the thing that came somewhere in-between.

Herein lies the problem: Read More »

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Where’s Waldo? Getting Past “Go” with Mobile Workers

Organizations today face many challenges when it comes to providing an optimum work environment. How can you turn your office space into a next-generation workplace? The answer is collaboration technology. Collaboration technology enables you to create workspaces that meet the changing needs and preferences of your employees. You can connect the unconnected, improve employee engagement, and address the realities of an increasingly virtual work environment.

In my experience, keeping pace with rapidly changing employee preferences and aligning technology requires organizations to update network infrastructure design. They need to expand employee capability and flexibility while strengthening overall network security. As more devices come online through the Internet of Everything (IoE), the workplace must evolve. And evolve in a way that meets employee needs and encourages collaboration, especially across global teams.

Business Challenges

Our organizations face many challenges when it comes to providing optimal work environments, including:

  • Enhancing employee collaboration within geographically dispersed teams
  • Encouraging more efficient work
  • Minimizing the cost and disruption of deploying new IT hardware and applications
  • Retaining the best employees

As I covered in a previous post, I think it’s important for Read More »

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Journey to the Cloud: a Smooth Transition

I speak with many business leaders about “the cloud” and how best to use it to improve collaboration. Quite often, discussions end up getting into specific services and technologies but I always try to ensure that some basic considerations are a primary focus – namely People, Processes and Culture. This video is a great overview and insight into how important it is to get the foundations right, and what questions you should ask before you start looking for a specific solution or ‘technology’.

The Three Considerations

People

People

People are your company’s greatest asset and you need to enable them fully and effectively. Increasingly, they “vote with their feet.” They use their own solutions or those provided directly by their departments instead of official IT options (shadow IT). For many reasons public cloud services are a big hit, but you can’t afford for the virtualized environment you have painstakingly created to be used only for functional or legacy workloads.  Nobody can afford a discrete, separate underutilized platform - unappreciated and with hidden value. Read More »

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Building Relationships over Distance –Tips for Success

I recently read a great article that talks about how midsized companies can take advantage of slow periods to visit customers, partners, and others to better understand their needs.

The article comes from Erik Sherman from the National Center for the Middle Market. Part of Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, the center provides knowledge, leadership, and innovative research on U.S. midsized businesses.

Sherman provides is great advice, but in a fast-moving, highly competitive economy that never seems to slow down, I would add the following points:

  • Getting to know your stakeholders shouldn’t be just a once-a- year activity
  • Engaging with them shouldn’t be limited by the ability to travel due to time or budget constraints

Let’s take the case of engaging with employees and co-workers.  As middle market companies continue to lead economic growth and job creation, Read More »

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Simplify Sales with Remote Product Demonstrations

I spent the last eight months on the front lines of the virtual demo world for Cisco. Working from our headquarters in California, I met with people from all over the world to demonstrate our latest products -- without a single plane trip. Using collaboration technology sales teams can avoid travel expenses, sell more, and increase productivity.

Most significant business purchases require some form of travel. Companies need to send sales experts out in to the world to demo their products. Or, depending on the products or the situation, customers often travel to the vendor’s site. Although travel involves expense and time, personal interaction is important to customer relationships. Travel can make the sales process more cumbersome and time consuming. But without travel, you limit the degree of direct engagement you might have before a customer makes a buying decision.

How Can Remote Demonstrations Add Value to the Sales Process?

Remote product demonstrations are providing companies with a less-expensive option to engage with customers. And the best part of it is that neither customers nor your technical experts have to travel as much. Just as video is changing the nature of meetings, it’s also a fitting solution Read More »

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