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Spark a Revolution

Today’s companies must evolve or face extinction. If they stand still, they’ll die. Pretty dramatic, I know, but that’s the reality. Forty percent of Fortune 500 companies will no longer be around in 10 years[1].

Companies in every industry know they need to move faster and innovate quickly to survive. But transforming traditional businesses into flexible, responsive, flat organizations built for speed is not easy. In fact, it’s massively challenging. But it’s this movement that will take us into the future.

Not everyone in the business world has adopted the concept of an “agile business,” but I am a believer. The move to agile has already begun. Even if some don’t get it, the people on the frontlines have already switched gears – the concept of agile was started by software developers, the people building the products and doing the work. Fourteen years later, agile may be the key to survival for businesses desperate to modernize their organizations in a digital era.

Look at the collaboration tools most people are using at work. They were built for businesses operating in a predictable world – a world of the past. Email, phones literally tied to your desk, and audio-only conferences worked well for yesterday’s business. But now, email is overloaded, the mobile is just as important as the desk phone, and audio-only conferences deliver a frustrating experience for everybody. Clearly we need something new. There isa whole host of tools that have entered the market to meet this growing demand for better collaboration experiences.

Today I am announcing how Cisco Spark, our team collaboration service launched as Project Squared in November, is changing the way companies get their work done. Read More »

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We’re Happy to Oblige

My biggest take-away from today’s set of announcements? Customers just cannot get enough of Cisco video collaboration products.

Our new Cisco TelePresence MX800 Dual, for example, was not a planned product. But after experiencing the vast, single 70-inch screen of the original MX800 (now called MX800 Single), customers told us they wanted more of that great experience. They wanted a dual-screen version. And enough of them said it that we had to oblige; hence, the MX800 Dual with two expansive 70-inch screens to show video and content equally and brilliantly.

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And not just dual screens, but dual cameras. What was once an option is now standard. The MX800 Dual is only available with the dual-camera, speaker-tracking system, because here again customers spoke. For the type of large rooms where the MX800 Dual is useful, dual cameras are required for the best visual experience. A single camera would only capture the full view of the room and participants would appear relatively small within it. Dual cameras bring the active speaker(s) full screen, basically giving everyone a front row seat and giving the meeting greater focus.

The MX800 Dual also comes to market with a few other notable enhancements that are enabled by the new Collaboration Endpoint Software 8.0 platform for Cisco room-based video systems. We are transitioning to this new software platform from what you may recall as the TC platform with TC 7.3 as the last release. The TC platform served us well for a long time, but the hardware that supported it was running out of processing power. We were forced to move to a new platform in order to continue to bring you the innovative features that you’ve come to expect from Cisco.

And innovate we did. Collaboration Endpoint Software 8.0 introduces these key new features: Read More »

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Context Matters: Announcing Context Service for Better Customer Care

“Hello, Mr. Famous, and thanks for calling 1-800-WeCanHelp! I see you bought three items from us last week, and you IM’d with our agent Chet yesterday when you had some questions about set-up. Are you calling about that same issue, or can I help you with something else?”

Calling customer service is never this painless or this easy. I usually start what can become a long, frustrating phone call by entering my account number into an interactive voice response (IVR) system. Typically, a customer service agent asks me to repeat it moments later. My call becomes a painful process of repetition. I provide numbers, ordering history, past calls to customer service, and loads of other information. And that’s before ever getting to how to solve the problem I called about in the first place.

But fast, painless, personal customer service is no longer just a dream.

Introducing Context Service for Cisco Contact Center

Today, we’re announcing Context Service for Cisco Contact Center, a cloud-based solution that tracks a customer’s critical contextual data and immediately delivers it to the service agent. Context Service integrates data from the various ways a customer can interact with your business – such as voice, chat, social media, email and web – to help the agent be better informed and make that service experience more appealing.

Context Service Diagram

With Context Service for Cisco Contact Center, a customer service agent has Read More »

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Championing the Case for Contact Center Analytics!

Contact centers have always been awash in data and data crunchers. But based on progress in data science, there is a renewed focus on analytics and how you can use it to differentiate your customer engagement strategy. When competitors offer similar products and use comparable technologies, your customer service strategy can offer meaningful advantage to your brand.

Using analytics appropriately, forward-looking companies can wring every last drop of value from their contact center processes.

Traditionally contact centers have used metrics like Average Hold Time (AHT), First Call Resolution (FCR), Abandon Rate, Occupancy, Adherence to manage the operation.

However, now they want to leverage additional data; what are the upsell opportunity, how much customers will pay; how many items each will buy in a lifetime; and what triggers will make people buy more.

Many contact centers now want to use additional data to answer more strategic questions, such as:  Read More »

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An Impromptu Meeting With A TechWomen Delegation

Not to long ago I was at the Cisco Executive Briefing Center (EBC) presenting to a customer with a co-worker of mine named Bob. It’s not uncommon for us to present together and I enjoy the dual role of going back and forth as I think it makes for a much better experience with customers combining the story of collaboration with real world examples of video. This EBC presentation was the last of the day and on our way out we came across a group of women by the fishbowl. The fishbowl (so aptly named) is a large, round room with glass walls that houses the demonstrations.

We stopped to chat and came to learn that this was a delegation of women working in IT as part of the TechWomen (http://www.techwomen.org) program. TechWomen is a professional mentorship and exchange program developed in response to President Obama’s efforts to strengthen relations between the United States and the Middle East and North Africa. We spent a few minutes asking questions and learning about the program, where everybody was from, and what their interests were in the area of technology.
10742711_309583925916595_1369717274_o Read More »

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