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Key Components of the Cisco Collaboration Core Infrastructure

So, you’ve decided to introduce a collaboration solution to your organization. You’ve thought about the benefits you want it deliver: flexibility, expandability, and interoperability. And you want the user experience to be easy enough for everyone to use — not just the engineers or executives.

Great. You are on the right path. But what next? Now it’s time to become familiar with the components that make it all work.

Cisco has created a collaboration core infrastructure that provides the intelligence behind the experience. It powers the industry’s leading collaboration portfolio, which includes flexible cloud services and endpoints to fit any need or budget.

The Cisco Collaboration core infrastructure has four key components:

  • Call control and session management
  • Conferencing
  • Collaboration gateways
  • Unified management

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Making Teamwork Simpler

I thought I’d spend a few moments to share a little about what we’re working on in the Cloud Collaboration Technology Group at Cisco. Simplifying collaboration has been top of mind. But it’s been evident that we needed to think about it differently this time.

There is a new type of worker that has emerged that requires collaboration at any place and at any time. They stay constantly in touch with their colleagues and rapidly create and share new ideas, concepts and documents. They fuel shorter project cycles and juggle more projects at one time.  They are not bound by hierarchies that say who they can and should work with: they simply find the right people the need to work with to get their jobs done, and get to it.  They are agile, work in small teams and they are moving fast.  Does this sound familiar to you?

So when we think about what’s next, we believe there is a tremendous opportunity to create a new class of collaboration tool that is specifically targeted to these types of workers, and here’s what we think is needed: Read More »

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For Better Collaboration Try Breaking The Rules

I recently read an article Why Getting It Wrong Is the Future of Design. It speaks to how innovative design changes often come from doing things that would be considered completely wrong. The article focuses on art, graphics, architecture, theater, movies, tableware, and even video games. Then I read this line “I was following the rules, then selectively breaking one or two for maximum impact.” and it got me thinking. What are the rules to collaboration and can we break a couple that result in better collaboration?

I’ve always been one for experimentation in trying different things, using various products, and embracing change. After reading this article I’ve been trying to selectively break a few rules and thinking about other rules to break. It hasn’t been easy, because there are many hard and fast best practices on how to collaborate. Here’s some of what I have come up with:

  • Forego physical meeting rooms: If the entire team is physically located in the same area could they be just as, or even more effective meeting virtually? There are a lot of remote workers and many teams at Cisco are geographically dispersed so virtual meetings are a must, but if a team is located in the same building many members will still attend virtually.  I can see benefit to this approach. People who couldn’t attend would simply review the meeting recording at their convenience and not rely on meeting minutes. The team could also move away from fragmented means of communications to using virtual meeting rooms (Cisco Spark) for correspondence. Since most projects involve shared input into documents, room based document control is a great way to provide visibility to changes without relying on a single person to collate individual updates and rely on e-mail to share updates. Perhaps the biggest benefit would be consistency in attending the meetings in the same way, but also being able to always have a place for ad hoc meetings and tasks while providing visibility to everybody.

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Don’t You (Forget about Employee Engagement)

Tonight I’m heading out for a huge slice of nostalgia. I’m going to see 1980s pop group Simple Minds. No doubt there’ll be much reminiscing and swaying of hands to classics like “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”

This year Cisco has been celebrating its 30th birthday. Another recent addition to the 30-something list is the movie “The Breakfast Club.” This John Hughes classic became an icon of the time and helped make Simple Minds and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” world famous.

As a remote worker, I understand it could be easy to feel “forgotten” and become disillusioned with a lack of information and sporadic contact with your managers, peers, and co-workers. How do you, for example: Read More »

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The Importance of Taking an Integrated Architectural Approach to Your Collaboration Deployment

Collaboration is all about enabling diverse and distributed team members, both inside and outside your organization to effectively communicate, share information, and work toward a common goal. The benefits of collaboration show up as:

  • Productivity gains
  • Better and faster decision making
  • Improved communication and teamwork
  • The ability for remote and virtual team members to take part meaningfully

Before investing in new collaboration technology, it pays to take a moment and define your goals: What do you want collaboration to deliver, and to whom?

I’m not talking about departmental or point-to-point focused  goals that will address only an immediate need (like deploying video endpoints to several offices to enable better team interaction for a particular group, say an engineering team). I am talking about looking beyond that.

What benefits do want your organization as a whole to derive from collaboration? Read More »

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