Having read Groundswell recently, I cannot agree more with a concept explained in the book about how companies should enter the social media world and how they should approach the implementation of some tools. The concept is an acronym called POST (People, Objectives, Strategy and Technology) and even though the authors apply it to the social tools, I think it also applies perfectly to the more broad collaboration solutions. Let’s see why:
- People: it is the fundamental pillar where the success of a collaboration solution rests upon. Improving the communication between our users by changing the way they can interact to each other means changing how people talk and relate to other people. And this is difficult. I remember an event organized by Steelcase where they invited the directors of building infrastructure and facilities for the biggest companies in my country. I was invited to do a talk there about trends in the collaboration industry and when I asked which one (People, Technology or Process) was the hardest to change, the answer was overwhelming clear: People. Start with how your users will benefit from the solution you plan to implement. Find out their communication habits. Profile them into different user types so you can tackle specific needs. And most important, think about the user experience they will feel when using the new technology. The degree of satisfaction from that user experience will be the degree of success of your project
- Objectives: Why do you want to change how your users behave? What are the benefits you want to obtain from deploying that collaboration solution? And by benefits I’m not just referring to being up to date with technology or replacing your old pbx for the sake of it. You do need to find your own drivers. You need to picture how improving the way people talk to others will help your business. And you need to make it clear to all users. From the previous point, there is going to be an effort from them in learning the new solution, so they better be presented with the benefits they will achieve or else they’ll be reluctant to change. Think of objectives also as those things your company does for running the business that could be enhanced if done differently. This is about changing processes too. An last but not least: think how you will measure the degree of achievement of your objectives
- Strategy: In a nutshell, how are you going to deploy the solution? Are you going to have a pilot first and then a slow deployment group by group? Or are you going full-speed and allowing everyone from day one to enjoy the new system? This is where you define the priorities based on what users are more suitable to start working the new way and help achieving the objectives planned. A big part of the strategy of deploying a new collaboration solution is how the old world will coexist with the new one (since there will be a period where the two are alive at the same time) and how the new system will start shaping out from the old one.
- Technology: finally. And yes, it is the last step. This is where you decide which solution, product or vendor is more suitable for meeting your objectives, enabling your people to better communicate and be deployed optimally.
What I found sometimes is that we start the house from the roof instead of the basement. We tend to immediately chose a product or solution hoping that it will shape the other components and ultimately change our people’s behaviors. And that’s one of the most common reasons why deployments fail or stall after some time. Order matters. Start from the top and go down.
As a follow up to a recent post, “Lessons about cloud from Enterprise Connect,” which discusses the merits of moving to cloud-based collaboration solutions, I wanted to dig a little deeper into which collaboration applications should be a priority for your move from premise-based to cloud-based solutions.
While we at Cisco certainly realize that cloud-based collaboration solutions are not a “one size fits all” deployment, we’ve outlined our suggested priorities as you work to migrate your collaboration technology to the cloud.
In order to maximize the return on your collaboration investment I’d first suggest going with a robust instant messaging (IM) and presence solution in order to collaborate more effectively with colleagues, partners, and customers. Cisco’s answer is Cisco Jabber a unified communications platform that in addition to IM and presence includes voice, video, desktop sharing and conferencing. With Jabber available from a wealth of mobile and fixed endpoints (from iPhone to Android, to the iPad and to both Windows and Mac) having this application migrated to your organization’s cloud allows you to work from any workspace, on any device, giving you the opportunity to communicate from truly anywhere.
Next, I’d suggest incorporating a web / video conferencing solution in order to stay engaged with colleagues, customers and partners from afar in the current mobile workplace ecosystem, which is not showing signs of slowing down. Cisco WebEx® Conferencing increases productivity and accelerates results with the ability to meet anytime, anywhere, in a compelling and cost-effective package.
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Tags: Cisco, cloud, cloud collaboration, cloud services, collaboration, Enterprise, enterprise apps
Guest post from Hans Hwang, Vice President of Collaboration within Cisco Advanced Services.
At last month’s Enterprise Connect (EC), there was a lot of discussion around the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, and how IT departments are enabling this “new collaboration experience.” As OJ Winge, SVP and GM of Cisco’s Collaboration Endpoints Technology Group, outlined in his EC keynote, collaboration is becoming more “mobile, social, visual and virtual.” This is especially true as employees look to smartphones and tablets to enable them to collaborate more efficiently and effectively, and get their jobs done whenever and wherever they are. This increasing desire for untethered collaboration, without compromising on the collaboration experience, means IT departments must take a side.
The Proactive Enabler or the Passive Supporter
Whether IT embraces or ignores this trend, there are serious concerns for companies: impact on network, security, governance and liability questions. IT has a choice: they can either choose to embrace the opportunities BYOD policies bring, and become known as strong enablers and leaders to employee productivity and flexible work styles. Or, IT can limit users’ device choices and act as a passive supporter for a company’s workforce.
A passive approach might be to approve only one or two specific devices, and to restrict access and limit applications. A enabling approach might be to allow a choice of mobile devices and applications, to support collaboration on these devices and to reduce security risk with technology, policy, governance and training.
Cisco Recognizes Mobility is an Integrated, Critical Element of a Collaboration Strategy
Mobility has quickly risen to the #2 technology priority for CIOs as opposed to three to four years ago when it was ranked number 12. (Gartner CIO Study)
To help IT plan and prepare for the impact to collaboration, Cisco Services has introduced a dedicated practice for Mobile Collaboration Services. This new Cisco practice is designed to help IT departments connect their organizations’ business imperatives to mobile collaboration business transformation opportunities. Experts from this practice can also help organizations prepare their network and communications infrastructure to deliver a compelling collaboration experience.
Next Steps for IT Managers
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Tags: byod, Cisco, Cisco Jabber, collaboration, mobile, mobility
Like most business leaders, my most precious asset is time – and when I look at my schedule I’m spending about 80% of my time in meetings. Some studies suggest the average knowledge worker spends around half their time in meetings. When I measure my own personal productivity, by definition, there’s no more important place to look than these meetings.
We’ve all been in “meeting hell,” where we’re asking basic questions like, “Who called this meeting?” or “What’s the agenda?” or “What are we trying to accomplish here?”
If you’ve ever asked these or similar questions during meetings, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Increased collaboration means increased interaction with others, which means more meetings. And, with more work being done collaboratively and in virtual settings, often with people in different time zones or even different countries with whom you haven’t spent a lot of time face to face, imagine the opportunities to be more effective. That’s why it’s absolutely essential for your teams to systematically make the most of your time together.
It’s a great feeling when you conclude a highly productive meeting–wouldn’t it be great if you could dramatically increase the productivity of all your meetings? With this goal in mind, we developed what we call the Clarity of Purpose model for meeting management, which involves four straightforward steps meeting owners can take to ensure collaborative sessions of any kind are as productive as possible.
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Tags: carl_wiese, carl_wiese_blog, collaboration, collaboration-imperative, collaboration_imperative, collaboration_imperative_blog, effective_meetings, meeting, ron_ricci, ron_ricci_blog, video
Have you ever sent an e-mail that’s been misinterpreted and it took a long time to sort out the miscues? I have. And I suspect that many of you reading this blog have too.
So, it wasn’t surprising to see that a recent study by the Economist Intelligent Unit found that 88% of business leaders feel that a significant misunderstanding will slow them down. And 75% believe that in-person collaboration is critical to their business success. Perhaps that’s because 54% consider gauging engagement and focus to be the most important part of communications. And you do that through a combination of visual and audio cues, such as facial expressions, gestures and body language, tone of voice.
In my own interactions I do believe this is critical, but in today’s world you can’t always be there in person. Read More »
Tags: collaboration, Economist Intelligence Unit, in person communication, in-person, kids, remote meetings, survey, TelePresence, video collaboration