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Collaboration in the Cloud: Here to Stay

This certainly has been a monumental year for Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solutions (HCS), as many service providers such as Verizon and Orange Business Services, embraced the cloud and the potential services that can come with it. In the case of  their business customers, these service providers now offer them a slew of unified communications tools (such as video conferencing and mobility solutions ) through the cloud to allow  their employees to communicate and collaborate wherever they are and on whatever device.

Even our partners are seeing the value that collaboration via the cloud can offer its customers; as one of our channel partners, Neutral Tandem, announced yesterday. As an expert in operating and managing IP networks, Neutral Tandem introduced the first cloud-based collaboration service in the United States specifically developed to be resold by Cisco’s Value-Added Reseller (VAR) community and System Integrators (SIs). The service, based on Cisco’s HCS, will enable VARs/SIs to deliver a full suite of unified communications and collaboration applications.

I guess you can say that cloud collaboration is in full swing as it continues to gain traction steadily in the market. Read More »

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How to Start Freelancing; Free WebEx Event Provides Advice

Laura Spencer writes an interesting blog today, 10 of the Most Surprising Things about Freelancing. I think at some point, everyone has the fantasy of breaking free of the corporate hamster wheel and going out on their own. Especially if you have a skill set that can be easily transferred to different situations.

Freelancing is 100% risk. You are responsible for selling your skills and building a client base. You almost never turn down work because you never know when the next assignment will come along. It’s risky and it’s true what Laura says, you really don’t get “personal days” unless you do some careful planning.

But what if you aren’t ready to jump into freelancing 100% of the time?

There are ways you can put your foot in the water and see if you have Read More »

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A Partner’s View on the Changing UK Contact Center Market

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog “Customer Collaboration Takes the UK by Storm”, a big part of my week in the UK was spent meeting with key channel partners.  One of those partners, Touchbase, made it clear that they see the same changes that we’re seeing in the market. Formerly Avaya’s largest partner in the UK, Touchbase began seeing changes in the market a few years ago—so much so that they transitioned their business entirely from Avaya to Cisco.

Mike Danson, Managing Director of Touchbase UK, shared some thoughts with me in a short video here: http://communities.cisco.com/videos/8619.

Beyond the video, Mike shared with me the investments that Touchbase is making in being able to demonstrate Cisco Customer Collaboration to customers at its new Executive Briefing Center and also shared a quote from one of their clients, Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, a 2200-person law firm with more than 300 contact center agents on Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise.  The firm’s Group Operations Director, Gary Jackson, said, “Our communication infrastructure lies at the heart of our business. It’s therefore crucial that we have the support of companies like Touchbase who can offer their expertise and knowledge to help ensure we can continue to grow.”

I also love to hear about customers and partners that are seeing success with Cisco solutions.  That’s certainly the case with Touchbase, and I look forward to seeing more of that success as we continue to focus on the UK market.

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Customer Collaboration Takes the UK by Storm

I spent last week in the UK meeting with a host of customers, partners, consultants, analysts, and reporters.  After a busy and intense week of long days (and a few evenings), I can say that I have never seen a market so ready for Customer Collaboration and for how Cisco is approaching this market.

Over the next several days, I’ll be sharing some specifics in additional blogs, but I thought I’d kick things off with a summary blog.  Beginning with my first day of meetings, I was struck again by the enthusiasm of the Cisco sales teams for Customer Collaboration, reinforcing what I blogged about recently in “Cisco Customer Collaboration driving aggressively to #1.”  The reporters I met with keyed in on important aspects of Customer Collaboration, including social media and cloud-based contact centers; they were also particularly interested in customer stories. I will be sharing more on my press interactions as articles are published in the coming days and weeks.

Speaking of customers, James Hughes, the global communications manager for our customer Investec, was very interested in Read More »

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The Next-Gen Collaborator: Ready for a Mobile Workplace

Today, we’re featuring a guest post from Eric Schoch, senior director for hosted collaboration  in Cisco’s Collaboration organization. Eric is responsible for hosted and “as a service” solutions, strategic pricing and licensing, and business development.

There is simply no denying the increasing importance of being connected. Generation Y in particular, who grew up with mobile devices affixed almost permanently to their hands, views connectivity as one of life’s fundamental resources.

The newest addition to the workforce considers their mobile devices as an essential workplace tool to managing their workload and connecting with their colleagues on the go. While sitting in a meeting or having lunch in the break room, you can almost visualize the text bubbles hovering over crowds of this generation of workers as fingers hammer away at phones and tablets, eyes glued to the shiny screens in their hands. BYOD

But this trend goes far beyond lunch hours and happy hours. As proven by Chapter Two of the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report, the next-generation workforce is demanding flexibility in their choice of devices in both the workplace and remote-work options, illustrating the importance of the Internet in workforce culture. Social media freedom, device flexibility, and work mobility, in the case of 30% of the study’s respondents, are more important when accepting a job than a higher salary.

Read More »

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