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Under the Hood: Cisco Collaboration Cloud

It’s been two weeks since the launch of Project Squared and the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. We’ve received fantastic feedback and great uptake. And we’re really happy that so many people are using Project Squared – and liking the experience.

I’d like to take you on a little behind-the-scenes tour and shed some light on the Cisco Collaboration Cloud and how it works. Here is a 10,000 foot view of the architecture:

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The core architecture is built on OpenStack. We use it for compute, networking, and storage services. OpenStack supports both the functional components of the architecture as well as the operational services, such as: logging, metrics, events, health and even VPN services (for inter-DC messaging and replication). Read More »

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Expressway: The Invisibility Cloak for Mobile & Remote Users

Improving workforce productivity is about more than telling employees to work harder, do more, and think faster. It’s about giving them the right resources and removing barriers so that they can do more.  One way Cisco is helping organizations improve productivity is by making our technology invisible to users.  We’re designing our products to be so intuitive that the complexity of the technology fades away and simply lets the end-users do what they need to do.  No training, no extra buttons to push, no fancy set ups, and no need to involve IT.   It’s a journey, but we are making progress.  A great example of this progress is Cisco Expressway, our advanced collaboration gateway.  It is the “invisibility cloak” for a variety of use cases including for mobile and remote workers.

Unknown to remote and mobile Cisco Jabber users, Cisco Expressway is behind the scenes doing the work to make their experiences secure and easy.  Employees simply log into Jabber and begin collaborating on their device of choice no matter where they are.  It’s Expressway’s firewall traversal technology working in the background that hides (eliminates) the need for the user to fire up a VPN. And with Expressway x8.5’s new single sign-on capabilities, employees do not need their user name and password every time they want to access a different application on Jabber.  It just works.

Similarly, Expressway is helping teleworkers by enabling VPN-less access for Cisco endpoints including Read More »

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Simplifying Management of Consolidated Networks

It started with voice: Get more from your corporate infrastructure investments by moving audio traffic onto the data network. It was a good idea that made good financial sense. It caught on. It became pervasive.

As it did, we looked for more ways to leverage that same network investment – extending it to include instant messaging, presence, and video. This evolution vastly increased the significance and value of these collaboration tools. But that sophistication came with management challenges.

When limited to IP telephony, the management tools could live within the solution itself. But extending the scope with more elements added complexity and new challenges: Not only were there additional pieces to roll out, monitor, and manage, but now you had to master management interfaces for each one.

Simplicity is one of the key tenets of an effective collaboration solution. Collaboration is about making connections. It’s about removing barriers that make it difficult or frustrating for people to connect. You want it to take fewer clicks to access the information and people you need to make decisions and interact effectively. The smoother the process, the quicker and better quality the results.

For users across an organization to adopt a collaboration solution, it has to be easy and intuitive. By the same thinking, if the deployment and management are too difficult, chances are the IT department won’t adopt the technology. The last thing IT needs is more complexity.

Cisco has made significant efforts to consolidate and simplify the management of collaboration networks. Read More »

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Privacy v. Productivity: The CIOs Role in Shaping Future of Work Policies

According to Cisco’s 2014 Connected World Technology Report, the future of work will be more flexible and collaborative than ever before. In this two-part blog series, Rowan Trollope, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group, explores how the IT and business landscape is changing based on this new research and how organizations can prepare. Read the first blog in the series, The Future of Work & Collaboration, here.

We are facing a generation of knowledge workers who have essentially grown-up online. Most of the future workforce will have an online presence from the day they are born – being online is as natural as breathing and its fundamental to their social and work lives. These “digital natives” also don’t see a tradeoff between security and privacy: they want the access they want when they want it.

This changing tide in the workforce means that CIOs must empower the next generation of workers with the latest applications to enable them to work how they want to personally – whether that’s on a corporate-owned device or not. Workers need access to the right collaboration tools at the right time; and if they don’t have those tools, they’ll find them on their own – outside the structure and purview of the enterprise.

For organizations to succeed in this future work environment, Read More »

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Put People First: Using Video to Enhance Relationships

AP11495How can you make the most of every opportunity to delight your existing client base?
How do you identify new areas to expand your business?
How can you improve employee engagement?

These are just a few of the challenges that organizations face today.

Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends 2014 survey explores “two major themes underlying this year’s trends: globalization and the speed and extent of technological change and innovation.” The survey authors also describe the challenge of employee retention and engagement as — after leadership — the second-most urgent issue for the organizations surveyed.  The challenge is not simply identifying and keeping staff, but creating a “passionate and compassionate” place for them to work.

In its own survey, Virgin Media found that 78% of U.K. employees believe that companies need to offer “anytime, anywhere” work flexibility to attract and retain staff.

Therefore, with increasing globalization and the need to support flexible working environments to retain and nurture talent, we rely more on collaboration technology to build strong relationships with colleagues, customers, and partners.

Create the Environment for Good Connections

How can you ensure that employees stay connected with colleagues and with customers and partners? Read More »

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