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Collaboration

At Collaboration Summit, Cisco announced a number of exciting new technologies designed to make collaboration simple, fun, and intuitive. My friend Rowan Trollope who leads Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group, is working hard to “make technology in the office better than what you have at home.” With Cisco Expressway, Intelligent Proximity, and Jabber Guest, a few of the new products Cisco just unveiled, we are breaking down the barriers between the home and work, creating a seamless experience for staying connected. And in Rowan’s words, “You haven’t seen anything yet.” Rowan and his team are dead set on perfecting the usability aspect of our collaboration technology – making it beautiful, affordable, and easy to assemble – and my services team has the charge of perfecting another: extracting its value.

According to a 2013 Forbes Study Cisco commissioned to understand business executives’ attitudes towards collaboration, we found those who see the greatest value in collaboration technology are the ones who use it the most. Heavy users, or collaboration “leaders,” perceive a strong correlation between using collaboration tools and achieving transformational business metrics in areas like productivity, knowledge sharing, customer satisfaction, cost control, and more.

From a services perspective, collaboration success is dependent on two things: customer adoption and business outcomes. First, we want to make sure customers are using the collaboration tools they purchase, and second, we want to make sure those tools are directly supporting their business priorities.

Analytics Unlocks the Value of Collaboration

We often see companies making large investments in collaboration technology like video, TelePresence, or conferencing, but after the purchase, they don’t track its usage or evaluate whether the technology is helping them achieve the business benefits they were after. For example, we’ve seen one large financial services company purchase business video, but 18 months later, 30 percent of its employees didn’t know it was available. At an international bank, three years into a WebEx deployment, 100,000 users were registered, but only 28,000 were actively using it. That’s less than a 30 percent adoption rate.

As I’ve blogged about in the past, for new collaboration tools to be successful, employees must be aware of the tools and want to use them, and the organization must put the processes in place for employees to take advantage of them.

Cisco has partnered with industry leaders SAS, Evaluserve, MIT, and Galaxy Advisors to develop several new collaboration services based on big data analytics: Collaboration Analytics, Predictive Call Center Analytics, and Organizational Network Analysis (ONA) (for ONA, see Getting a Grip on Data in Motion).We’re already using these services with customers to improve adoption, customer service, productivity, and revenue. Below, check out some of the results we’ve produced here at Cisco with Collaboration Analytics and how we are helping a customer reduce churn with Predictive Call Center Analytics.

Collaboration Analytics Links Collaboration Behavior and Sales Performance

We looked at the collaboration traffic within our sales teams to establish benchmarks for usage and adoption and identify collaboration patterns. As is the case within many organizations, we found Cisco Sales was underusing many of the rich collaboration tools available to them in favor of email and phone. We also discovered meaningful data on who sales was communicating with and how, which we could use to improve operations. Finally, by comparing the collaboration patterns of four regional sales teams, we made a strong correlation between selling performance and sales team collaboration. Uncovering this kind of data will allow us to change behavior to ensure our collaboration technology is helping deliver desired business outcomes.

Predictive Call Center Analytics Reduces Customer Churn

If your business has a call center, there is another very effective way services can help link collaboration technology to business outcomes. Predictive call center analytics is a new service that allows businesses to analyze data in real time to deliver customer insights immediately while the customer is on the phone. Today, contact centers make decisions based on what customers tell them. What we’re able to do with our call center analytics is to help companies derive insights without asking the customer to declare his or her intent. Using analytics, we can predict if a customer is likely to churn based on historical factors. For example, we might learn that customers who call before 10:00 a.m. are more likely to cancel their service. While we may not know exactly why, we are able to use this information to take appropriate actions. These discoveries can make a huge impact on the bottom line. 

Analytics Services Lead to Collaboration Success

We know simply installing collaboration technology doesn’t lead to business transformation. An integral part of a collaboration solution is the services that help ensure customers see their return on investment and achieve the business outcomes they desire.

Please visit the cisco.com Collaboration Services page to learn more about Cisco Collaboration Services.

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