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Collaboration

By June Bower, vice president of marketing, Cisco Collaboration Software GroupLast week I called a long time friend and business associate to tell her the news: my 15 year old son had broken his pelvis playing soccer at school. She picked up on the first ring and before I could get a word in she said,”I can’t believe Noah broke his pelvis. What a bummer.” How did she know this about my son, and only the day after it happened?Well, it turns out my friend, who is the best connected over-40-year-olds I know had seen the news on my son’s Facebook page. She runs a business to help companies understand how young people communicate using technology and, in turn, help us (non-young people) learn how to use the tools they use with ease. Through our conversation I came to find out the first thing my son did when he got home from the doctors’ was to post the news to Facebook. His world knew in minutes, in fact faster than me: I only found out at the end of an all-day operations review at work. My husband wanted to save me the stress of telling me earlier.So many new ways to collaborate.It is amazing how fast news travels, how the word spreads in a time of interwoven social communities. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube,Technorati blogs, Social Median are all powerful tools to share all types of information yet tools like these have been slow to infiltrate the corporate world. Why?Typically, IT manages the control. Most IT people will tell you these consumer tools are seriously lacking what companies need to protect the process of”corporate” collaboration. Their first concern is security. Web based tools could mean the firewall is compromised. Web-based tools people outside of your company might be participating. That may have been true in the”early days” of online collaboration, but like everything else, times have changed. Smart companies in the Software-as-Service space can tell you these objections can be handled. Salesforce.com, for example, is a network-based service that manages the confidential sales data of over 43,000 customers. At WebEx, a website for Webex, a product from Cisco, we have a separate secure network called Mediatone that ensures security through a web-based private network.Stand-out team leaders are willing to take a chance.What we are learning is that many of these made-for-consumer tools are being used by corporate”innovators” around the world -- most without IT involvement. This week, during a WebEx end user focus group we held in NYC, a number of our corporate participants said they had gone beyond their IT departments to try new things to improve collaboration for their workgroups. These forward-thinking leaders face one challenge: getting their”non-youth” peers to try something new.So what about teaching old dogs new tricks? How do you get the older workforce to adopt these new ways of working? How about letting the teens and young adults show us the way? They can help us understand how online collaboration and community works. They can help in evaluating new ways of working and helping speed adoption among your workforce. After talking with my friend I decided to see just what my son had said on his Facebook page. A little wary of what I might find, I logged on. Ironically, I had to laugh, not at what my son had written, but rather the comment posted by my friend on his wall.”Don’t worry, Noah. I’ll keep your Mom busy so she doesn’t bug you too much while you are recovering.” How’s that for a true friend?by June Bower, vice president of marketing, Cisco Collaboration Software Group

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1 Comments.


  1. Sorry to hear about that, but let me tell you that your son’s accident is a good example how techonology (Facebook)sometimes is not that bad and help us to be communicated in ways that we didn’t even think before.

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