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Collaboration

Post by David Hsieh, Director of Solutions Marketing for Cisco’s Emerging Technology Group.One of things I like best about Cisco is that we really use the stuff we sell. Some might call it”eating our own dog food” and the more effete might say”drinking our own Champagne” but either way, we do it and do it a lot. I thought it might be interesting to highlight a couple of examples:One month ago today, Cisco announced the Cisco I-Prize, a global competition that uses web collaboration and the power of the Human Network to find Cisco’s next Emerging Technology business. This competition is open to anyone with a good idea who is interested in teaming with like minded innovators to grow a huge business leveraging Cisco’s resources. Through 3 rounds of competition, contestants will use collaboration technologies like Wikis, WebEx and TelePresence to exchange ideas, form teams, refine their business plans and present to Cisco judges. The winners will join Cisco as founders of a new Emerging Technology business unit. And everything will take place virtually through the collaborative magic of Cyberspace. So, what’s happened so far?We have over 800 competitors from 66 countries, including competitors from countries you might not expect like Bangladesh, Guatemala, El Salvador, Zambia, Nigeria, Oman, Moldova, Iran, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Columbia. These innovators have contributed hundreds of interesting business ideas and commented thousands of times on the ideas of others. It’s spawned its own group on FaceBook and a user generated wiki dedicated to the competition. We have over 100,000 views of videos on YouTube. The”TelePresence Magic” video is particularly cool.If you’re interested in our thoughts on Innovation and the Cisco I-Prize, read our Innovation Blog or better yet, join the contest!Now that’s an example of using our technology to interact with and between people outside of Cisco but what about inside the company- what’s the dog food taste like there?You probably know that we’re big believers in TelePresence and the”like being there” quality of experience can transform businesses. So in the spirit of dog food and champagne, we’ve deployed TelePresence across Cisco. Not just a few units for privileged executives -we’ve made TelePresence broadly available to all employees.Since October 23rd, 2006 when we started our initial deployment of a few systems, we’ve added 2-3 new locations almost every week. To date, we’ve deployed over 160 systems across Cisco offices on 6 continents and we’re not done yet. Each system averages about 4.5 hours of use every day. We’ve held over 40,000 meetings across TelePresence and every function in the company (sales, marketing, manufacturing, finance, HR etc) uses TelePresence at every level of the organization. We use TelePresence for internal meetings, meetings with customers, partners, suppliers, recruits and sometimes enable customers to have their own meetings using our facilities.In the process we’ve transformed core business processes like sales, supply chain and global decision making to make them faster and more efficient. Travel savings are in the 10s of millions and there’s been a positive environmental benefit too.Like I mentioned in the beginning, at Cisco we use our own stuff and we really use it a lot. It gives us real insight into how technology can improve collaboration (and where it can’t). If you’re considering collaboration technologies from Cisco, ask about our experience as users-. You’ll find the answers worth listening to.

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