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Model “A Day in the Life …” for Better Collaboration

There’s a lot of collaboration technology out there and deciding which technology to invest in can be daunting.  How often have you heard of a company making a major investment in technology for it to become “shelfware” and never see deployment?  How often have you heard of a company that’s deployed a technology, yet nobody in the company is willing to use it?  How often have you heard of a company that has several products from different vendors that do exactly the same thing?

It doesn’t take much to realize that each of these situations has a negative impact and the cause of each situation stem from different reasons, but usually with the best intentions.  Shelfware occurs because of undeployed licenses in ELA’s or quantity purchases for better per seat pricing.  Unfortunately, the business doesn’t grow and the company is obligated to pay for unused licenses.  Other times, a company deploys a product with great features that is too complex or doesn’t integrate well with workflows and remains unused.  Lastly, individual departments may make purchase decisions based on their needs without consulting IT or other departments resulting in redundant solutions that compete internally with each other.

In considering collaboration strategy, it is key to consider Read More »

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Collaboration in a Post-PC World Part Two: Architecting a Solution

In the first part of this series I introduced the people in our new “at-a-glance” graphic (see end of this blog where I’ve embedded it) and looked at their diverse roles and the challenges that posed to IT. In this wrap-up blog, I focus on Bijad, the VP of IT, his understanding of the challenges and his response.

Bijad is the man in the middle of the evolution to a post-PC world. As the range of available collaboration technologies has continued to broaden, the focus for IT has begun to swing from delivering individual best-in-class applications to an interest in an integrated collaboration experience that delivers consistent functionality across multiple devices. However, this presents both a challenge and an opportunity. From the C-level suites, he is accountable for enabling this cost-effectively while providing a combination of scale, security, and accessibility through a variety of devices and operating systems. From his customers like Doug, Lee, Sarah, and Ben who you met in my previous blog, he’s hearing increasing demands for a rich, personalized, consistent user experience that lets each of them work and collaborate their way — where, when and how they want — without limits. They want tools to help them stay more connected with their peers and other organizations.

Bijad knows that this will require more flexibility and simplicity to preserve a consistent experience and that an open, interoperable architecture is key to success. Even more important, he knows that people, not technology, are the prime source of his company’s competitive differentiation. So he’s listening carefully, and thinking in terms of roles rather than devices.

To support Doug, the VP of sales, and people in similar highly-mobile, outward-oriented roles, Bijad is looking to Read More »

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Can Manufacturers Stop the BYOD Trend or Should They Even Try?

I just finished reading Chuck Robbins’ blog on the BYOD trend and its impact on corporate culture. In the blog Chuck cites a recent study on how most executives are still uneasy about their companies’ mobile data-access policies… and it got me thinking about how manufacturers are dealing with this trend.

More and more manufacturing workers are adopting mobile technologies into their workspace, and are growing accustomed to interacting and working in a more visual, virtual, social, and mobile way.  In fact a survey conducted by Manufacturing Executive this year noted that 63% of manufacturing companies permit their employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) to work, but only  17% of manufacturing enterprises have a formal BYOD strategy with clear goals and objectives.  Manufacturers are struggling with how to create, deploy and enforce sound enterprise wide security polices around BYOD.   Protecting intellectual property is only half the concern.  Manufacturers must also consider how a breach in security will effect the safety of their workers and environment, as well as, their products.

Although security is a top of mind concern for manufacturers, the promise of deploying a sound BYOD policy can not be discounted.   Empowering employees and partners with the freedom to collaborate and access video, data and voice on an open, mobile and personal platform can produce a culture that drives operational excellence, supply chain agility, and innovation throughout the entire manufacturing value chain from the plant floor up through to R&D centers.

For example if there is a problem on the manufacturing line, an employee with access to the company directory on their personal mobile device can locate and contact a supervisor or expert using Cisco Jabber and then launch with a single click mobile Cisco WebEx mobile,  where they can show the problem using the video camera on the device and quickly collaborate to solve the problem.

Supply chains can now become more agile and flexible, because customers and the enterprise can analyze, monitor and track progress from order through successful delivery in real-time.  Data is now not just captured, stored, analyzed and delivered, but is now acted upon, presented and shared with the appropriate people and systems in real-time.

In addition, a May 2012 Cisco Connected World Technology Report found that two of five survey respondents said they would accept a lower-paying job that offered more flexibility for device choice, social media access, and mobility than a higher-paying job with less flexibility.  Crucial for an industry looking to retain and attract a qualified workforce.

Can manufactures continue to avoid the new BYOD paradigm, or are they just delaying the inevitable? Let me know your thoughts.

 

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Anticipate Business Risk When Considering Technology Investments

We could debate whether certain technologies are or are not a commodity, but the fact of the matter is when many enterprises evaluate their technology spend they consider two points: function and cost.  This viewpoint yields initial cost savings when technology investements are awarded solely based on price.  Unfortunately, a major consideration has been left out when evaluating enterprise technology investments mainly on price.  The business risk and increased operating costs associated with multivendor environments, which in the long run may mitigate any initial cost savings.

This message is not new, but what is new is a research paper from Deloitte that details the value of a single-vendor architecture in mitigating business risk and those investing in technology need to consider these risks at the time of evaluation.  This paper is a great lead in for the business architecture discussion that will translate to the technical architecture.  This paper does two things: Read More »

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Cisco at GSX: Stocking the Collaboration Toolbox with the Right Tool for Every Job

August 30, 2012 at 4:55 am PST

Which tool is more important: a stud finder or a hex wrench? You don’t need to be terribly tool-savvy to know there’s a place and a time for each to shine; a stud finder would come in handy to hang a heavy shelf but be useless when adjusting a bike derailleur.

When it comes to employee collaboration, the “go-to tools” are multiplying as the workspace is changing.  Some employees still do the bulk of their work from behind a desk at company headquarters; others split their time between the office and more on-the-go locales; still others need “full mobility” with access to the best software collaboration offerings available so work can happen in coffee shops, airplanes, hotel rooms—wherever.  To support these shifts in the way work gets done, Cisco announced some big changes to its unified communications licensing scheme this week at its virtual sales conference, GSX.

With today’s announcement, Cisco is now:

- offering software-only licensing. Prior to this, getting Cisco unified communications meant acquiring a license and a Cisco phone. No more; now, Cisco’s UC offerings can be managed and deployed as a true software platform. While many will still choose to start with a hardware phone, others will choose another device, like a PC, a tablet or even a smartphone as their main communication and collaboration tool. It is now up to you. Read More »

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