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Mobilizing the New Collaboration Experience in the BYOD Era

Guest post from Hans Hwang, Vice President of Collaboration within Cisco Advanced Services.

At last month’s Enterprise Connect (EC), there was a lot of discussion around the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, and how IT departments are enabling this “new collaboration experience.” As OJ Winge, SVP and GM of Cisco’s Collaboration Endpoints Technology Group, outlined in his EC keynote, collaboration is becoming more “mobile, social, visual and virtual.”  This is especially true as employees look to smartphones and tablets to enable them to collaborate more efficiently and effectively, and get their jobs done whenever and wherever they are.  This increasing desire for untethered collaboration, without compromising on the collaboration experience, means IT departments must take a side.

The Proactive Enabler or the Passive Supporter

Whether IT embraces or ignores this trend, there are serious concerns for companies:  impact on network, security, governance and liability questions. IT has a choice: they can either choose to embrace the opportunities BYOD policies bring, and become known as strong enablers and leaders to employee productivity and flexible work styles. Or, IT can limit users’ device choices and act as a passive supporter for a company’s workforce.

A passive approach might be to approve only one or two specific devices, and to restrict access and limit applications. A enabling approach might be to allow a choice of mobile devices and applications, to support collaboration on these devices and to reduce security risk with technology, policy, governance and training.

Cisco Recognizes Mobility is an Integrated, Critical Element of a Collaboration Strategy
Mobility has quickly risen to the #2 technology priority for CIOs as opposed to three to four years ago when it was ranked number 12. (Gartner CIO Study)

To help IT plan and prepare for the impact to collaboration, Cisco Services has introduced a dedicated practice for Mobile Collaboration Services. This new Cisco practice is designed to help IT departments connect their organizations’ business imperatives to mobile collaboration business transformation opportunities.  Experts from this practice can also help organizations prepare their network and communications infrastructure to deliver a compelling collaboration experience.

Next Steps for IT Managers

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50 million Cisco IP phones, and Jabber Instant Messaging (IM) for everyone

In this post PC era, Cisco is taking another important step in advancing the collaborative workspace and making collaboration even more pervasive for customers around the world – regardless of device, application or operating system. Today we’re announcing that we are making presence and instant messaging (IM) capabilities and Cisco Jabber clients available to our Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) customers globally at no additional cost. Cisco believes that together presence, IM, voice and video call control provide the foundation for real-time communications.

For customers, with this development, Cisco is now providing a way to simply and cost effectively make presence and IM available to all users across a plethora of devices — including Windows, Mac, iPad, Cisco Cius, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android (later in 2012) — while also ensuring they’re deploying a unified communications client  that is BYOD-ready.  And let me emphasize, this isn’t just for those customers who happen to have a Cisco IP phone.  It’s for every employee in an organization.

For partners, this helps simplify and accelerate the deployment of presence, IM and mobile collaboration as part of a holistic, best-in-class, collaboration solution. Hence, presence and IM can easily become ubiquitous in the enterprise!

We feel presence and IM are the starting points of collaboration, not the final destination.

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Do Tablets Signal Extinction for Desk Phones?

April 12, 2012 at 10:47 am PST

I read an interesting post on No Jitter yesterday that poses the question, “The End of the Desk Phone?” The author suggests that the era of the desk phone is coming to a close. The gist is that tablets are essentially going to take over the known universe and send desk phones the way of the Studebaker.

Like a lot of people, the author is particularly fond of Apple iPads and positions them as the ideal phone eliminator. Once upon a time a lot of people said the same thing about microwave ovens vs. regular stoves. Didn’t happen. Sure, I can make popcorn with a lot less fuss and muss, but convenient though it may be, it’s not the tool for baking a chicken – or better yet, chocolate chip cookies. Read More »

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Keeping Your Future in Mind As You Invest in Enterprise Collaboration Solutions

Both mid-sized and large enterprises know the value of employee collaboration to increase productivity and give the business a “leg up” on its competitors. As more businesses make sizeable investments into collaboration technology, it’s important for them to select products and services that not only meet their unique needs but also encompasses a comprehensive solution from the ground up that caters specifically to increasingly mobile employees.

Today, Sprint announced the availability of Sprint Complete Collaboration, a bundled service that gives customers a full UC solution that can be quickly and easily deployed over an all IP network. This Sprint solution is based on Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solution which gives partners, including service providers and integrators, the ability to deploy multiple collaboration applications on one server in a virtualized environment and then host those applications for multiple client organizations. The solution is designed to be run from partner data centers.

What does this mean for the end users who are increasingly on the go? It means being able to access collaboration applications from any device (smart phone, laptop, tablet -- you name it) anywhere at any time. It’s instant collaboration designed for today’s distributed enterprise; a feat that is best achieved when an organization opts to deploy a collaboration solution that -- at its foundation -- is keeping the bigger picture in mind: that these days, employee collaboration is no longer bound by “office walls.”

Sprint’s news validates the demand for a collaboration solution that allows service providers to leverage their own infrastructure to differentiate and drive fixed mobile convergence. We announced this new feature last December with new mobile features to HCS. As one of our first customers to announce availability of this feature, we are thrilled to see that the market is seeing the value of extending this feature to their subscribers. Read More »

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Collaboration: On the Field & In the Office

February 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm PST

Collaboration is great. But it’s not a Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, if-you-build-it-they-will-come Field of Dreams scenario. Alas, if all it took was plowing under a corn field and putting down some chalk stripes, I might be out of a job. And out of corn flakes.

We talk a lot about technology and process, but sometimes omit the human aspect. All the technology in the world won’t do much without people using it — unless you’re watching the Terminator machines attempt their takeover. And then there’s always HAL 9000. But those guys are a lot more interested in domination than collaboration anyway.

An organization’s culture is a critical component to successful collaboration. Make all the technology announcements and managerial pronouncements you want – you need an environment that supports collaboration. Read More »

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