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Murali Sitaram: “Cisco’s Quadragenarian”

This week in No Jitter, Cisco Collaboration Vice President Murali Sitaram is featured in an extensive Q&A with editor Dave Michels. Entitled, Cisco’s Quadragenarian,” Sitaram is working to take Cisco, a company with a strong networking core, and move it towards collaboration software that is both social and cloud-based.

Murali discusses his role, Cisco’s perspective on social business software, the post PC-era, collaboration in general, people-centric collaboration, email and more.  In part he says:

“In today’s post-PC era, employees no longer are tied to their desk or required to sit in a conference room to do their jobs…Social collaboration adds a new layer to the communication experience, allowing companies to innovate, grow, expand into new markets and increase productivity.

Over the last two or three decades we have been living in the era of the “document” or…email…if you think about it, people don’t really collaborate or work in that way…We have conversations, we share in communities…previous generation of tools have outlived their utility and we must rethink how people work.”

Read about Sitaram’s radical suggestions for shifting email workloads to better workspaces for people to collaborate. I hope you enjoy reading the interview.  Let me know your thoughts on collaboration and enterprise social software.

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Collaboration with Scrap Lumber & Bailing Wire

January 30, 2012 at 10:57 am PST

I’ve always worked in creative environments with a lot of interdependent roles and processes – and big, unyielding deadlines. Twenty years ago (did I just type that?!), it was editors, writers, designers, artists, production teams, salespeople, prepress film houses, printers, and all of the rest involved in producing magazines. My role was at the intersection of the creative work and technical production. Sometimes it all happened as a meeting in one room, other aspects involved sneakernet, sending disks and film back and forth via couriers. Missing a print date cost big dollars. You didn’t miss the dates. Ever. 

Where's my sweater?Being a bit of a geek with a logical streak of an engineer’s daughter, I was always looking for ways to add structure and streamline processes. (This is not unlike trying to put a wet cat in a sweater.) I developed a successful, but perhaps unhealthy relationship with spreadsheets that I used to hold information – deadlines, story details, status, page counts, art files, page ratios. I dutifully maintained my trusty grids and could answer any question about any bit or piece along the way. But hand anyone else a printout and their eyes would cross and roll before they simply restated the question. The spreadsheets held data; I was the mechanism for sharing data – the user interface, so to speak.

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How Social Media Improves Collaboration – Automation World, November 2011

January 23, 2012 at 11:44 am PST

Check out the November Issue of Automation World Magazine and find out more about How Social Media Improves Collaboration.

If you want to know more about some of the things Cisco is doing in the way of Social Media for our Customers, check out the story in the print version of Automation World November 2011.

You can click the link here and you’ll see some great information about Baker Hughes and their use of Cisco’s Corporate Social Media Tools. Social Media isn’t just about YouTube, Twitter and blogs – though we all use them – you’re watching this on YouTube and maybe got here by reading my blog! But it’s more than that… Read More »

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Four Ways Social Software Collaboration Technology Can Change Higher Education

New media and collaboration technologies have the potential to transform higher education in terms of the classroom, the learning process, the relationship between students and instructors, and how institutions conduct academic research. While much of the industry discussion revolves around use of consumer tools and social network sites like Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, Cisco’s educational customers also see tremendous opportunity to increase student engagement and drive their own institutional strategies with “enterprise class” social software as well.

Since Cisco first announced Quad, we have had conversations with dozens of colleges and universities regarding the role enterprise social software and Cisco Quad can play in transforming education. Cisco Quad is an enterprise collaboration platform that brings people together to share ideas and content, collaborate on projects, and interact using chat, voice or video, regardless of where people are located.

Below, we’ve outlined four ways in which educational institutions are telling us enterprise social software is helping, or can transform the way learning, research, and academic advisement is crafted, delivered and consumed:

1. The 24/7 interactive classroom: Instructors often struggle to deliver a collaborative environment for their students that is secure and supports multiple access methods such as mobile.  Technology like Quad can enable students to interact in a secure, policy-based manner that extends the classroom conversation beyond physical walls. Courses partially or wholly targeted at off-campus students can similarly benefit from enhancing the class-like experience for remote students. For example, at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the cross country MBA students based in the US, England, India and other countries are using Quad to create virtual working groups, find people with common interests, share files or videos with other students working on similar projects and instantly start video conferences or chat sessions. Quad provides students with the ability to interact, ask questions and share ideas with professors/faculty/tutorial assistants anytime, as opposed to only during fixed faculty office hours. It can also drive improved accountability on team projects, as content and comments are tracked in activity feeds and in project communities by both participating students and faculty leads.

2. Serendipitous Research: Quad contains several features, such as an activity feed that compiles microblog posts from students and staff and allows a snapshot view of a person’s current activities. These dynamic updating functionalities can facilitate broader cross-departmental collaboration, for students and researchers alike. Security features ensure that research that needs to be confidential is shared in a secure and safe manner.  As researchers update their statuses with exciting discoveries or frustrating problems, or create posts, upload videos or otherwise document their work, this content becomes accessible to hundreds of fellow university researchers through activity feeds and searches, making it possible for providential inter-disciplinary connections to be made and new insights to be generated. Read More »

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Cisco’s Collaborative Community Platform Transforms the Process for Creating Expense Reports

November 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm PST

In many organizations, creating expense reports can be time-consuming and frustrating for employees. Cisco was no exception.  Employee feedback over time and recent usability studies confirmed user dissatisfaction with the process for creating expense reports, especially around usability of the existing tool on the corporate intranet, and the volume of audit and policy violations employees experience during the process.
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