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What Really Matters in Collaboration

On the eve of Microsoft’s first Lync User Conference, I think it’s a great time to start a frank and direct conversation about what’s changed in collaboration and, because of those changes, what’s really important for IT decision makers to consider as they evaluate collaboration vendors and solutions. This conversation, which I’m confident will spark a lively and healthy debate, will last for weeks and will include input from a variety of Cisco Collaboration leaders.

So, to start, what has changed in collaboration? At the macro level, I would argue that collaboration has evolved from a tolerated office tool into the single most important technology investment that an organization can make. Why? Because the next breakthrough levels of performance and productivity needed in business won’t come from a better-looking web portal or a bigger Inbox — they’ll come from the ability to tap into the collective knowledge and creativity of our people.

But, here’s the catch: not all collaboration solutions are designed to help people engage the way they want to engage, and they’re also not architected from the ground up to cater to IT’s needs and requirements.

Customers tell us time and again that a modern collaboration platform needs to deliver more than the basics like IM, conferencing and VoIP.  It needs to offer flexibility and choice in support of trends such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), high-quality video, and cloud-based deployments (private, public, hybrid, and hosted). The modern collaboration platform needs to be usable not just by office workers but by anyone, from physicians to customer care agents, executives, mobile and desk-less workers. And it needs to be as complete of a solution as possible — including the underlying infrastructure, a wide choice of compatible endpoints, and world-class support and maintenance — to maximize business and IT value.

Which brings me back to Microsoft and Lync. We believe Read More »

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Survey Reveals Key Considerations in Collaboration and It’s Not First and Best on Windows

February 18, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

Every day I hear from customers who want to make collaboration more pervasive across their organizations. How do they take advantage of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)? Does it make sense to move some solutions to the cloud? What about video?

Those are all good questions, but as my colleague Rowan Trollope, SVP and GM of Cisco Collaboration Technology Group, said today, this is just the beginning. Cisco commissioned a global survey of 3,320 IT leaders from nine countries (U.S., Canada, U.K., Sweden, Germany, India, Russia, New Zealand and Australia) to find out what’s really top of mind for them. The survey, conducted by Redshift Research, revealed some interesting observations, not only about what matters to IT leaders, but about the differences between Cisco’s and Microsoft’s approach to collaboration. Here are some of the top findings: Read More »

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From the Front Lines: How IT Is Taking Advantage of the Cloud Today

The cloud is here and here to stay. No one expects a wholesale move to the cloud overnight, but I’ve been hearing recently from numerous customers whose journeys are well underway, and some common themes are emerging as businesses explore various deployment models. Business agility, flexibility and balance sheet liquidity will drive cloud adoption, and, as the popularity of hybrid models increases, users will demand a seamless end-user experience between the cloud and on-premise systems.

A few weeks ago, I included these themes in my predictions about the future of cloud collaboration. This week I had the chance to speak with two Cisco customers about why issues such as flexibility, cost savings and user experience drove them to deploy cloud collaboration technologies and other cloud solutions. Sheila Jordan, senior vice president, communication and collaboration IT, co-hosted the discussion with me and offered her insights from an IT perspective. She also recapped the discussion, sharing some specific tips for how IT managers can best take advantage of the cloud.

John Jackson, vice president of global infrastructure and vendor management for D+M Group, said that he can relate easily to the prediction about business agility, flexibility and cost when thinking back to his company’s decision to move to the cloud. D+M Group employs people in several different operating divisions around the world and grew through a series of acquisitions, leaving the company to globalize shared-services IT team that did not previously exist. Read More »

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Cisco Announces New Cloud Collaboration Capabilities and Deployment Options

In meeting with customers and partners, I hear repeatedly how key market transitions – mobility fueled by the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, cloud as a delivery model and the pervasive use of video – are dramatically shifting how organizations communicate and collaborate, both internally and externally.  They want to collaborate from anywhere, at anytime, and on any device — with a superior user experience. For maximum business benefit, they want to accelerate collaboration services across their organization. They want options and they need agility.

Today, Cisco unveiled multiple enhancements to our Cisco Collaboration portfolio — delivered via public, private, hosted/managed cloud models — that provide customers access to an expanded set of market-leading collaboration offerings.  Customers have greater choice in how they deploy collaboration offerings based on their specific needs or requirements.  They also have new options for accelerating collaboration across their business quickly, securely, and reliably. Read More »

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It’s A World of Many Clouds — And That’s Great for Collaboration

October 11, 2012 at 5:12 am PST

It is well understood that collaboration is helping companies execute business strategies. It improves productivity, enhances teamwork, improves decision making, and compresses time to market — whether employees and team members are in the same building or halfway around the world. Now, video and mobility solutions are taking collaboration to the next level. The business benefits of enabling people to communicate more naturally — anywhere and at any time — are clear and being realized by many.

Furthermore, the desire to consume collaboration services from the cloud is increasing as many of our customers discover the multiple benefits of extending the reach of collaboration services across their businesses in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.  Customers are optimizing resources and gaining even more business and IT agility. They are enhancing business continuity and reducing risk of technology obsolescence while maintaining full visibility and control. End users are increasingly demanding  a consistent, rich user experience across the latest applications on their choice of devices.

Cloud collaboration is an integral part of Cisco’s Collaboration strategy, and Cisco’s focus is to provide customers with flexible choices on how they deploy collaboration so they can accelerate it across their business.  Cisco offers different deployment models to meet various customer use cases, including:  Read More »

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