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Productivity: An Inconvenient Truth

I said in the first post of this series that I’ll start to share more about my productivity lessons-learned. But first, let’s get one thing out of the way — I believe that online collaboration tools really don’t matter. In contrast, how you apply them for purposeful engagement matters a lot, regarding the anticipated productivity gains.

Moreover, the most substantial gains in online productivity will likely come from fully understanding all the people, process and technology issues that define the environment you’re working within. So, situational context is important.

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How Are Large Enterprises Utilizing Collaboration in the Cloud?

Today, we ‘re featuring a guest post from Brian Blatnik, a senior manager within Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group:

In the month since our CloudVerse announcement the notion of a world of many clouds – public, private, and hybrid – has resonated with our customers, partners, and industry analysts. I’d like to share some perspective on how those types of clouds address different customers in the collaboration cloud services market. Since last month’s announcement highlighted our private cloud model in that market, Hosted Collaboration Solution for Large Enterprises, I’ll focus on that model. As a reminder, the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution 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.

I’m often asked, “Haven’t enterprise voice and other UC services always been delivered from what we now call a private cloud?” It’s true that IP PBXs and other UC servers, like their PBX predecessors, provide services to users from a remote room or facility via a network. But there are two ways in which today’s cloud service delivery differs. First, there is the efficiency of pooling computing, network, and storage resources across multiple locations and services. Second, the services can be delivered in an on-demand fashion with elastic scaling.

The financial and strategic benefits deriving from these two factors are leading many businesses to consider consuming collaboration services in a utility model from Cisco’s partners in the Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS). But the same drivers can result in substantial benefits to businesses that aren’t looking for services from a third party’s public cloud. Read More »

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Participation, Collaboration, Community

Key to the development of effective public sector strategies for resilience, innovation, and productivity is the ability to navigate at unprecedented scale and speed, complex and distributed communities (networks) of information, people, and things. By tapping the power of these networks, communities can effectively share ideas, expertise, and knowledge, encouraging richer levels of participation.

Smart City development and services through partnerships, collaboration, and community was a major theme at the London Policy Conference (#lonconf) on December 12-13, 2011. Jointly hosted by IPPR, a leading UK think tank, and London’s new think tank, The Centre for London (incubated by Demos), the conference was a platform and network for all those with an interest in London’s future. Sponsored by Cisco alongside other private and public organizations, senior leaders from the public, NGO, and private sectors convened to discuss the major policy challenges facing London and how its future might be best shaped.

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A Public Manager’s Guide to Cloud Computing

Cloud computing—delivering infrastructure, services, and software on demand via the network—offers attractive advantages to the public sector. For example, it has the potential to reduce information and communications technology (ICT) costs by virtualizing capital assets like disk storage and processing cycles into a readily available, affordable operating expense.

One of the most significant cloud computing opportunities for the public sector is the ability to share ICT resources among multiple agencies. While governments have tried hard to create frameworks geared toward shared services, these have not always been successful. Cloud computing offers an easier and less burdensome route to more efficient and effective public sector information management.

Of course, cloud computing is not without its challenges:

  • A service provider residing outside of a government’s legal or territorial jurisdiction may put access or security at risk.
  • Open standards and interoperability may not be guaranteed, leading to the risk of vendor lock-in.
  • Data privacy is a concern when using public clouds. This can be addressed by the development of private clouds.
  • Business continuity will continue to be a concern. Cloud computing, however, may also mitigate this risk, as cloud vendors are likely to use more robust and better-maintained computing platforms that provide more redundancy and are less likely to fail.

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Partners are Going to Love Cisco CloudVerse

December 16, 2011 at 4:58 pm PST

It seems like you can’t open an IT magazine these days without being bombarded by cloud, cloud, cloud. Going to tradeshows you see traditional vendors that have taken their existing solution packages and rebranded them as cloud.  For Cisco partners and customers this can be confusing; especially since cloud comes in so many types/flavors: IaaS, SaaS, PaaS, and however people are positioning themselves.  When I think of cloud I think it fundamentally boils down to an industrialization/simplification of IT.  You focus and clearly define what you as a solution provider are providing, and by doing so, drive out the cost.  Look at MS office for email etc. has literally thousands of options or ways to use it, but has a high cost/user/month.  Gmail limits those options and by offering it free to everyone, it costs Google an ever decreasing fraction of a dollar/month.  The economics are compelling.  Customers like economics in their favor and partners get excited when customers want to make a transition.

On Dec 6th Cisco announced CloudVerse – an integrated set of capabilities combining Unified Data Center with Cloud Intelligent Network to deliver Cloud Applications and Services.  The beauty of this position is that we aren’t telling our partners, “Thanks, we’ll take it from here!” We’re looking to them to offer this integrated Cisco vision to their customers.

“We’re putting our partners in the position to offer CloudVerse as a portfolio and new cloud capabilities.” As Ralph Nimmergood, VP of WW Channels at Cisco, stated in a CRN article published last week.

Partners are key to our cloud strategy and we’re excited to be on this journey with them.

Click here to read the entire CRN article.

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