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Engineers, Researchers and Designers: The Geeks Behind Cisco’s Collaboration Technology

It’s a great time to be at Cisco. Earlier this week, Susie Wee, chief technology and experience officer (CTEO) for the Collaboration Technology Group, unveiled the “collaboration geeks”: the engineers, researchers and designers behind the technology, to a handful of press and analysts. We were excited (and a bit nervous!) to share how Cisco is approaching user experience (UE) and design. These changes aren’t just happening from the product side, but are also evolving our internal thinking about being more user-centric across the organization.

Have you ever heard of a CTEO? Probably not, because it is a new role that we created to address the importance of coupling user experience and technology. As CTEO, Susie is responsible for driving innovation and experience design in Cisco’s collaboration products and software services. The first step involved in making a cultural change is how we approach product design. But what does this mean for her team? Below is a short excerpt from our User Experience Day event.

At Cisco, we’re dedicated to changing the way we work, live, play and learn. We’re always looking to break down barriers among staff; one example is how we’re approaching user experience design. Our team is looking into principles, guidelines, and archetypes that represent an organizational-wide approach to user experience design. The design team really lays the foundation for growing the influence and scope of all the UE specialists into strategic conversations where user experience can impact what we design and how we design. We coined the term “XQ” as the eXperience Quotient of the organization. XQ is a tool and metric that we developed to measure our customer’s experience with our products and our user experience-centric development process.

Another example is how our engineers are thinking about their products from the user perspective and pulling in the user experience designers and my team (user experience researchers) as well. To showcase this at the event, engineers brought in a number of XQ demos to show this thinking firsthand: Read More »

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Cisco Recognized in Leadership Position in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Corporate Telephony

Gartner recently released their 2012 Magic Quadrant for Corporate Telephony, and I am incredibly pleased to share that Cisco was placed in the leader’s quadrant.  These results come just after Cisco was recognized as a leader in Gartner’s 2012 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications.  We believe that, together, these reports signal the momentum that Cisco is experiencing as a leader in Collaboration.

And yes, the momentum has been strong! This past April, Cisco achieved a new milestone by shipping more than 50 million IP phones. We’ve also gained significant traction with Cisco Jabber, which enables instant messaging, conferencing, voice and telepresence video on multiple devices, increasing 55% in license volume year over year.

Our history of success has been validated many times before, not only by sales growth and market share gains, but also acknowledged by technology analysts as an industry leading vendor in this space for more than ten years. Most of you have followed this validation and we believe this year’s Magic Quadrant is just another example.

At Cisco, we understand that our customers don’t make decisions on data, voice or video alone. Instead, they are looking for integrated solutions that deliver the rich media capabilities their users demand, and at the same time, provide the agility, resiliency and high quality experiences the business demands.

According to Gartner analysts Jay Lassman, Geoff Johnson, and Steve Blood in their Corporate Telephony report, “We evaluated vendors for their understanding of how customer needs are changing (both for users and the IT group responsible for managing telephony). It was especially important to see how vendors proposed to complement, or compete with, UC collaboration solutions.” Read More »

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Discover Your Collaboration Persona: How do you “show up” in an increasingly visual, mobile, social and virtual world?

I was lucky enough to meet GE CEO Jeff Immelt at a Cisco event some years ago and interview him on the topic of leadership.  My biggest takeaway from listening to him:  leadership is about how you “show up.”  In other words, it’s how we act and behave in everyday situations that define our leadership persona.  I’m pretty sure he meant it literally, as in how we “show up” in the physical world.

But how do we “show up” as leaders in a world where work is increasingly done on a mobile phone or tablet, or using a video chat, web conference or Telepresence?  This is one of the great leadership challenges of this hyper-connected world: as a leader you will need to know what I like to call your “Collaboration Persona” – that way in which your leadership style shows up when you’re not in the physical world.

How should you approach building your Collaboration Persona?  Here are three steps:

1)      Know yourself:  Whether it is in the physical world or virtual, how we show up should authentically represent who we are.  Click here to take a quick online assessment to discover your authentic communication style (Click on the green “Take Survey” button). This confidential assessment is a bit like the Myers-Briggs test and provides you with a customized profile of your unique communication style; it reveals how you naturally process information, and how you prefer to deliver that information to others. Most importantly, the assessment provides a simple vocabulary to communicate your style to others. Are you conceptual or analytical?  An introvert or an extrovert?

My co-author Carl Wiese and I cover this topic extensively in the third chapter of our book, The Collaboration Imperative, entitled “Get Real about Communications. Click here to learn more about The Collaboration Imperative.

2)      Know where you excel as a “Virtual Star”: Just as you play to your strengths in the real world, play to your strengths in the virtual world.  Here are some examples:

  • If you are a conceptual thinker, you will excel when the team needs someone to explain the aspirations of a decision, such as a vision. These thinkers will be good on video presentations during virtual meetings. It’s not that conceptual people aren’t good in online discussion forums where the medium calls for more precise language; it’s more about playing to the strength of conceptual thinkers – they love talking about ideas and tapping into that passion on video is a great way to play to one’s strengths.
  • If you are an analytical thinker, you will excel at “making it real” when communicating a decision to your team.  These thinkers are outstanding in virtual mediums where precision communicates best – such as online question and answer sessions and discussion forums.  Again, it’s not that analytical thinkers aren’t outstanding on video, where the communication is sometimes more free-flow; it’s that online Q&A and discussions forums play to the strong logical nature of analytical thinkers – they love communicating the steps taken, the process used, and the supporting facts of a decision.

3)      Get out there and practice on your medium:  When you align your communication style to these new forms of communication, you’ll find it easy to participate in the increasingly virtual, mobile, social and visual work environment that your teams leverage to get better, more productive results every day. You can’t underestimate how your team will appreciate your unique efforts at participation in the world they live in.

Follow me on Twitter: @RonRicciCisco

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Palomar Health Debuts Hospital of the Future

Dr. Kanter, Palomar HealthAt last week’s iHT2 Health Summit at the New York Academy of Medicine, I had the pleasure of introducing Dr. Ben Kanter, chief medical information officer at Palomar Health, California’s largest health district.  During his presentation, Dr. Kanter discussed the new $1B, 11-story Palomar Health Medical Center in western Escondido which opened for patient care on August 19, 2012.  Called the “Hospital of the Future” by healthcare pundits, the new Palomar facility integrates key technologies, such as EMR, video and collaboration solutions, into an environment that uses nature, light, and outdoor space which work together to promote healing.

During the design phase, Palomar’s leadership team, including Dr. Kanter, worked closely with Cisco on the goal of creating a higher level of mobility and collaboration among clinicians, patients and their families.   Cisco technologies currently in use include unified communications (video, WebEx, Wireless IP Phones) along with Unified Computing System, all tied together via a wired and wireless Cisco medical-grade network.

Dr. Ben Kanter, chief medical information officer at Palomar Health:

“The ability Cisco provides to tie everyone in the hospital together – patients, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, infection control, administrative teams – through a security optimized, mobile and video-enabled environment, will have significant, positive impact across the healthcare continuum. Now patients have greater freedoms within the hospital, without compromising their health, as they are observed both inside and outside of hospital walls. And the ability for our doctors to review patient information from a mobile device, and conference in a nurse and a specialist at the same time to discuss the case, will completely change patient care.”

We invite you to learn more about Palomar Health and to watch a four-minute highlights video about the new medical center.

To learn more about Cisco Solutions: Cisco Unified Communications, TelePresence, WebEx, Unified Computing System.

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Loose Lips Might Sink Ships – The Conundrum of Social Communication

Loose lips might sink ships is a propaganda idiom originated during World War II to bring awareness to the hazards that may be caused by careless talk of subject matter that could be potentially vital information to the enemy.  As a US Navy veteran, I take this to heart and do my best to protect corporate data no matter how insignificant it may seem.  However, social communication sites such as FacebookTwitter and YouTube provide new avenues of personal sharing in a social context that could have considerable ramifications in a professional context.

The other day I was talking to somebody about the challenges of publicly available communication sites and concerns on how to secure professional content from being openly shared.  In many cases employees use the before mentioned sites to communicate internally or externally and often times may be sharing sensitive corporate data on these sites — not with the intent of being malicious, but because it seems like the right way to share information or they want to circumvent IT placed restrictions.  He then shared a story with me of a coworker that posted a simple status update to a social site, something to the affect Read More »

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