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Are you ready? – Convergence and Cloud calls for changes to how IT operates

I was at Gartner Summit in Las Vegas last week after missing the prior year.  One thing that struck me this year was the increased dialogue around changes IT organizations need to make in their people and processes in order to prepare for both the convergence of IT infrastructure and the move to cloud.  Now I know that analysts have talked about the area of IT operations management for some time but what was different was that customers were talking about it too.

At Cisco Services, we’ve had an increasing number of customers asking us to help them better align their people and process to take full advantage of Cisco’s innovative data center technologies.  This growing interest in change was on full display at Gartner Summit, as both analysts and customers were discussing what change would mean to them.

So what are some of the things you should consider to get your IT organization best prepared for change?  First, you need a leader committed to changing the way your IT runs.  The CIO at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Drex DeFord, says he started by re-setting his organizational purpose, identifying patients as their customers, not employees.  He then focused his strategy on removing complexity from his IT organization, not just on the technology side but in his people and processes as well, to allow IT better flexibility to understand and deliver against their customers’ expectations.

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Build Your Own Private Collaboration Cloud Offers New Flexibility for Large Enterprises

Eric Schoch, Director of Product Management for the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution product teams, explains the new private cloud solution that empowers large enterprises to build their own collaboration cloud using Cisco’s validated and tested solution and full management capabilities. 

Before and after our Cisco Hosted Collaboration (HCS) announcements on December 6, we are providing a series

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Maximizing Mobile Collaboration for the Post PC Era

Almost every customer that I speak to is looking at the opportunity that new mobile devices -- smart phones and tablets -- bring to increase collaboration and drive new business capabilities.  And consistently, customers are asking these five questions:

  1. How closely will the UC capabilities on my mobile device not just meet, but exceed the experience on my desktop?
  2. Will users be able to make and receive calls on their mobile devices anywhere in the world as if they were using their desk phone?
  3. Is video to the mobile device available at all, and if so is it really “business-ready” or is it more of a poor imitation of the TelePresence experience?
  4. Are Wi-Fi access points evolving to better handle the increased traffic and usage patterns that come from adding mobile devices on the network?
  5. If I choose a cloud provider for UC-as-a-Service, will that in any way limit my ability to deliver UC capabilities to a mobile device?

For Cisco, these questions are easy to answer because mobility and user experience are not an afterthought.  Our collaboration development philosophy is people-centric -- that is driven by the user experience.  And in the post PC era where tablets and mobile phones are primary work devices for many during each day, that experience must not just be equivalent to the desktop -- but maximize the unique opportunity that these new form factors provide.  This is a fundamental change in the user experience model and Cisco is maximizing the potential of this new class of mobile devices.
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The Virtues of Video

This article has been written by Jan Zanetis, Education Advocate for Cisco in Australia.  The original article was published in the December/January edition of Educational Leadership (EL). Visit EL to read the full version.

The Virtues of Video

Video-on-demand tutorials. International student collaborations. Virtual field trips to Australia. Schools can use interactive video to enrich students’ learning.

What if your struggling students could view demonstrations of difficult math concepts as often as necessary? Picture your students asking questions of an expert diver as she explores Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Or imagine a motivated student in a remote location attending an advanced placement physics class without leaving home.

Providing such enriching learning activities, even with limited funds, is no fantasy; it’s possible through live, interactive video.

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The Power of Now

“I believe that the future is something that must be achieved and not predicted.”

I love that quote—something I came across in a recent Forbes article, which is credited to Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics.

There’s a lot of talk right now about cloud computing, proliferation of devices and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). And when you look at the big picture, it’s clear that there are two things we need to acknowledge:

  1. Employees want the freedom to work anywhere, anytime, with any device; and
  2. IT needs to rethink the infrastructure to allow for the seamless and secure work experience that actually lets us work and collaborate across distances, and in ways that seem like we’re ‘right there.’

GigaOm recently reported on a talk by Gary Swart of oDesk that focused on remote work. Referring to ‘Work 3.0,’ Swart described it as “access to the best people no matter where they are in the world,” and the “ability to work with those people as if they’re in the room with you.”

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