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New Book Helps You Embrace Collaboration, Increase Profits

February 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm PST

Do your customers talk about optimizing team performance? Do they struggle with new ways to increase their competitive edge? Are they looking for ways to scale their most precious resources? Then it’s time for you to step up as your customers’ collaboration expert.

Collaboration will be the business opportunity of the decade, and partners who can help move their customers through this transition will see their revenue grow. But you have to be able to speak the language of collaboration and understand its true meaning in a connected world.

But how do you learn and embrace this new language?

A new book provides the lowdown you need to share how improved collaboration represents the best opportunity for business leaders to tap the full range of talents of their people, move with greater speed and flexibility, and compete to win over the next decade.

That new book is called, The Collaboration Imperative: Executive Strategies for Unlocking Your Organization’s True Potential. Cisco’s very own Carl Wiese, SVP Global Collaboration Sales, and Ron Ricci, VP Corporate Positioning, wrote this book for business leaders in all industries around the world and to help our partners have a new conversation with customers.

Find out more about what’s inside the book and how you can buy it for a special partner discounted rate.

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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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Towards A More Participatory Culture: Enterprise Q&A (Part 2)

In our earlier post, we explored growing interest in a new class of social application that AIIM calls “Enterprise Q&A”. We concluded that design and user experience were critically important. To deliver this type of application effectively, design practices had to accommodate the social dynamics that occur as people participate in various roles within “answer networks”. As organizations invest in social collaboration platforms, many of these systems will have, or will eventually include, an Enterprise Q&A capability. Design practices that prioritize user experience and social participation, not just Q&A automation, will likely deliver the best solution. While it seems to be straightforward design challenge (ask a question, get an answer), the cultural and social networking dynamics can be very nuanced. Those nuances are easily overlooked if solution providers implement Enterprise Q&A from a technological perspective.

Below are several strategy, design, and user experience considerations you might want to ask yourself if you are looking into this topic:

  • Where should the question get published to maximize the change of getting a applicable answer? While industry exuberance for activity streams makes it the likely candidate, is that always the proper mechanism?
  • If activity streams are leveraged, is posting a question into a stream cluttered with lots of other items vying for attention the right approach? Should we visually distinguish a question from other types of activity stream entries? What other filtering options should be considered so that questions receive the proper priority?
  • If posting a question into a stream is not always the best design decision, what other options should be considered? Should we decipher the meta-data associated with a question and map them to expertise tags of people and communities? If so, we can then define a notification process and ping those individuals and groups through different alerting options? Read More »

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e-Learning Technology: Promoting Creativity and Collaboration… On a Budget

January 27, 2012 at 10:49 am PST

When speaking with our customers and prospects in the K-12 community, we hear time and again that budget restrictions are a daily reality.

At the same time, these educators fully understand that in order to prepare the next generation for success in the 21st century economy, a “mixed” learning environment (where new, innovative technologies are incorporated into more traditional curriculum) helps to better engage students and improve academic performance.

From the boardroom to the barroom, American citizens, including President Obama, instinctively know that our K-12 public education system needs to be invigorated. From the President’s State of the Union address this week:

Give [schools] the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. And in return, grant schools flexibility: to teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test.

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