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Collaboration – How to do it? PART 1 – Technology

We’ve covered in my previous blogs the definition of collaboration and the benefits and reasons to do it.  Now we have come to the really difficult part — how to do it.

“Effective collaboration” requires a major focus on culture, the deployment and use of technology, and the adoption of process and governance.  Having the technology but not using it effectively could lead to a lot of bad meetings.  Having process and technology but not having a culture that embraces and promotes collaboration could lead to bad collaboration (I already told you this is worse than no collaboration).

Even with all the hoopla on this topic, there are few companies focusing on all three success factors (technology, process and culture) and thus failing to realize the full potential of collaboration. I’ll address each of these in separate blogs, starting with technology.

Before we get too far, there are a few things to consider.  First, collaboration is not a new topic and has been around since the beginning of time.  Cavemen collaborated while hunting.  Parents collaborate with each other in PTA meetings.  We collaborate in business to provide increased value to our customers and shareholders.  The point being that most of us know how to collaborate effectively …as long as it’s FACE TO FACE.

Technology is changing the way we collaborate.  We no longer need to be in the same place at the same time to achieve great results.  Common citizens in the Middle East are using social media to challenge governments.  Daily, thousands of Cisco employees leverage high def video to collaborate. And millions of people collaborate via web meetings; wikis, blogs, user generated videos and discussion forums.

The change is dramatic and happening at lightning speed. Most of this collaboration is virtual versus face to face (in person).  This is very important to emphasize because success will require us to use new tools to effectively collaborate.

New world, new rules, new tools!

Here are my tips on how to get going at your company:

  1. Experiment – Many large enterprises have very strict processes and guidelines on the adoption of new company-wide technology deployments.  I suggest adopting an approach of experimentation.  Without experimentation you may miss a game changing technology.
  2. Start Small – Engage in three to four small technology deployments and see what works.
  3. Measure / Learn – At the onset of these experiments make sure you figure out a way to capture and measure the impact of these technologies.  The data/results are key in gaining support from the executive team.
  4. Executive Sponsor – Find an executive sponsor who is interested in technology or can gain the most from it.  Keep them informed on a regular basis.
  5. Expect Failure – Not everything will work.  Keep documentation on what failed and why.
  6. Trust – This is one of the key things to understand. Nothing replaces face-to-face meetings.  The key human characteristic that enables or hinders collaboration is trust.  Technologies like high definition video will have a significant impact on trust since facial expressions and body language are recognized.  That makes HD video a valuable tool if the teams have never met or if their personal relationships are limited.  Inversely, audio conferencing has very little impact on building trust. Use the right tool for the job!
  7. Inside/Outside Company – To maximize the potential of any collaboration effort, consider how to get people outside your company to participate.  Consider suppliers,  partners and customers as potential participants and contributors.  Some great things may happen!

Technology is changing everything and requires us to experiment with what’s available. You can’t leverage something unless you try, measure and learn from it.  As always, I welcome your comments and wish you well on your own collaboration journey!  I’d like to hear from you on Twitter.


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Cisco Wins Four Apex Awards at Digital Signage Expo 2011

Last week, Cisco Digital Media Systems (DMS) wrapped up another year at the world’s largest international trade show and conference dedicated to digital signage – the Digital Signage Expo 2011, held in Las Vegas. This year’s event came at an exciting time, just as Cisco was able to announce its 3000-customer milestone in digital signage and our market leadership in this bourgeoning industry after just four short years since joining the market in 2007.

For more insight from the show floor at DSE 2011, check out this video with DMS general manager Janice Litvinoff, outlining key highlights from the event and the unique digital signage applications on display this year at the Cisco booth.

In addition, we were thrilled to receive four Apex Awards, handed out by the Digital Signage Federation. Bringing in the gold award was …

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News@Cisco Week in Review and Look Ahead: February 21-25

How was your week? Well, here at Cisco we had another exciting week filled with interesting technology stories and news. Here’s what happened…

1.) Mobile Technology for Smarter Cars

Today, the only types of collision avoidance systems in cars are expensive radar- and camera based systems, which are few and far between. However, if the U.S. Department of Transportation had its way much cheaper warning systems would be installed in all new cars before the end of the decade. The key is replacing expensive sensors with cheap and ubiquitous global positioning system (GPS) and Wi-Fi wireless technology.

2.) Cloud Providers Combine to Boost Asian Market

Some of the biggest players in technology have come together to form a group that aims to boost the use of cloud architectures in Asia, where adoption lags behind the U.S. and Europe. Eleven companies, including Cisco, primarily from the U.S. and western Europe, announced they were forming the Asia Cloud Computing Association to address regional issues and challenges to the adoption of cloud computing in Asia.

3.) Visualizing Global Mobile Traffic Growth

Check out some insights from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index. According to the VNI, global mobile data traffic will increase 26-fold between 2010 and 2015 and there will be nearly one mobile device per capita by 2015. How do you see mobile evolving in the next five years?

4.) Cisco Makes Video Easier to Create, Consume, Search and Share Across the Enterprise

This week Cisco unveiled a host of new offerings designed to make it easy for anyone to be a video producer. Customers now have new ways to create and consume video across the enterprise. With the new Cisco offerings, they can:

  • Record and share videos and content on the fly from Cisco TelePresence or other video endpoints.
  • Enjoy exceptional search capabilities within videos themselves. Instead of wasting time scrolling through hours of video to find the right clip, with a few clicks of a mouse, users can now simply advance to the right spot.

5.) Cisco Names Gary Moore Chief Operating Officer

This week Cisco announced that Executive Vice President Gary Moore has been appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO), a new position within Cisco.

“Gary is a seasoned and trusted leader who consistently delivers results.  He is uniquely qualified to drive strategic prioritization and accountability within Cisco, with a laser-focus on operational excellence,” said John Chambers, chairman and CEO, Cisco.

Cisco also has a TON of things happening next week. Here’s what to look out for…

  • The Internet it out of addresses?  Check out this feature article next week about how careful planning and slow transition will minimize the impact of the transition to the IPv6 addressing system.
  • With the Academy Awards this weekend check out how the Oscars are taking TV and social media to a whole new level!
  • Partner Summit 2011 is happening next week in New Orleans! Keep up to date with news from the event.

Be sure to check out News@Cisco next week to learn more about all of these news updates! Have a great weekend!

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Cisco redefines what you can do on an Android device

Google’s Android operating system is one of the hottest names in mobility right now. According to a Feb 9 Gartner report, “In the [worldwide] smartphone operating system (OS) market, Android grew 888.8 percent in 2010 and moved to the No. 2 position.” No other mobile OS grew anywhere near as fast as Android.

So it makes perfect sense that Cisco should be a part of the growing Android ecosystem. We are pleased to announce Cisco WebEx Meetings for Android and Cisco Mobile for Android.

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Helping Enterprises Create and Manage Video

Today, Cisco announced a series of new video offerings designed to make it easier for enterprises to create and consume video. Listen below as Cisco’s Director of Marketing for Enterprise Video, Erica Schroeder, outlines these new announcements and what it means for our customers.

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