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Gen-I Introduces ReadyCloud Collaboration based on Cisco HCS to enable New Zealand Businesses to Harness the Benefits of an Increasingly Mobile Workforce

Cisco Gold Certified Partner Gen-i today announced the launch of ReadyCloud Collaboration, a hosted collaboration-as-a-service solution based on Cisco’s globally recognised Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) platform.

ReadyCloud Collaboration will bring together Cisco’s international strength and Gen-i’s proven local knowledge, coverage and infrastructure to deliver a flexible, highly secure and cost effective hosted collaboration service to New Zealand businesses.

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Enhancing Collaboration with New Integrated Audio Accessories

Today, I am pleased to post a guest blog from Cisco partner, Jabra, authored by Chris Briglin, Vice President of Strategic Alliances at Jabra. 

One of my favorite quotes in the technology business is: ”The next big thing is whatever makes the last big thing usable.” To me this really speaks to the importance of a great user experience in driving the widespread adoption and deployment of technology solutions. While there are lots of business problems out there and many technology-based solutions created to address those needs, solutions that address business needs through a superior user experience are typically the ones that thrive.

As noted in Cisco’s announcement last week, Jabra partnered with Cisco to co-develop audio devices that enhance the collaboration experience on Cisco Jabber for virtual environments. By combining Jabra’s expertise in audio engineering, product design and software integration with Cisco’s leadership in unified communications, we created two audio devices Read More »

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Customer Loyalty is the Ultimate Goal, Not Just Satisfaction

Money is tight. Everyone wants to feel as if they are getting the most out of every dollar spent.  While brand perception and trust are vital, many insurers have refined their customer satisfaction focus to now pursue and measure customer loyalty.

Like many other industries, the insurance industry is experiencing diminished returns on traditional advertising designed to improve brand loyalty and fuel business growth. Ads are no longer a reliable means of driving new business especially with younger, tech-savvy consumers. As a younger generation begins to make insurance purchasing decisions, it is vital for insurance agencies to harness technology in order to connect with customers and build brand loyalty.

Now more than ever, insurance providers are struggling to increase customer retention and are in need of some help. A recent study conducted by Satmetrix gathered the average customer loyalty of various industries and found that insurance was one of the lowest, with a customer loyalty rate of 23 percent. It is likely there is a correlation between this percentage and the lack of technology insurers have to utilize that would strengthen relationships with existing customers. Consumers are clearly expecting more from their insurance companies and increasingly desire a more personalized and proactive touch.

So how can technology help? Read More »

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From the Front Lines: How IT Is Taking Advantage of the Cloud Today

The cloud is here and here to stay. No one expects a wholesale move to the cloud overnight, but I’ve been hearing recently from numerous customers whose journeys are well underway, and some common themes are emerging as businesses explore various deployment models. Business agility, flexibility and balance sheet liquidity will drive cloud adoption, and, as the popularity of hybrid models increases, users will demand a seamless end-user experience between the cloud and on-premise systems.

A few weeks ago, I included these themes in my predictions about the future of cloud collaboration. This week I had the chance to speak with two Cisco customers about why issues such as flexibility, cost savings and user experience drove them to deploy cloud collaboration technologies and other cloud solutions. Sheila Jordan, senior vice president, communication and collaboration IT, co-hosted the discussion with me and offered her insights from an IT perspective. She also recapped the discussion, sharing some specific tips for how IT managers can best take advantage of the cloud.

John Jackson, vice president of global infrastructure and vendor management for D+M Group, said that he can relate easily to the prediction about business agility, flexibility and cost when thinking back to his company’s decision to move to the cloud. D+M Group employs people in several different operating divisions around the world and grew through a series of acquisitions, leaving the company to globalize shared-services IT team that did not previously exist. Read More »

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Managing #Cloud-Based #Collaboration IT Solutions

Cloud-based collaboration IT solutions are a hot topic among my peers – with questions such as how do you make the transition to cloud, what solutions do you host in the cloud, how do you address security, and how do you manage legacy systems on premises in tandem with cloud solutions?

These are just a few of the discussion points that I addressed today in a media and analyst event with my Cisco colleague Eric Schoch, VP and GM, Cisco Cloud Collaboration, and two of our Cisco customers – the City of Charlotte, North Carolina and D+M Group.

Here are Eric’s cloud predictions and my tips for IT leaders:

 1.      Prediction:  In 2013, we’ll see the cloud conversation shift to flexibility and agility as primary drivers of adoption.

Tip #1

The perfect trifecta is collaboration in the cloud as it delivers big benefits, large reach and low risk. 

Or to state it another way:  mobile and social meet cloud.  Think about how collaboration is delivered – the consumption model is different.

Tip #2

Think cloud data center: this is another area of significant cost savings while offering flexible workloads – improving delivering of infrastructure services from weeks to minutes.

Flexibility and agility are very significant to IT professionals. IT will always be held to the total cost of ownership and reducing cost wherever it makes sense.  And, we also have to deliver solutions and services faster.  Cloud is the delivery mechanism to do this over time.

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