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Hurricane Sandy: A Lesson in Social Collaboration

February 12, 2013 at 6:00 am PST

Like many others in the Northeast US, I was personally affected by the impact of Hurricane Sandy this past November.  Aside from the lessons it taught me about disaster preparedness, it also highlighted some very salient ways that social collaboration can be used and why social is truly becoming the next wave of collaboration.  And while my story is one of a personal nature, these principles apply to the enterprise.  They re-inforce the ideas that social collaboration has real benefits.

Let me start with the numbers to paint the picture:

  • Days without cell phone coverage: 4
  • Days without electricity:  14
  • Days without cable / internet:  17

For those 2+ weeks in November, I was operating in survival mode and my greatest source of interaction and information was through social collaboration tools -- primarily Facebook and Twitter -- when I was able to find a location with Internet access.  With my examples below, I hope to show how social collaboration was used to help in a number of ways during that difficult time and also attempt to draw the parallels to an enterprise setting.

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Taking the Next Step in Business Collaboration

February 11, 2013 at 7:56 am PST

When I was in London recently for Cisco Live, I got a lot of questions about how organizations can drive the most value out of collaboration. As expectations for seamless collaboration between devices and applications increase, I can practically see light bulbs appear over many customers’ heads as we talk about how collaboration technologies can transform a business and drive tremendous value.

Many of the conversations I have with customers surround how to best integrate collaboration technologies into business process and other applications to drive the highest value. Many customers are uncertain about how to move forward with taking a business and technology architecture approach to accelerate and simplify business processes.

There are a couple of ways to think about this. The first deals with integrating your collaborative processes into your business process, what we call Collaboration Enabled Business Transformation (CEBT). The second deals with integrating your collaborative capabilities and apps so they work together. This is particularly important since most companies have multi-vendor environments for voice and video, hardware and software, and desktop and network. It is an understatement to say that interoperability is critical with collaboration tools so users have a seamless experience when using them to communicate, do business, and maximize results.

Cisco SVP, Chris Dedicoat, presented CEBT at a keynote held during the Cisco Live London activities and appeared to drive a positive response. The CEBT approach to integrating your collaboration capabilities into your business applications processes such as salesforce.com or SAP, can Read More »

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Five Myths of Telepresence Debunked!

The wide adoption and interest in telepresence has made it the target for some of the greatest myths in technology today. To respect your time, I thought it would be best to recap the five most common that I hear.

Myth #1. “It’s unaffordable and only for the enterprise”

Telepresence offers an easy and dynamic way for dispersed teams to innovate, troubleshoot and collaborate in real-time and is affordable for companies of just about any size. The development of technologies, especially via the cloud, is making the benefits of telepresence accessible to businesses around the globe. Smaller organizations are rapidly realizing the business value and rapid ROI that telepresence solutions offer and are integrating this with their broader collaboration strategy.

Myth #2. “Web-based consumer services are good enough”

Consumer-grade video services fall short of what businesses need in a video solution in several key areas, including security, quality, flexibility and feature richness. Consumer video suppliers have always promised lifelike experiences, but the reality is most solutions offer poor image and audio quality that are likely to be fuzzy and jerky. While this is generally acceptable to consumers because it’s low-cost or free, it’s not a plausible solution for conducting business.

Myth #3. “Software vs. hardware”

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Seamless Mobility with Single Number Reach

February 7, 2013 at 11:00 am PST

Do you work on your way into the office in the mornings? Many business professionals make phone calls on their mobile devices as they are commuting into their offices.  Cisco enables collaboration tools that allow a user to take the same mobile voice call and transfer it to a video device without having to hang up and call back in. Read More »

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Better Customer Service through Collaboration

February 6, 2013 at 11:16 pm PST

Good news: Customers are becoming people in 2013. It’s prediction season. The blog world is ripe with posts of premonitions and predictions for every horizontal, vertical, and diagonal cross-section of business, science, and life in general.

The year’s predictions for customer service have a strong focus on people and experience. Look back just two years and you’ll see a greater emphasis on the process and operational pieces of the puzzle. Then, customers were essentially the sum of their activities and accounts. Today, they’re people and need to be treated as such, especially with the power that social media affords them to share opinions, feedback, and feelings about their interactions as your customer. (Feelings? Not those! Can I even mention those in a corporate post?!)

Some common phrases pop up in this year’s predictions: experience, multichannel, social media, differentiation, personalization, collaboration.

Contact centers are moving beyond transactions to relationships. Service is becoming a competitive differentiator. Creating more interactive and collaborative customer relationships is making a difference. Customer satisfaction is about more than making sure the customer gets the product and that the product works. It’s about creating loyalty so that customer comes back and becomes your advocate.

How can collaboration technology help along the way? The following use cases provide several options and benefits: Read More »

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