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When It Comes To UC&C, One Size Does Not Fit All

This is the first post in a new series from Dimension Data and Cisco Channels looking at user adoption and integration of unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions. Findings stem from Dimension Data’s 2013 Global UC&C Survey, developed with ICT researcher Ovum and featuring responses from more than 2,700 participants in 18 countries across 20 vertical industries.

We’ve all heard that selling UC&C solutions has to be less about flashy technology, and more about a comfortable, productive user experience. In other words, are video sessions, presence and other UC&C functions as easy and convenient to use as a traditional voice call? But user adoption of UC&C isn’t by any means the last step in a UC&C implementation. It’s actually a lot closer to the first step, as Neill Hart puts it.

“We don’t have to worry about user adoption with most other areas of IT,” says Hart, converged communications director for Dimension Data Europe. “If you put in a firewall on a Sunday night, for example, it’s at work the next morning and the user probably isn’t even aware it’s there. With most technologies, the user doesn’t even worry about it. But with UC&C, it’s everything. If I’m not entirely comfortably with technology, then I can find a way of not using it.” Read More »

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IT Mobility Social Support Leads to Reduced Costs

Cisco IT’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program allows employees to be most productive on whatever device they choose.  Whether it’s an iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac or PC they can connect to the Cisco internal network easily, but that’s not what this blog is about, if you’re interested in that initiative click here and here. This blog is about how adding a social layer, specifically Cisco WebEx Social, resulted in an improved user experience and reduced caseload and therefore avoided cost.  Personally, I’d like to say the easy onboarding of devices has caused me less wrinkles, but I’ve yet to find a quantitative way to prove that hypothesis true, so let’s stick to the facts:

  • In November 2010, Cisco IT had 4,566 cases per 33,354 devices or about 0.14 Cases/Device
  • In October 2011, Cisco IT had 3,921 cases per 48,530 devices or about 0.08 Cases/Device
  • Cisco IT has had a 52% increase in devices and 16% more users

Read More »

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Improving Collaboration: Start with Relationships

This is my second blog in a multi-part series.  In my first blog, I introduced insights from Cisco’s Collaboration Work Practice Study and how people value collaboration in the work environment.  In today’s blog, I discuss how building relationships helps foster collaboration.

At its very core, collaboration is about people. This isn’t a new concept. Humankind has been coming together for centuries to collaboratively solve problems, and in that respect, today is no different. What has changed are the ways in which people collaborate.

One of the things we discovered through the Cisco Collaborative Work Practice Study is that people desire relationships and strong partnerships with the people with whom they work. Building relationships and networks that lead to trust is a fundamental element of successful collaboration.  Nearly every participant in the study Read More »

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A Perfect Collaboration According to the “Esquire Guy”

Collaboration is a verb, an action, it is something that we do.  People come together and collaborate to reach a common goal.  Often, people need to collaborate to determine what that goal is, then collaborate more to determine how best to reach that goal.  It is through effective communications that people collaborate. However, there’s more then just communications to collaboration.  In the following article the “Esquire Guy” attempts to answer the question  Read More »

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Learning Hubs: Where Learning Takes Place in a Digital World

It has long been known that a combination of both formal and informal learning is an effective way of turning theory (explicit knowledge) into practice (tacit knowledge). This includes working and learning alongside more experienced people, both online and face-to-face.

The nature of learning is changing, and new learning technologies are proliferating. Additionally, there is compelling evidence that suggests many learners can benefit from alternative models and novel spaces for developing their skills and gaining further knowledge. Couple this with the increase in distance and virtual learning offerings—which offer little opportunity for face-to-face contact for both formal learning and networking—and a significant need for additional learner support begins to emerge.

This need is also being driven by our busy lifestyles: learners may not always have time to study at their chosen institution or study center; entrepreneurs and startups may need access to temporary experts and more formal learning opportunities; and learners and workers may need more than just online support from time to time. Sometimes learners want a place to study away from the distractions of home or work, or they may need an informal learning place to engage with peers and mentors.

Learning hubs” may be the solution. Learning hubs are technology-enabled, flexible, formal and informal learning spaces designed to support learners of all ages. As opposed to study centers or traditional classrooms, learning hubs:

  • Are purpose-built to accommodate more than just tutorial instructions and seminars 
  • Serve as a space for temporary or prearranged meetings and discussions with peers
  • Enable students to meet with experts and mentors virtually or to join a class remotely (from one or more hubs) via high-definition video-conferencing or telepresence facilities

Learning hubs can be located in Smart Work Centers, university and school campuses with spare real estate, community centers, and other places. Or, they can be “pop-up” hubs—physical spaces connected through high-end video-conferencing technology to enable city-to-city and multicity events—that meet specific, short-term needs. Dialogue Café is one example of a pop-up hub. Other types of hubs are shown in Figure 1.  

 Figure 1.  Potential Learning Hub Locations.

Learning Hubs

Source: Cisco IBSG, 2013

A more detailed perspective from Cisco IBSG on learning hubs—including existing hubs and those in development—is available for download at “Learning Hubs: Where Learning Takes Place in a Digital World.”

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