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Times of Change are When the Big Winners are Created

December 20, 2012 at 8:19 am PST

Over the next decade, your industry will undergo radical change. How you bring products to market. How you organize your company and your teams. How people perform their jobs. The rule books we’ve relied on don’t apply anymore.

But this isn’t a time for fear or anxiety. Peter Drucker said it best:  “Innovation requires us to systematically identify changes that have already occurred in a business—in demographics, in values, in technology or science—and then to look at them as opportunities. It also requires something that is most difficult for existing companies to do: to abandon rather than defend yesterday.”

In 1971, when FedEx founder Fred Smith said he was going to deliver mail by jets, most thought he was crazy. In 1980, the creators of Whole Foods broke the mold when they entered a mature industry—with razor thin margins and driven by sales and coupons—and introduced the idea of charging premium prices for fresh, organic groceries.  And when Apple announced opened its first retail store in 2001, Newsweek ran an article titled Read More »

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Riding the 3 Waves Through the Holidays

As many of you know, the term “Black Friday” is commonly used to describe the Friday immediately after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday--the busy shopping day when many retailers begin to turn a profit for the year. Black Friday signals the start of the holiday shopping season, with its accompanying surge in the need for customer support. We can all think of examples of the latter: the frantic web searches to get our childrens’ gifts working properly, the calls to return a sweater that was the wrong size--sound familiar?

The holiday season is the acid-test of customer care in many industries. Businesses that fail the test will lose customers--often in droves--while those who delight their customers can surge ahead of the competition.

So how can businesses succeed--and excel--in providing world-class customer service even during this most challenging of seasons? The answer lies in properly leveraging the 3 Waves of Customer Care:  Cost, Relationship, and Experience. You can read about the details in this Read More »

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Cisco’s 2012 Education Retrospective

December 18, 2012 at 7:48 am PST

AM71308At the beginning of 2012, we saw three major trends emerging in the education space, but we had no idea that they would all be converging: Flipped Learning, BYOD, and Shared Collaborative Platforms.

This time last year, I was sitting at an old, high-top biology lab table with my son’s AP Biology teacher, asking him to explain this whole “Flipped Classroom” thing and why his classes’ AP bio scores were so high.  Lo and behold, Flipped Learning became the mantra of the year.

Sal Khan and the Khan Academy became the best-known content-feeder into this phenomenon, and I started voraciously consuming his videos on pre-calculus, statistics, and world history.   So did teachers and students as they turned to Khan as a source of pre-packaged lectures, new flipped learning models, and emerging information on different assessment measurements.  Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann even wrote a book about it, The Short History of Flipped Learning, and they joined us as guest speakers at the 2012 ISTE show.

Read More »

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Successfully Managing the Mobile Collaboration Experience

December 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm PST

Based on the conversations I have every day with Cisco customers, the impact of mobility on organizations cannot be denied.

Abundant data details how the proliferation of mobile devices is affecting communications, collaboration, and the way we do business today. For example, Cisco recently commissioned a Forrester Research report that looks at mobility, virtualization, and other enterprise-level technology initiatives. Nearly half the firms surveyed are implementing “bring your own device” (BYOD) programs to support employee-owned devices.

I’ve outlined my position in the past: BYOD is an opportunity, not a threat. There are profound benefits for organizations that embrace BYOD and mobilize the collaboration experience.

Collaboration is increasingly taking place on personal and company-provided mobile devices. According to a Read More »

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Re-Imagining Collaboration

December 13, 2012 at 7:52 am PST

Mary Meeker’s “2012 Internet Trends Report put just about every industry on alert: her persuasive argument urged leaders to re-imagine nearly everything about their businesses in no uncertain terms--from advertising, to mobile to media consumption.” – Forbes, August

When Mary Meeker speaks, people listen. When she releases her annual report, people really listen. Count me on that list. Meeker, a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, recently released the updated version of her report. In it she covers the high points on the trend front, including:

  • The dominance of Windows in the operating system world is diminishing (covered in a previous post)
  • The number of people using the internet now includes 34% of the global population.
  • Worldwide smartphone subscriptions of 42% promises to increase penetration beyond its current 17% of the mobile market.
  • Global shipments of Android phones have grown nearly six times as fast as iPhones since their respective launches.
  • 29% of adults in the United States own tablets or e-readers compared to 2% in mid-2009.
  • Global mobile data traffic is increasing while fixed network traffic is decreasing.

I have a good left-brain, right-brain thing going. I like graphs, charts, and data. But I also like to look at how trends translate into what we do and how we do it. Meeker calls it a “re-imagination of nearly everything.” Essentially, devices, connectivity, and user experience are creating change in how we do – well — nearly everything.

Meeker quotes Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg on a similar angle: Read More »

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