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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

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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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Transform the Way Your School Collaborates with New Service Models

After more than 15 years of working in the telecommunications and IT industries, I’ve seen firsthand how people use technology to make a difference and change lives. While there are innovative uses of technology across all industries, nothing continues to impress me more than how collaboration technologies are reinventing education.

As we’ve seen time and time again technologies like video and mobile devices are enhancing 21st century learning. But no matter what technology schools and educators are using, the delivery of services matters. Thanks to the cloud, schools can deploy advanced collaboration technologies with increased financial and operational flexibility.

With Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), organizations can implement unified communication applications while saving money by switching from a capital expenditure model to an operational expenditure model. The flexibility of the cloud enables customers to accelerate rollouts, improve business agility, lower maintenance and utility costs all while continuously delivering services.

Take for example Perspectives Charter Schools, which serves more than 2,300 students across several Chicago communities. When Perspectives Charter Schools made the shift from an on-premise unified communications system to a cloud collaboration solution they lowered monthly costs, simplified system maintenance and improved administrative efficiency. With Cisco HCS, Perspectives’ monthly bill is now 25 percent less than their previous monthly costs for phone lines, maintenance, software support contracts and repairs. But while the total cost of ownership for communications has dropped, the quality of services hasn’t. The schools have added new collaboration capabilities such as voicemail-to-email and single number reach help make staff members more accessible.

And they’re not the only ones…

Alamance-Burlington School System in North Carolina made the same shift from on-premise to the cloud for voice services and experienced much of the same benefits. With Cisco HCS they’ve lowered the overall cost of their voice system by eliminated the need for one connection for each school and freeing up the IT team. Not only are they saving money, they are also increasing collaboration. The switch to the cloud gave students and faculty access to more advanced collaboration capabilities such as video and instant messaging.

Alamance-Burlington School System and Perspectives Charter Schools’ use of Cisco HCS are classic examples of doing more with less. Powered by the cloud they can both deliver the advantages of Cisco’s collaboration solutions with the financial, operational and strategic benefits associated with the cloud.

Is your school ready to start benefiting from the cloud?

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