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Getting Away from Group Think

When was the last time you had a team meeting with someone outside your usual circle of colleagues?

This is a question – and a challenge – laid down by Peter McDonald, a collaboration expert that I met with last week.

Peter works for a consultancy that focuses on helping people collaborate. And they go about it in a pretty radical manner.

One of the things they do is run workshops with people with different profiles, roles and jobs  (and often diametrically opposed perspectives). Many of their workshops involve going into charities and finding solutions to their most challenging business problems.

The results are fascinating. Given often really difficult and complex challenges to resolve, often the more diverse and potentially conflictive the group is, the more disruptive the thinking. And the more creative and interesting the ideas, suggestions and solutions are.

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Work Your Way: IT, You Are Not Alone

Often we focus on the challenges associated with IT with little consideration of the end user viewpoint.  In Cisco’s Work Your Way Global Study, completed in January of 2013, we polled over 1300 IT professionals and business-focused end users around the globe to investigate how BYOD is not only affecting IT, but how the challenges directly impact the end user experience.  We were curious to compare and contrast the different viewpoints to understand if the difficulties IT was facing had an impact on how end users get their devices on the network, access business applications and perform day-to-day activities on the move. Check out the Borderless Blog to see our awesome infographic

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New Collaboration Tools and Tips to Help Partners Capture the Midmarket

The midmarket segment (100-1,000 employees) is huge, representing a $7.1 billion opportunity. And we’re here to help you get your fair share.

Midmarket customers have the same collaboration needs as larger enterprises, yet require scalable and tailored IT solutions that allow them to communicate effectively, make decisions faster, and compete in this increasingly global economy. Tapping into this segment can lead to increased sales opportunities, and ultimately, growth for your collaboration practice.

To help you win big in midmarket, Cisco is providing a number of new product, program and partner enablement tool updates designed specifically for this segment.  Cisco continues to invest in programs like Partner Plus, as well as enhanced solutions and services offers to help partners succeed with midmarket customers..

What are the updates and how can it help you get your share of this untapped opportunity?  Read More »

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Hurricane Sandy: A Lesson in Social Collaboration

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

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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