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Virtual Work Works, But Don’t Confuse Technology with Change Management

I was in a brainstorm meeting about my team’s next-generation strategy last week, and we made a number of random connections that knitted together a pretty big idea — the kind of dot-connecting that only happens when people with different (and sometime conflicting) perspectives trust each other in the pursuit of an important goal.

Five of us worked on the idea, but only two of us were in the room physically together. Yes, I’ll say it out loud:  three people were working from home.

Much has been said and written recently about the value of working virtually, and I don’t think you can sub-divide mobility into “at home” and “on the road.” Social technologies, video and mobile platforms make it easy to work from just about anywhere.

But as leaders, we have to resist the temptation to confuse technology with change management — despite our love affair with technology. Any time technology brings a sea-change transformation to the way humans do stuff, especially work stuff, we can’t forget that people work in organizations — and organizations are an amalgam of culture, processes and technology.

All of Cisco’s experience has taught us that Read More »

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Cisco Sizzle – March Edition

Welcome to the Cisco Sizzle! Each month, we’re rounding up the best of the best froCisco_Sizzle_Finalm across our social media channels for your reading pleasure. From the most read blog posts to the top engaging content on Facebook or LinkedIn, catch up on things you might have missed, or on the articles you just want to see again, all in one place.

Let’s take a look back at the top content from March…

Tomorrow Starts Here
Explore how the Internet of Everything will change the way we work, live, play and learn.

Connected World Technology Report
Calling all IT professionals! Over two thirds of the IT managers agree that Big Data will be a strategic priority for their companies in 2013 and over the next five years as well. Do you agree? Is Big Data a strategic priority for your company?

Cisco on Fortune’s Most Admired
Once again, Cisco is honored to be on Fortune Magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” List. Fortune tells us that the Most Admired list is the “definitive report card on corporate reputations.” Congratulations to our employees, and thanks to Fortune for the honor!

Understanding the Different Types of Wireless Routers
If your small business has grown and your workforce has become more m734216_10151813220863032_619814475_nobile, you may be considering adding wireless to your network. Cisco explains the basics so you can identify which wireless router best fits your needs.

TeleWork Week
If you telecommuted for a week, how much time do you think you would save?

Network Madness
Don’t worry network managers; we’ve got you covered. Find out about Cisco’s solutions to Network Madness.

Check out the Cisco Storify feed for even more great content!

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Finding the Right Collaboration Tools for the Right Roles

I collaborate, you collaborate, we all collaborate. An organizational chart may show hierarchy, but it doesn’t represent how people actually interact within – and beyond– an organization. Our roles don’t affect whether we collaborate, but do influence our needs, priorities, and the devices we use.

There’s a clear advantage to technology that empowers people to engage and creates a consistent user experience so that the interaction essentially the same – anywhere, on any device. Just as our roles differ, so do our collaboration priorities and device needs. But we don’t work only with others in our own role. We need to collaborate with people across the spectrum within an organization.

I use three or more devices to collaborate in a single workday. Frankly, you shouldn’t care. Before you and I talk, we shouldn’t need to take a mutual device inventory to figure out how to connect. If I don’t have to focus on what I’m doing to interact with you, I can focus on the conversation and the whole reason we’re connecting.

We’ve outlined five user personas to illustrate how collaboration technology can best serve the needs of people in different roles. Click through on a persona to get more information and to see the use cases that support their needs. Read More »

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Video Collaboration Helped Me Say Yes to the Dress!

I recently saw a blog post from my colleague on how video technologies like Cisco Remote Expert are completely revolutionizing the way we do things; for example, applying for your wedding license via video.

It was his blog that made me think about my own upcoming nuptials and the role that video collaboration played in my wedding planning. And while I didn’t apply for my marriage license via telepresence, I did however do something pretty cool that I wanted to share.

I don’t personally consider myself a bridezilla, no comment on what my bridesmaids and husband-to-be would say, but I did find myself in a tizzy regarding my wedding dress. Like any bride, I wanted the support of my closest family and girlfriends when I went dress shopping. However, I was on the hunt for a dress during a trip to my home state of Louisiana and my sister, who’s my best friend and maid-of-honor, was in Virginia.

She’s my older sister, so I’ve been asking for her opinion since I was a kid. When it came to my dress shopping, I was upset at the thought of not getting to share that moment with her. I had to think outside of the box to make sure she was there for the experience — and boy did I ever.

Read More »

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MEAR is leading the way

Potential growth area

South Africa: Potential growth area

The balance of power is shifting to emerging economies. Compared to stagnant Western markets, business growth and investment in the Middle-East, Africa and Russia (MEAR) continues unabated.

It’s a shift that’s amplified by technological advances. In under a decade, these seismic changes have levelled the playing field, opened the door to a global market and made rapid business growth a reality:



  • The connected world where we can work, play and learn anytime, anywhere and with anyone.
  • Virtualization made it easier to manage multiple servers and reduce physical computing power.
  • Computing power has exponentially increased capacity and processing speeds so we can do much more for a lot less time and money.
  • The cloud offers all the applications and storage businesses need minus the server infrastructure.

You’ll probably point out many other factors, but I picked these because they are particularly relevant to MEAR countries and their IT spending patterns. Specifically, they are backed up by Forrester research in 2012. This showed that over half of MEAR-based companies plan to invest more in mobility, analytics, security and collaboration.

Unlike more mature companies, their spending isn’t being eroded by having to maintain and support legacy systems. This frees up budgets to completely replace or expand their IT in ways that improve their competitiveness. The top three areas that Forrester highlighted from 2011 to 2012 were mobile apps (spending increase of 47%), business intelligence (44%) and collaboration tools (41%).

Further research was carried out by Canalys in February 2012 of its online channel community – resellers, systems integrators, service providers and distributors. The results showed a positive outlook across MEAR despite ongoing economic uncertainty. Over half emphasized a move from capital expenditure to operating expenditure, with the highest demand for IT services expected from small to midsize companies (with 100-499 employees). As a respondent said, “Companies working their way out of the crisis by expanding.”

As more companies seek new technologies to secure future growth, our partner network across MEAR needs to be ready to help them become the technology leaders of tomorrow.

*Forrester, 2012, Forrsights: Cautious Optimism in 2012 IT Spending Plans – A BT Futures Report

*Canalys, 2012, Navigating through dramatic industry change

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