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Managing #Cloud-Based #Collaboration IT Solutions

Cloud-based collaboration IT solutions are a hot topic among my peers – with questions such as how do you make the transition to cloud, what solutions do you host in the cloud, how do you address security, and how do you manage legacy systems on premises in tandem with cloud solutions?

These are just a few of the discussion points that I addressed today in a media and analyst event with my Cisco colleague Eric Schoch, VP and GM, Cisco Cloud Collaboration, and two of our Cisco customers – the City of Charlotte, North Carolina and D+M Group.

Here are Eric’s cloud predictions and my tips for IT leaders:

 1.      Prediction:  In 2013, we’ll see the cloud conversation shift to flexibility and agility as primary drivers of adoption.

Tip #1

The perfect trifecta is collaboration in the cloud as it delivers big benefits, large reach and low risk. 

Or to state it another way:  mobile and social meet cloud.  Think about how collaboration is delivered – the consumption model is different.

Tip #2

Think cloud data center: this is another area of significant cost savings while offering flexible workloads – improving delivering of infrastructure services from weeks to minutes.

Flexibility and agility are very significant to IT professionals. IT will always be held to the total cost of ownership and reducing cost wherever it makes sense.  And, we also have to deliver solutions and services faster.  Cloud is the delivery mechanism to do this over time.

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Who Cares About The Network When Collaborating?

You are probably thinking that the title of this blog seems a little bizarre given that I work at one of the largest networking companies in the world.  The truth is I felt compelled to write about the role of the network in today’s collaboration solutions because the importance of the network is not always apparent and well understood.

A good example of how network-enabled collaboration solutions can be used is that of a hospital or healthcare organization.  The hospital is only as good as its network of services, providers and the accompanying medical infrastructure that support the organization —  they all leverage each other in various different ways.  Physicians can take advantage of mind share and resources and have information at hand from different sources to make the right decisions.  This is what enables doctors and nurses to perform their best work and provide top quality care to the people they serve.

Collaboration technologies and solutions make that collaborative work environment a reality and aid in the diagnosis and care of patients — in some cases even being able to remotely provide medical care by a specialist that may be located half way around the world. The importance of the underlying network in this instance is critical to both physicians and patients alike.  How would the network have any effect on the use of interactive video in telemedicine? Well, let’s think of it from the experience point of view. What would the consequences be for a patient if the video stream they were using in a telemedicine consult was choppy or grainy and the doctor couldn’t get just the right view of the patient to make the right diagnosis?  Let’s just say I would not want to be the patient in this scenario.  A sub-par experience would be unacceptable because even minor details can have an enormous impact on a diagnosis or treatment plan. These collaborative exchanges are what ultimately give the patient the best experience and outcome possible for their individual treatment. A strong network foundation is critical to the delivery of the service and experience in this instance.

Collaboration technologies gaining significant traction in the enterprise today include streaming video, web conferencing and other forms of interactive and dynamic communications — known as rich media.  The reason for the uptick in their use is that they offer the most life like, “in-person” collaboration experiences possible today.  That is what people want and what ultimately drives them to be more engaged with one another.  As described above, the network is critical to the delivery of these types of media.   Not just any network architecture will suffice.  A network-based architecture optimized for rich media such as Cisco (medianet) provides the intelligent services needed in order to scale, optimize and enhance the performance of voice, video and data – all critical to the delivery of the collaboration experience.

What does this mean?  Read More »

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The Evolution of Immersive Video in the Retail Bank Branch

Increasingly over the past several months, I have been working with more and more retail banking clients. A common theme has emerged during these discussions that centers on video and collaboration in the branch. The top of mind question is, “how are banks using video in the branch to grow top line revenue in a very tightly regulated environment and with ever increasing downward pressure on fee revenues?”

As retail banks have slowly emerged from the global financial crisis of 2008, they are increasingly looking for ways to differentiate themselves with their products and services.  Studies show that the branch is still relevant in the eyes of the retail bank consumer, but the role the branch will play in the future is beginning to change.

Cisco’s IBSG team published a white paper on this topic, which covers the transformation that banks are currently going through. Retail banks are wrestling with moving from a multichannel environment to an omnichannel environment. The difference is, instead of offering a different experience and set of products and services across various delivery channels, they offer a more integrated and consistent experience across delivery channels. These traditional delivery channels include: branch, Internet and contact center to name a few. Currently, the mobile channel is growing in popularity and use, especially with new applications like remote deposit capture right from a mobile phone or tablet. Read More »

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The Internet of Everything Has Begun

IoE is Here

When most people think of their early experiences with the internet, the memory comes with a sound: the scratchy noise of a dial-up modem.

What a long way we’ve come. We have gone from clumsy desktop computing to a world of mobile computing with smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Businesses can interact with customers real-time through video chats and CEOs can talk to shareholders from 20,000 feet in the air. As the capabilities of devices increase, the Internet of Things will quickly evolve into the Internet of Everything (IoE). And Cisco technology is fueling that transition, playing a big role in connecting the unconnected. Read More »

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Happy Community Manager Appreciation Day: Recognizing the Dedication of Our Community Managers

It’s that time of year again when we recognize and celebrate the work of so many unsung heroes, the Community Managers. Community Manager Appreciation Day is celebrated globally on the 4th Monday of January and was started back in 2010 by Jeremiah Owyang.

I joined the Cisco Global Social Media team in March of last year and have had the pleasure to work with many of our community managers. A common strength that shines through with all our community managers without a doubt is their dedication.

It’s dedication from Anna Sui, Partner Community Manager that allows 81,000 partners to tap into the Partner Community every month. Anna manages over 100 thriving topic areas and has built an extensive community and subject matter expert network where partners can receive and share latest news, product and program updates.

The Cisco Collaboration Community team, made up of Laura Douglas, Denise Brittin, Lisa Marcyes and Kelli Glass, empowers technical IT audiences in the Collaboration Community to learn about collaboration technologies for businesses through peer and Cisco interactions. Direct daily contact with Cisco Collaboration leaders, product managers, services consultants, technical marketing and Cisco engineers through the forums provides visitors with expert information and trusted relationships. The community also offers Cisco customers the opportunity to become more hands-on in shaping the direction of Cisco Collaboration solutions by joining the Cisco Collaboration User Group (CUG). Over 8000 (and growing) CUG members participate in betas, 1-on-1 feedback sessions with product managers, and “sneak peak” pre-announce product briefings.

The Collaboration and Partner communities above are just two examples, yet I know there are many more fantastic examples at Cisco. I’d like to ask all our community managers to take a couple of moments on Monday and reflect back on the dedication they have shown during the previous year and for them to recognize the amazing job they have done. And feel free to share successes by commenting on this blog post.

For our newer community managers and community managers to-be, I’d like to highlight our recently published Cisco Communities Playbook. Although the process of building an online community can be daunting, the Playbook provides guidance around defining, developing and driving engagement within communities. The Playbook still makes a great read for our veteran Community Managers providing ideas that may not have been considered previously.

As I wrap up, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank ALL of our Community Managers for the amazing dedication they have shown and wish them every success as they continue to drive their communities forward. Happy Community Manager Appreciation Day and please do share how you’ll be celebrating.

#CMAD

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