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Cisco Collaboration Summit: Notes from Day 2

#csummit screenIt was a busy day in San Francisco. OK, it’s probably always a busy day in San Francisco. But the second day of Cisco Collaboration Summit was definitely a busy one. Consultants and analysts toured centers of innovation, partners dug deeper into the announcements from Tuesday, and customers grilled executives. All in all, there was plenty of activity.

Sessions started as early as 8 a.m. and carried through the day. The day’s events closed out for the evening with a reception in the Collaboration Experience Showcase, where attendees could get their hands on the products from Cisco and some of our collaboration partners. (Oh, and there was food. There’s always plenty of food at these things.)

Customer Forum
Where yesterday’s discussions in Customer Forum focused on some of the more lofty concepts around leadership and employee engagement, today’s topics got more into the technology. Discussions dug into the business challenges they’re hoping to solve and how they’re using collaboration technology now. There were sessions on connecting with remote employees, developing strategy with end customers, and securing the collaboration environment. Read More »

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Cisco Collaboration Summit: Notes from Day 1

It’s always nice to have your CEO stop by your event’s opening keynote. So it’s safe to say that Cisco’s Rowan Trollope had a pretty good day after CEO Chuck Robbins joined him on stage to say, “I fundamentally believe that you can’t build a digital business without collaboration.” And it’s a good way to kick things into high gear for this year’s Cisco Collaboration Summit.

And apparently the right shoes help, as Rowan pointed out: “I’m not wearing Converse, I’m wearing actual shoes — so something big must be happening today.” The something big is all about Cisco Spark.

2015-1208 spark announce

Spark Services Announcement
The new Cisco Spark Services deliver all the capabilities of the Cisco collaboration portfolio directly from the cloud, bringing together messaging, meetings, and calling – and connecting with our phones and video conferencing systems. Read More »

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The Evolution of Cisco Spark: Complete Collaboration from the Cisco Cloud

Over the past few years we’ve shared our vision to deliver a single collaboration experience that spans all modes of communication. We’ve talked about how we’ll achieve that vision by providing business collaboration solutions that are experience-centric, cloud connected, and that extend the value of our customers’ existing investments.

We took a foundational step toward achieving that vision when we launched Cisco Spark as a team collaboration app in March of 2015. It was built on a new, modern cloud platform and we promised that it was just the beginning of a journey. We’ve continued to leverage that modern cloud platform to rethink collaboration. Today we’re taking a big leap forward on the Cisco Collaboration journey with you.

Moments ago, on mainstage at Collaboration Summit 2015, we announced the evolution of Cisco Spark. It is now a complete business collaboration service from the Cisco cloud that enables customers to message, meet, or call anyone, anywhere and anytime. Cisco Spark is hosted by Cisco and sold by partners.

Visit the Cisco Spark Partner Launch Page 

The evolved Cisco Spark is designed for customers of any size, and delivers a mobile-first, single collaboration experience that spans all modes of communication.

Core Components of Cisco Spark

Today’s historic announcement reflects the evolution of Cisco Spark from a mobile app to a platform to an entire ecosystem, with the inclusion of Spark APIs, SDKs and a new Developer site. The emergence of a full collaboration service platform wouldn’t be complete if others couldn’t build on it! In addition to the existing messaging service, we‘ve added full calling and meeting capabilities to the cloud.  And to extend the value of our customers’ existing investments, we’ve announced a set of services that connect Cisco Powered Hosted Collaboration Solutions (HCS) and our on-premises call control solutions with Cisco Spark capabilities in the cloud.

It’s a major leap forward; our Collaboration Cloud has become the center of every experience we are delivering. It is the fabric that connects everything we have – phones, rooms, video, Spark, WebEx, and APIs.

Spark Partner Overview Presentation_Dec-2015_003

Partner Benefits

So it’s clear the way people work is fundamentally changing and today’s announcement puts partners at the center of this transformation.

I see three distinct categories for partners to take full advantage of this new Cisco Spark cloud based collaboration service:

Growth: The new cloud service opens up paths to reach new small and mid-market customers in ways not possible before.  With help from Cisco, you can sell Spark in a simple, volume-sales model. You can position a solution to a specific business department and leverage that relationship to move across the organization and expand your opportunity by delivering additional solutions.

With the new hybrid services capabilities, you can also grow by selling Cisco Spark to your existing Cisco customers. You can extend the value of their on-premise or managed solutions, including Unified Communications Manager (UCM), the Business Edition series or Hosted Collaboration Solutions (HCS).

By seamlessly connecting on-premises call control with the cloud based message and meeting capabilities of Spark, you can maximize the unique attributes and capabilities of each. You can create new opportunities with these existing customers, enabling them to work smarter and innovate faster, and helping them manage their transition to the cloud. This transformation will enable customers to change the way they work, and take a big leap forward on their own digital journey.

Profit: You can profit from selling the service and related endpoints, and by adding your own margin rich services. And you’ll continue to profit from new annuity-based recurring revenue streams.

Differentiate: This starts by offering a cloud collaboration service that is simple, secure and complete, compared to the many disparate cloud offers in the market that customers piece together today. But the biggest opportunity to differentiate is by offering customization. The Cisco Spark Developer Platform provides a way for you to differentiate by customizing the integration of Spark with various native customer applications for different industries, or by working with developer partners who can do this to help you deliver for your customer

The innovative cloud platform, app centric design, hybrid services and architecture of the Cisco Spark Service create, we believe, a very powerful and differentiated offering in this space.

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Hollywood Got Collaboration Right

If you’ve ever tried to dial in to a conference call from the school’s carpool lane after dropping off your kids and ended up with the other parents honking at you while you tried to join, you won’t recognize Hollywood’s version of collaboration.

On TV shows, no one is ever searching for a conference dial-in and in the movies when the hero rushes out of the conference room her video call instantly transfers to her phone without missing a beat.

Unfortunately the real world isn’t like the movies.  Our daily work lives are filled with the frustrations of trying to get technologies to work well together, as we all deal with the reality of outdated, complex, and difficult to use collaboration tools.

When I took over Cisco’s Collaboration group three years ago, I got to experience the great products and see the great experiences we could deliver.  But I also saw where the sitcoms got their material.

I told my team that we not only have to pay attention to the details, but that we need to let the future inspire us as we drive towards a totally seamless collaboration experience.  One where the right information just appears when it is supposed to, when all the technology just works, and where people pop in and out of virtual spaces like magic: Just like you might see in a futuristic movie.

Imagine a work week when you didn’t need to say “I’ll set up a meeting as soon as I am back at my desk,” because setting up a meeting from your mobile device was actually easy to do. Or one in which you could spontaneously share a document with a colleague who called you, because every call is also a meeting.  Or one when joining a conference call from your car meant was a one-touch experience and didn’t require pulling over so you could write down the meeting number and password.

To get work done, people need to be able to message, meet and call each other without thinking about it and without stopping to consider what device they are using.  Whether they are on a room system, a desktop phone, or a mobile phone, they should all work the same.

When you get a call you should be able to answer on any of your devices–and if you want to change the device you are using, that should be easy too.

Today’s announcements about moving our core collaboration products to the cloud under a single platform, Spark, take us to this reality.

With the new Cisco Spark platform– and the groundbreaking new collaboration technologies built upon it–we can finally start to usher in that futuristic world we’ve all been dreaming of.  We can’t wait to share it with you.

Check out the replay of my keynote at Collaboration Summit where I go into detail about our latest collaboration announcements.

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Top Cisco Collaboration Partners for 2015 Recognized with Awards

How exciting and inspiring it was to welcome partners from around the world to Collaboration Summit 2015 last night! We had a great time, and I could tell as we said goodnight, that we were all brimming with anticipation for the next few days. I can confirm for all of you, we will be sharing some historic news that will greatly accelerate our collaboration business.

For those who are not with us in person, I strongly recommend tuning into the live stream of the keynotes from Rowan and Jonathan today at 9:00 a.m. PT – or catching the replay on demand. I could not be more excited to share the news with you this week, and for the success we’ll certainly create together in 2016 and beyond.

Last night, we were thrilled to recognize a select number of our partners with well-deserved awards for their outstanding performance in fiscal 2015. On behalf of the entire Cisco team, it is my sincere pleasure to recognize them again here. And extend my warm thanks to all of our valued partners for the success we shared this past year.

2015 Cisco Collaboration Partner Award Winners:

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