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#EngineersUnplugged S2|Eps5-6: #Automation and #KISS, a Double Header!

On Engineers Unplugged this week, we are trying something new, a double edition! First up in Episode 5, VCE’s Jay Cuthrell (@qthrul) and Nick Weaver (@lynxbat) talk shop in terms of Automation and the evolution of Open Source, including GitHub, and the role of Community in Tech solving problems. Amazing discussion with practical guidance on how you can get more involved:

Jay Cuthrell and Nick Weaver take the Community Unicorn Challenge!

Jay Cuthrell and Nick Weaver take the Community Unicorn Challenge!

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Announcing my3850

C05-726773-00 my3850 community banner_v2bNot mine, exactly, but it could be yours.

my3850 (lowercase intentional) is the new community for people interested in learning more about the new Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switch.  This community is also for those currently using the Catalyst 3850 or those partners helping plan, deploy, or run a network with these new converged-access switches .  We actually launched this community with the Catalyst 3850’s launch in January and have been quietly planning and organizing.  The first of those planned endeavors is Office Hours! Click below to find out how you can join in. 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.


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Introducing the Solution Accelerator Community for Intelligent Automation for Cloud

We are excited by the demand for Cisco’s Intelligent Automation for Cloud Starter Edition designed for pilot cloud deployments.   Just Recently we announced the new version of our stack, Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) 3.1.  The release of Cisco IAC 3.1 continues to demonstrate Cisco’s commitment to enterprise customers and service providers to successfully deploy and manage their private, public or hybrid cloud environments.

There are so many opportunities to build private, public, and hybrid clouds with our Cloud Portal, Process Orchestrator, Server Provisioner and Network Services Manager.  Over a year ago we embarked on a journey to build cloud behaviors  into our product through  a concept we call Accelerator Packs which are XML  files containing the service catalog, data model and orchestration workflows that snap into Cisco IAC Starter Edition or Cisco IAC 3.1.  Accelerator packs extend Cisco IAC’s ability to manage multiple cloud environments such as Openstack, Amazon EC2 and VMware vCloud Director.   Accelerator packs were designed to meet the needs of our differing customers:  large service providers, or enterprises acting as a service provider, that desire completely custom behaviors, and other customers that are looking for pre-built and Cisco supported cloud-in-a-box solution.

Our platform is like the iPOD.  When installed and turned on you have a blank slate, no music ships with that iPOD.  Our automation packs are like the music and video files that upload and then your iPOD comes alive.  With our 3.0 Starter Edition and the 3.1 release, we have productized many playlists for a starter and enterprise grade cloud.  This means more than 70 pre-built portal services and over 150 orchestration workflows.  But wait, there is one more thing:   Cisco Advanced Services, Cisco partners and customers can build their specific content to extend the productized behaviors and content.  It can be transportable from one instance of Intelligent Automation for Cloud to another for leverage and integration.

How do we encourage sharing between all the 100’s of folks building content for this platform?

We are introducing the Solution Accelerator Community Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud.  Anyone with a registration can access this site.

This will be the place for Cisco, Partners and Customers to post, download, improve, upload content for sharing within the community.  This content can only run on the Intelligent Automation for Cloud software, so if you would like purchase a version of the platform for non-production test and development use, please go here.  While the solution accelerators are NOT open source, the use of this site is governed by these terms of use.

We have placed our Multi-Cloud  solution accelerator on this site and we are extremely proud of our integration with Openstack (and Amazon AWS and VMware vCloud Director).

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Creating Trust: Moving from Lurking to User Generated Content

As a training professional, I know what makes good online training and what makes boring and ineffective online training. We often get complaints that our training doesn’t present a variety of view points, it doesn’t go far enough, does not present enough practical examples, or that you can’t change attitudes or behavior with online training. These are all valid arguments that training professionals face in making the case for online training. But these days, social media can be used to address some of these issues with communities of practice for learning.
As always, the key to an effective learning experience is to get the learning to continue after the online course ends. Creating communities of practice, slowly generates trust, and turns learners into experts who will create and pass along their experiences, essentially creating user-generated content.

In most online communities, 90% of community members are lurkers. (Institute of Behavioural Research, 2008, Preece, Nonnecke, and Andrews , 2004) Lurkers get a great benefit from the community, as they come to the community for primarily to read and review the content. The trick to growing a community of practice however, is to change lurkers to participants. Lurkers generally do not contribute until they foresee a benefit to their contribution, or an increased social equity; social equity is essentially a raise in trust and status among community members. To increase social equity, lurkers must establish social networks of their own.
Communities of practice have an advantage over other types of communities in that their membership generally shares a common level of expertise or a common experience: for example, cardiac physicians, or people who have passed their CCNA certification, or even participants who attended the same online class. Content generated by the membership of a community of practice can even be perceived as more trustworthy than traditional content , (ITtoolbox and PJA Advertising + Marketing “IT Social Media Index, 2007), as audiences today feel as they can perceive the difference between traditional marketing-type content and user generated content. In a community of practice, this perception may be especially important, as there is a common level of expertise among the participants and therefore an implicit level of trust.
The more that community of practice members can make connections and engage with other members of the community to gain trust, the more they will feel comfortable making contributions to the community. Lurkers may start by simply rating a particular post or blog, but again, the community of practice advantage is their expertise, and shared experiences, which can make lurkers more comfortable in moving beyond ratings to actual postings.
Activity in a community of practice and the creation of user generated content has a strong correlation with the completeness of user profile information, making it easier for community of practice members to find and follow each other. After all, it is only natural that a community member will be more comfortable displaying knowledge and expressing opinions among friends, rather than strangers. Therefore in a community of practice, it is absolutely essential that participants are encouraged to complete their user profile information to more easily find friends and make content contributions to the community.
So take some time today to fill out your user profile and “follow” fellow community members, it’s the first step from moving from a lurker to a full-fledged community member.

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