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2012 Predictions: These I Like

January 23, 2012 at 9:13 am PST

It took me awhile to go through all the random Top 10 of 2011 lists for various topics, so now I’m ready to look ahead to 2012’s preponderance of pundit predictions. Or maybe I’m just fashionably late. I’ve tripped over a few reports here and there – some quite possibly developed by caffeinated squirrels on a treadmill.

Not me, but she looks like she's predicting something...

On the technology front, I found one more interesting than others. Instead of putting a small group of experts in a room and not letting them out until they agree on a list, Baseline Magazine annually surveys business and technology managers at companies with 100+ employees to ask about their organizations’ investments, plans, and strategies. Across several hundred respondents, patterns evolve.

Whoever these people are, coming from the desk I use, I like the way they (and their companies) think. Following – their predictions and my two cents (maybe three or four).

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The UK Press Perspective on Customer Collaboration

As I’ve blogged recently, we are in the midst of a significant push in the UK contact center market.  Customers, partners, and key influencers have validated that we have the right strategy, vision, and ability to execute to make a real change in the market.  Coming out of my visit to the UK, are two articles published this week that do a great job of explaining how we are competing in the market.

First, Neil Davey in mycustomer.com, details a conversation that he and I had along with Andy Chew, one of our senior collaboration sales leaders in Europe.  The full article/interview is here: http://www.mycustomer.com/topic/social-crm/ciscos-plots-aggressive-customer-collaboration-expansion-uk/133446#

Additionally, Alex Blyth in the lead story of “Fifty Reasons to Love Call Centres” a special supplement in Saturday’s London Times, outlined a number of changes in the customer service market, including our perspective that self-service should be used appropriately, but is not a catch-all for all customer requests.  The supplement can be found Read More »

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When is a Visit from the Fire Marshall a Good Thing?

Our recent Americas Customer Collaboration Partner Sales Summit in Natick, MA brought together nearly 300 partners and Cisco attendees for two days of product updates, live demos, best practice sharing, networking, and interactive discussions.  Over the course of the event, some key discussion points included the clear shift in the contact center market toward Cisco, and the power of Cisco’s full Collaboration portfolio in helping to deliver Customer Collaboration solutions.

This annual event has become so popular--and the general demand for expertise in Cisco contact center solutions is so great --that our meeting room was filled beyond capacity by partners eager to work with us.

Although we didn’t in fact receive a visit from the Natick fire marshall, if we had it would have only underscored that all the momentum in the contact center industry is clearly with Cisco as we continuing driving to #1 in the market.

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Not All Contact Centers are Created Equal

Contact centers have been around for decades, and since it is a mature technology, potential buyers sometimes believe there is little difference between the offerings from the various vendors.  Nothing could be further from the truth!

While it’s certainly true that the major contact center vendors can provide traditional functionality such as interactive voice response (IVR), skills-based routing to agents, and associated reporting, the question then becomes “And what else?” Although traditional contact center functionality is still vital to customer care, the industry is evolving as businesses of all sizes strive to provide customer care in the manner in which today’s customers wish to be served.  This transition to what Cisco first defined as Customer Collaboration combines traditional contact center technology and processes with key innovations in social media, Web 2.0 agent workspaces, video, and network-based recording and analytics to empower businesses to forge deeper, proactive relationships with their customers.

When you think about implementing or upgrading a contact center, have you considered how your business or organization will keep pace with today’s consumers?

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Cisco Customer Collaboration Driving Aggressively to #1

Cisco’s contact center business is growing more than twice as quickly as the market, and we are driving aggressively to become the #1 vendor worldwide.  As I talk to customers, press, analysts, consultants, and partners, I continue to see momentum on our side.  Market trends, changes in the competitive landscape, and customer desires are all responsible for this momentum.  Of course, I think that we are creating some of this momentum for ourselves as well.  Let me share some insights.

Contact center has become mainstream within Cisco, a real change from the niche market view of customer care that the company had in the past.  The talented Cisco sales force has embraced our industry-shaping innovations in Customer Collaboration, which combines traditional contact center technology and processes with key innovations in social media, Web 2.0 agent workspaces, video, and network-based recording and analytics to empower businesses to forge deeper, proactive relationships with their customers. Customer collaboration empowers our own customers to succeed, and there is clear focus on this market, starting with key Cisco sales executives, who exhorted the Cisco sales team at the global sales kickoff in August that, “The time is now for Cisco to stand up and claim leadership in Contact Center.”  Needless to say, hearing that from one of the top sales leaders in the company put an extra spring in my step.

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