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What Does the New Collaboration Experience Mean to You?

For me, collaboration in business is about people working together across functions and disciplines from the C-Level suite all the way down to the mail room. It’s about the experience. When people get intellectually and emotionally involved with others through collaboration, it’s that set of experiences, thoughts, and feelings that bond them together in a common cause.

More businesses are recognizing that critical relationships with both their internal constituents and external stakeholders—employees, partners, investors, media, and customers—are about the collection of experiences and touch points those audience members and key collaborators have with their organization. So, if collaborative relationships are a continuum of experiences, then it follows that businesses should optimize those experiences for maximum impact. To learn more about how the customer care industry evolved to focus on “the complete experience,” click here.

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Omni Channel Retailing—Connecting Anytime, Anywhere, Even at 30,000 Feet

At the National Retail Federation conference and expo this past week in New York, Cisco released its latest study on how consumers are hopping across multiple channels and how retailers can catch ‘Em and keep ‘Em. On my way from San Francisco to New York this week, I was shopping at the airport and did an e-book purchase and downloaded it to my tablet using the onboard wireless Internet service at 30,000 feet.

Think about the impact of this new consumer reality to retailers such as Sport Chalet, who needs to build a strong foundation to support customers anytime anywhere.

Sport Chalet CEO, Craig Levra, and CIO, Ted Jackson, discuss how they are satisfying shoppers and improving operations with Cisco technology.

Some of the capabilities that retailers need to provide going forward in the omnichannel world include:

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In Between the Numbers: New Year’s Resolutions

January 13, 2012 at 5:08 pm PST

OK, retail technologists. It’s the new year. Time for resolutions.

Grab the pencil (so you can revise, not erase) and the notepad, plug in the earbuds, and settle into your thinking chair. And take the first step in getting rid of those old bad habits.

Resolve to address those big, ugly, long-standing structural weaknesses that weigh you down like a ball and chain. Weaknesses like the non-integrated, multiple databases residing within the legacy applications. Like the oft taken-for-granted time-to-capability performance (caused by a legacy store architecture) that measures all-store roll-outs in years and gets a constant eyeroll and deep sigh from the SVP of Ops.

Resolve to look that ancient, deeply-customized application that you prop each year with more people and money squarely in the eye.

Resolve to lose weight. Heavy, power-sucking, PO-abusing CPU weight. Virtualize the data centers and start the process of removing CPUs (and all the break-fix maintenance costs) from the store. Thin is in. So is operational simplicity.

Resolve to demand value from your vendors – which, as we all know, is different from the lowest price. Demand that they help you solve specific business problems. Demand that they bring their best strategists and thinkers to the table.

Resolve to ignore all the one-off shiny technologies du jour. Easier said than done, especially with NRF around the corner, the marketing SVP sputtering that “everyone else is doing it,” and the CEO remarking that his nephew had one at Christmas. (Mobility! Smartphone apps! Tablets! Interactive kiosks! Ooooh!)

Resolve to embrace BYOD, and push it forward. Your corporate leaders of tomorrow won’t necessarily thank you. It’s just that they’ll be willing to work for you instead of the competition.

Resolve to toss out of the room any consultant or vendor sales rep who talks about “customer experience” without detailed considerations of your segment, your price point, your brand promise, and the overall customer journey by persona – all the way through service and loyalty. Resolve to ask them how many times they’ve visited your stores.

 What am I missing?

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Retail Lessons from Las Vegas Vacation Part 3 of 3 – Selling the Experience

In Part 1 of the blog I wrote about video technology, part 2 on omni channel, for the third and last part of the blog series I would like to show what Las Vegas is doing in terms of selling the total consumer experience rather than just products and services.

In one sense Las Vegas has always been about selling the experience when it comes to gambling.  You don’t get a tangible product for your bets (unless you win) but people gamble for the experience.  As gaming is legalized in many countries as well as states, Las Vegas has adapted itself to market the Las Vegas experience beyond gaming.

While I was on vacation I visited the Stratosphere hotel and casino which is the tallest structure in Las Vegas which features casinos, restaurants and thrill rides on top.  Its latest offering SkyJump  (package costs including video via wrist cam and photo) allows participants to jump off the tower at the 850 ft and free fall down and land via decelerator wire.  Certainly a customer experience not easily forgotten :-)

Other examples include Read More »

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Companion Screens Transforming the TV Experience

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

Pop quiz: How many screens does it take to watch television programming? For a growing number of people, the answer is two — a TV, plus a media tablet or mobile smartphone. That may seem counterintuitive, but for many of us (present company included) a mobile “companion” device has become an essential part of the living room TV experience.

According to a Nielsen survey of 12,000 connected device owners, 70 percent of tablet owners and 68 percent of smartphone owners use their devices while watching TV. Tablet owners in particular seem unable to put down the iPad while flipping channels, with respondents saying that nearly a third of the time they spend using their device is in front of the TV.

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