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Improve Decision-Making: Collaborate to Engage

January 10, 2013 at 5:26 am PST

This is the second of a four-part series. Part I introduced decision-driven collaboration. Upcoming posts will explore evaluation and execution.

Better decisions don’t necessarily come from the existence of better information. The information is usually somewhere in the organization, but there’s no benefit to the decision-making process unless people actually use it. Executives often don’t take full advantage of all the specialized knowledge that employees can contribute. Maybe they don’t know the information is there. Maybe they know it must be somewhere, but don’t know how to get it. Or, well, maybe they’re just not looking for it in the first place.

Improving the decision-making process comes as a result of evolving ideas around collaboration and by connecting people and empowering them to work together. Cisco IBSG calls this “Decision-Driven Collaboration” and outlines three core elements that build upon one another in the decision process:

  • Collaborate to Engage: Identify key contributors, solicit input, share ideas.
  • Collaborate to Evaluate: Shape the matter to be decided, consider viable alternatives.
  • Collaborate to Execute: Make a clear decision, align relevant parties, put it into practice.

Although the executives in an IBSG survey rated their own decision-making ability highly, the managers and individual contributors were (surprise!) not nearly as confident in the decisions handed to them to execute. Making critical strategic decisions without engaging the right people and information in your organization should be a candidate for a new definition of risk in the next edition of the dictionary, followed closely by leaping out of an airplane minus a parachute.

Just ask Borders. Borders missed the online retailing boat in a big way. How big? Read More »

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Six Predictions for Cloud Collaboration in 2013

As we move into 2013 and attempt a glance further into the future, we see shifts in the conversation around cloud collaboration. I’ve outlined a few thoughts on what we can expect soon, over the course of the next few years, and in the future.

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

“Businesses will have to provide an environment in which their employees are connected in ways they have never been connected before.”

As more companies understand the problems that arise in the collection of big data and the number of employees who work outside the office increases, cloud adoption will grow exponentially. Gartner data shows 71 percent of businesses adopted Software as a Service (SaaS) within the past three years, with three quarters of businesses planning on increasing SaaS spending. However, the reason companies increasingly invest in SaaS will shift. As a recent Forrester survey shows, a decreasing number of businesses are prioritizing lower costs as a reason to adopt SaaS, while an increasing number of businesses are focusing on “business agility” as a reason to deploy a SaaS solution.

In order to compete effectively in the future, businesses will have to provide an environment in which their employees are connected in ways they have never been connected before – connecting employees to customers, partners, and suppliers real time, anytime, anywhere, and providing context to these collaborative sessions.  This can only be accomplished through leveraging an increasing set of collaborative technology, and exposing the most relevant data across the traditional mediums of voice, video, and chat. Cloud accelerates the roll-out of this technology consistently across entire companies and their business partners, so they can improve the efficiency of their decision-making and the quality of their customers’ experience. As the cloud and macroeconomic factors increase the speed of business and collaboration, businesses will look to the cloud to as a means to deploy the growing set of integrated collaborative tools and gain a competitive edge.

As cloud collaboration moves beyond early adopters in 2013, hybrid models will proliferate and customers will increasingly demand a seamless, uncompromising user experience between the cloud and the customer premises.

“More than 50 percent of enterprises began cloud migrations in 2011.”

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Riding the 3 Waves Through the Holidays

As many of you know, the term “Black Friday” is commonly used to describe the Friday immediately after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday--the busy shopping day when many retailers begin to turn a profit for the year. Black Friday signals the start of the holiday shopping season, with its accompanying surge in the need for customer support. We can all think of examples of the latter: the frantic web searches to get our childrens’ gifts working properly, the calls to return a sweater that was the wrong size--sound familiar?

The holiday season is the acid-test of customer care in many industries. Businesses that fail the test will lose customers--often in droves--while those who delight their customers can surge ahead of the competition.

So how can businesses succeed--and excel--in providing world-class customer service even during this most challenging of seasons? The answer lies in properly leveraging the 3 Waves of Customer Care:  Cost, Relationship, and Experience. You can read about the details in this Read More »

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Momentum for Social Collaboration in the Enterprise

Cisco’s collaboration solutions have been front and center over the past two weeks at both Cisco Live and Enterprise 2.0, the premier conference for social business technologies. I had the opportunity to attend both conferences and was energized by the incredible momentum we have in the market with the integrated collaboration solutions we’re providing to the marketplace.

The customers, reporters and analysts I’ve talked to recognize that the notion of a traditional workplace is changing. Employees are more mobile than ever before. People are collaborating across geographic locations and time zones, so work is conducted in a more virtual and time-shifted manner. Social technologies in the workplace allow people to leverage talent, experts, colleagues and customers around the world.

Cisco’s goal is to lead this market transition. At Enterprise 2.0, we unveiled Read More »

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Ignite Adoption of Social Collaboration: Practical Advice From A Practitioner

June 18, 2012 at 6:00 am PST

Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to spend time in the trenches with a number of customers embarking on efforts to deploy social collaboration platforms.   While the individual challenges differ, the one constant that I have seen is that the “if you build it, they will come” cliché may work well in the movies, but it certainly does not apply to persuading employees to adopt this emerging way of sharing information and collaborating with co-workers.

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