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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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Big Data Could Spawn a Retail Revolution

Success in retail hinges on a deep understanding of consumers. Anticipating their wants and needs — then offering the right product, in the right place, at the right time, and for the right price — has always been paramount.

To truly understand today’s consumer, however, retailers need to address a new dimension that is challenging retailers in unprecedented ways: data. Not just traditional data – Big Data.

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To Bring Or Not to Bring?

There’s no question, the employee-led mobility revolution has arrived. Will the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies that must inevitably follow come soon enough?

Everyone is bringing their devices, everywhere they go. People, no matter their occupation, want to check the news, keep in touch, catch up on email, and stay productive or entertained wherever they are. So the real question for government organizations becomes, “how do we address this mobile explosion and the proliferation of employee devices?”

IMG_6600TabletGovt.Many have yet to implement BYOD policies for fear of the security implications and exposing sensitive data. But what is the security risk of doing nothing? In a recent Forrester survey of 498 government employees from around the world, more than half of the respondents (57%) said their organizations provided limited or no support for employee devices and some even said their employers prohibit mobile devices outright. The survey also revealed that 3 out of 10 government workers in these situations find “alternative ways” of using their device for work.

This poses a problem for government agencies: having no policy or prohibiting devices is risky because employees are bringing and using their devices anyway.

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Cisco NRF 2013 – Preview of Cisco BYOD Demonstration

This is our third preview of what Cisco will be showcasing at the 102nd National Retail Federation Convention and Expo on January 14 and 15, 2013 in New York City. We’ll be showcasing Cisco Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) Smart Solution and see the technology that enables you to support mobile access that’s both easy and secure. Come learn how you can improve employee productivity and customer service with a highly secure BYOD environment. Please watch this video about the BYOD demonstration and then mark your calendar to join us at Cisco Booth #252 at NRF 2013. I look forward to seeing you there!

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Wired or Wireless: Will the Distinction Matter?

Howard Baldwin - Photograph

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

How symbiotic is the relationship between wired and wireless technologies? Simple answer: very. Increasingly, the perceived gap between traditional cellular (3G, 4G), Wi-Fi, and wired technologies is narrowing.

There’s no question that the gap between wireless technologies is narrowing. Tiago Rodrigues, project director for the Wireless Business Alliance (WBA), sees venues such as sports stadiums, shopping malls, and even universities combining cellular and Wi-Fi coverage.

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