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What to Know: Virtual Face-to-Face Engagements for Midsize Business

Have you ever imaged what your company would look like if you only employed the best and the brightest employees? Midsize business leaders, just like enterprise companies, need to recruit and retain the most capable employees. They recognize that because today’s talent is on the move, the best employees may not be local.

There is a new understanding for midsize organizations: To remain competitive, they need new ways to support engaging face-to-face virtual interactions. Midmarket organizations also recognize that as employees juggle their time to have fulfilling careers, simplifying their ability to maintain a work-life balance is also important. Let’s face it: Connecting people on a very personal level is good for business.

KO12012So how will this help my business be more successful? Collaboration technology can amplify the value of each participant’s talents and contributions. It is this thinking that has led many midsize organizations with which I’ve spoken to use collaboration technologies to engage more personally with their customers, stakeholders, partners, and others (suppliers, consultants, or specialists) regardless of their location.

To put the cherry on top, it is now easier than ever to enable your dynamic workforce wherever they are. I’ve seen midmarket companies use Cisco collaboration technologies such as Sub-Zero and Vital Images to help improve their customer and employee engagements to drive revenue and success. Read More »

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Collaboration Technologies Can Help Reduce Travel Costs Without Reducing Relationships

Did you know these corporate travel facts?

  • On average, companies spent more than 10% of their total annual budget on expenses related to business travel in 2014, according to Aberdeen.
  • Non-compliance with corporate travel policies is a top-three challenge for 57% of executives surveyed by Travelport.
  • Nearly 85% of respondents to the Travelport survey say rising airfares and hotel rates have negatively affected their corporate travel programs.

One of my favorite things in life is to travel and to explore new places. It’s inspiring and gives me perspective on different regions and lifestyles. That said, business travel can be a far cry from leisure travel.

It’s great to meet customers and partners, and I enjoy dinners with colleagues on the road. But when I travel, my work week gets jumbled by the diversion from my routine. Time changes, the lack of veggies in my diet, and missing my oh-so-comfy bed. There are times when we all have to meet in person. But business travel sometimes exacts a high cost from project deadlines and time-sensitive work.

Honestly, and I know I am not alone, spending time in security checkpoints, then sitting on a plane for hours trying to get comfortable and be productive can be a nuisance.

Travel itself is expensive. Read More »

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Ringing in 2015, the WebEx Way

Happy New Year! As I return from the holidays and begin the year ahead, I’m energized and excited about all the amazing accomplishments we achieved with WebEx in 2014. Many recollections come to mind that I’d like to share with you. And I have exciting news for 2015 — already! More on this in just a minute…

WebEx is really at the core of everyone’s work life. With over 60 million users and more than 1 million meetings a day, we really impact how people work and live. It was just a little over a year ago that I started leading the Cloud Collaboration Applications team at Cisco. When I started, I challenged the WebEx product team with a new goal to dramatically improve our already great web conferencing tool. A key element of this goal was a focus on simplicity. Making WebEx simple in addition to enhancing functionality was the target. Bottom line: It is our mission to delight every WebEx user and make their work life more productive.

The New WebEx

My team took this challenge to heart and made significant product changes in this direction. In October 2014, we launched the New WebEx that comes with a new clean intuitive interface, improved web landing pages that make it easier to join online meetings, much faster meeting load times, better video layout, and wideband VoIP audio for better audio quality. Read More »

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Clearly Communicate, Closely Collaborate to Innovate

Innovation matters.
And innovation requires collaboration.
And collaboration requires clear communication.

Without clear communications, you open the door for all sorts of innovation-hindering situations: Miscommunications, misunderstandings, and misinterpretations. Errors, delays, and disagreements. 

forbes post 1c

Most of these issues are avoidable. And it doesn’t take magic. It’s actually pretty simple: Integrate video into your normal collaboration. There’s no longer a long list of reasons to limit video to the boardroom, executives, and special occasions. We’ve reached the intersection of low cost and high-quality.

The range of video options available now reaches from the pocket to the laptop to meeting rooms and all the way into immersive boardroom environments. Keep your fine tableware for holidays and special occasions if you’d like, but video no is no longer a special-occasion technology.

When it comes to technology, today’s reality brings video into reach across the org chart: high-quality video-conferencing equipment, simple applications, and powerful bandwidth. And on the (more important) human side of the equation, people are becoming more comfortable with video in their personal communications through consumer devices: smartphones, tablets. Read More »

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How Video Makes a Difference in the Way I Work

Last fall, I was standing in a hotel lobby in Boca Raton, Florida, where I was attending our annual Collaboration Summit. I noticed an energetic woman walking directly toward me. “It’s so great to see you!” she said when she reached me.

I quickly attempted to access the facial-recognition software in my own brain to identify her.
Click, click, click…
I’m terrible with faces.
Click, click, click…
I think I recognize people I don’t know, and I don’t recognize people I’ve met.
Click, click, click…

She saved me further embarrassment and introduced herself. We’d recently worked on a big presentation together. Over instant messaging and e-mail. And on the phone. We’d never met in person, but she recognized me immediately. Why? Because I always use video in online meetings and conference calls.

Later that evening, I went to a reception with a group of customers. In the weeks prior, I’d had WebEx meetings with many of them to review agendas and answer questions. Several people approached me saying they’d recognized me from the call. One said she wasn’t sure she was at the right reception until she saw me there.

I don’t use video because I’m enamored with my own visage, but because I find it useful. And easy to do. At first it was a bit awkward – did I just scratch my nose? – but it quickly became routine. Sometimes I’m the only person on a call using video. Other people will often start their video after noticing that I’m using mine.

A Forrester study of how knowledge workers collaborate showed that 71% work from a personal desk within their organization four to five days per week. And even for collaborative tasks, employees tend to work from their desks to a much greater extent than at any other location, such as a conference room. Case in point: they make 88% of phone calls from a personal desk at work. Read More »

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