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Cloud Reimagined

As we gear up for our biggest collaboration event of the year, Collaboration Summit, I thought it would be a great opportunity to kick off a blog series leading up to the announcements we’ll be making there this December about the evolution of our Collaboration Cloud Platform.

At last year’s summit, we announced Project Squared, our foray into what Gartner calls “enterprise mobile messaging,” but also a proof of concept for our entire cloud platform. We created this app, now known as Cisco Spark, to help us collaborate better internally while we built a new collaboration infrastructure from the ground up.

Infrastructure is top-of-mind for enterprises today, especially considering the rise of cloud and mobile and the increasing pressure of business leaders to make a decisive move to cloud. As our CEO Chuck Robbins noted in a recent blog, “The critical timeframe to deliver on the transformation cycle is compressing, and we all must move faster than ever before.”

It’s not possible to simply move our current infrastructures into the cloud. We saw the need for a new kind of cloud architecture reimagined to work with enterprise and partner networks in a radical way.

We built our platform with modern cloud-based technologies focused on key customer and partner concerns, including user experience, security, flexible deployment options, and ecosystem. For the first time, we can deliver the incredible experience users want built on the dynamic and secure infrastructure IT demands.

Please follow this series of blogs from our cloud team as we track the evolution of our cloud from app to platform to ecosystem, allowing each of our cloud leaders to comment on the design and technical principles behind its truly unique architecture.

The future is going to be in the cloud, but not all clouds were created equal. With digital transformation looming large in the minds of business leaders worldwide, it’s important to choose a cloud deployment model that can actually get them there.

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The Mobile Workspace For Collaboration

The first thing you may wonder is how can you have a mobile workspace. After all, the point of being mobile is that you can be anywhere and if you’re anywhere, you may noScreenshot_2015-09-01-13-37-31t have a physical workspace. This means your accessories must also be mobile. They should fit in your pockets, or at least a laptop bag. Most people will argue that a laptop is a portable device, not a mobile device. Even if it is equipped with mobile connectivity. Consider what devices you use most when on the road.

The first piece of your mobile workspace is your mobile phone or tablet. The phone is the foundation for the mobile workspace.  I don’t own a tablet. I prefer something that fits in my pocket. When I’m on the go, I use my mobile phone as my primary means of communication. Today I have the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active and I’m happy with it.

There are some key collaboration applications that you need to realize the most value of the mobile workspace.

My collaboration user persona is that of a mobile worker. I spend time in the car. I spend time among the buildings on the Cisco campus.   I also spend time with customers and attending events. Read More »

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My Job Moves with me Anywhere I Go

In the last five years I have moved from Siberia to San Francisco, to Berkeley, to San Jose, to Phoenix, and now to Minneapolis. Unlike most people, moving so many times almost feels like a privilege to me. My husband and I have been able to explore the “sparkle” of Silicon Valley. We enjoyed Phoenix during the not-so-hot months. And now we are in Minneapolis where every day of summer seems like the 4th of July. (I might not be bragging in January when its -30 degrees. But hey, I’m trying to tell myself that it’s healthy for the soul to endure a Winter Wonderland in the U.S. Midwest.)

There are many reasons why we’ve had to relocate so often. Whether I moved to be closer to the beach, the snow, or family — or due to a tragedy — I’m glad that my personal life did not impact my professional life. Aside from constant packing, unpacking, and doing the legwork of finding housing – I don’t know what I would do if I also had to start and restart the process of finding a job.

I have worked for Cisco a little more than two years now. Throughout my transitions, my responsibilities have changed only slightly. Surprisingly, my productivity and efficiency have increased thanks to my new, liberated perspective of work.

South Long Lake_MN_OK3My job moves with me anywhere I go. As long as I have an internet connection, I can work from my home office, my backyard, a restaurant, a coffee shop, or even on my family’s boat. My laptop and smartphone are the only devices I need to be fully functional.  And Cisco tools such as Jabber, WebEx, and now Spark (a team collaboration solution) allow me to collaborate with my colleagues across continents.

If I need to join an important meeting with executives or managers, I have a DX70 desktop endpoint for better audio and video quality. If I have a meeting with local colleagues, we can use room systems like MX800 or IX5000 in a Cisco office. It has been fun to explore the differences between the Cisco offices in Phoenix, San Jose, and Bloomington, Minnesota. (Hmm, I think next year I should visit the Cisco office in New Zealand.) Read More »

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Cisco and Platfora Delivering on the Promise of Enterprise Scale Analytics

Analytics will continue to take center stage as the volume of data generated by embedded systems increases and vast pools of structured and unstructured data within and outside the enterprise are analyzed.  — Gartner

Big Data will continue to be important, but it’s critical to first understand how businesses can quickly gather relevant insights from their big data. The value is in unlocking key takeaways from the data because these insights can be used for agile decision-making and faster time-to-market approaches. Discovering better business insights quickly requires the combination of software and hardware that is optimized for speed, scale, and flexibility. And that is exactly what you get when you combine Platfora and Cisco UCS.

When Platfora runs on Cisco UCS, business analysts can find these patterns in minutes or hours rather than months. For example, our joint customer was able to identify exactly what factors impacted their customer experience using the Platfora solution which was deployed in 1/10th the time and cost of traditional approaches.

Platfora enables users to analyze petabytes of data at scale and leverages the latest cutting-edge technologies such as Spark and YARN (MapReduce 2.0). The Platfora end-to-end platform replaces the need for ETL, Data Warehousing, and BI tools. And the combination of Platfora and UCS ensures that there are no performance, scalability, or TCO tradeoffs as we add new data discovery joint use cases. This joint solution is truly designed for enterprise-scale analytics.

Read More »

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Which Collaboration Applications Are Right for Me?

As a member of the Sales Engineer Organization,  I spend lots of my time staying close to midsized customers observing how teams that do great work are leveraging applications to collaborate.   The number of choices available can make choosing the right tools an interesting journey.

Is there one solution to meet all needs? Midmarket organizations face these questions.   As I talked to several midsized companies this past year, I heard how improving team productivity is top of mind.  Keeping employees connected across their various workplace resources and devices is increasingly important.  Making customers happy with proactive service and quick response times is paramount to an organization’s success.

In the world of collaboration, consider the parallels between how online meetings and physical meetings take place.  Don’t you find it to be more effective to have the right setting for the meetings you attend in person?  A large group in a small space never works right.

For example, with physical meetings:

  • Large groups require large spaces, structured seating, the ability to share media, and the ability for participants to interact with presenters.
  • Fast moving small teams need rooms that are available on-demand and the ability to do real-time content tracking.

One-to-one interactions require privacy and rich-media sharing with the ability to call in additional participants as needed.

blog midmarket 2015 Read More »

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