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Reimagining Collaboration: Using Video as the Currency for Trust

At Enterprise Connect this week, I will be hosting the session “Use Video Collaboration as a Tool to Become a Trusted Advisor to Your Business.” I will be joined by Jeremy Stubbs, VP of business development from Sabre Holdings, and Matt Benefiel, Chief Court Administrator from the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida. In addition to these panelists, you will hear first hand from two customers about the video collaboration strategies they’ve used to differentiate themselves by strengthening trust relationships.

Using video collaboration to help build trust with colleagues, customers and partners has been my passion for most of the past decade. What better way to make a deep connection than to look at someone in the eyes and say, “I’ve got you covered.” Short of being physically in the room and shaking hands when you say this, high-definition video is today the most effective communications tool to impart this message.

The set of technologies we’re introducing this week is all about making video collaboration so compelling that trust and confidence can be easily exchanged – and at every level, not just the corner office. As Rowan Trollope says in a previous post, we’re “reimagining collaboration.” What this means is we’re making video more consumable:  easier to use and access, offering the right quality and features for business efficacy, and more affordable so that they can extend to every part of the organization and companies of all sizes. Read More »

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Keep It Simple: Collaboration Lessons from Coaching Kids

Andy blog - soccer imageAs an enthusiastic football (U.S. translation: soccer) fan, I watch my two young sons playing youth-football every week. Not surprisingly it was only a matter of time before someone asked me to help coach. To keep up the pretence I actually knew something about football; I started scanning around for coaching tips and drills.  After a while I came across an e- book called “KISS: Keep it Simple Soccer: How to coach youth soccer” by John Fraher.

In it is a quote from legendary Dutch footballer, Ruud Krol:  “Michels [coach] taught us always that simple football is the best. It is also very difficult to play simple football.”

This got me thinking about the oft-quoted business principle “Keep It Simple, Stupid” and how it applies to collaboration technologies.

I’ve only been focused on marketing midsize collaboration solutions for a few months. Already I’m delighted by stories I hear from our customers talking about how our solutions enable their teams to work in new and exciting ways.

But I occasionally hear people say things like, “that’s all great for large enterprises, but it’s too complex” or “it’s not affordable for small to medium sized businesses.”

Well, the good news is that is not the case. We’re simplifying things.  And there are many examples of smaller organizations using collaboration technology to bring people together, with amazing results.  Take Switzerland’s 60-employee Intercantonal Reinsurance, which is seeing a 10-20% improvement in employee efficiency with Cisco Business Edition 6000.

I’ve worked in midsized businesses for a large part of my career. The relevance of collaboration technology and the opportunities it offers for growing businesses are just as great as for larger enterprises – if not greater. Read More »

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A Pervasive Video Experience Is an Integrated Experience

March 14, 2014 at 9:25 am PST

Video is a hot topic for Cisco collaboration right now. On Wednesday, we announced a series of new products that help businesses of every size make high-quality video accessible to every employee. At Enterprise Connect next week in Orlando, Florida, Rowan Trollope, who leads Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group, will be a keynote speaker and discuss why video is so important to the collaboration experience and the new way we work.

In fact, many other companies are also seeing the high value of video to the enterprise today and are entering the video market. With so many options to choose from, how do you determine the right video solution for your company? I’d say it depends on a number of things:  the experience you are seeking, the business results you want to achieve, and how flexible you need your collaborative architecture to be.

For example, would you like to do real-time video communications with your customers using WebRTC? Do you plan to put on webcasts and virtual events at your company to save on travel costs?  Will you deploy private or hybrid cloud models to achieve more architectural agility? Are mobile video apps part of your BYOD strategy? Maybe you would like to do all of these things.

An important part of achieving an exceptional collaboration experience is integration. For users to have a productive and seamless experience, you must implement a fully converged solution and take steps to ensure user adoption. Cisco Services helps that “delightful” experience emerge on a browser or in the boardroom by putting technology and complexity in the background.

The integrated video experience Read More »

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Staying Ahead of the Collaboration Requirements Curve

March 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm PST

In my last blog I talked about how optimization is shifting from a post-deployment activity to a regularly scheduled maintenance priority. Have we seen this shift in action? Yes, and it makes a big difference in how well your IT team can stay ahead of the curve to keep up with changing business requirements.

Case in point: A financial services company had teams all over the world, and conferencing was part of the company’s culture. Because of the popularity of video conferencing, conference rooms had to be scheduled hours or even days in advance. Wait times like these were unacceptable for urgent meetings. For a sales team, meeting delays can literally be a deal breaker. That’s why this financial services company decided to add on-demand video conferencing to its collaboration tools.

Responding quickly to unanticipated needs like this requires an understanding of the performance capabilities of your collaboration infrastructure. If you’ve taken a systemic approach to your collaboration performance, you’ll not only be able to respond to new requirements but you’ll be able to anticipate them.

This customer used Cisco’s Collaboration Optimization Services to keep their collaboration solution running at Read More »

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‘If You Build It, They Will Come’ – NOT!

baseball blog image_Frances_if you build it_2_28_14There are three types of baseball players: Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens.
- Tommy Lasorda

Kevin Costner’s character in “Field of Dreams” hears the voice “If you build it, they will come” which drives him to convert his cornfield to a ball field, attracting legendary players to fulfill his ultimate fantasy baseball game.

When companies build video collaboration spaces, will employees rush to the field, eagerly start using these solutions, find immediate value and fulfill the dreams that justified this investment?  Not necessarily.

In our experience, companies need to drive video adoption by communicating the answers to the two most important questions that drive human behavior --  “Who says so?” and “Why should I?”

Regrettably, sometimes IT leadership takes the “Build It and They Will Come” approach, driving the design and deployment of an extensive video architecture without the right partnership with the lines of business.  Decisions about where to put video solutions -- such as immersive TelePresence, multipurpose rooms and other endpoints – are often based on assumptions about Read More »

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