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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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Bringing Up the Social Media Baby

According to a Nielsen study, social media is no longer in its infancy.  No kidding.

During the November military confrontation between Israel and Hamas, social media played a very grown-up role.  What distinguished it from past politically-charged social media exchanges was the participation of state and pseudo-state spokespersons.  Official announcements were issued by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigade via Twitter and Facebook in near real-time.

  • The IDF announced the initiation of the military campaign via Twitter, and tweeted in caps that it had “ELIMINATED” Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari in an airstrike.
  • The Brigade responded with threats of retaliation; both sides posted minute-by-minute updates as the fighting unfolded.

The evolution of social media into an official communications venue should come as no surprise.  It follows a time-honored pattern of disruptive ideas and technologies gaining acceptability as they move into the mainstream.  The Nielsen Social Media 2012 study tells us that 30 percent of individuals’ mobile device time is spent accessing social media.  That qualifies as mainstream.

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Meet Brett Belding: IT Twitter Superstar

Did you know that at least a quarter of the entire Cisco IT group’s engagement metrics on Twitter come from our SME Champion Brett? An IT Mobility Services Senior Manager at Cisco, he is constantly creating worthwhile, interesting buzz about Cisco IT for company fans and followers.

Brett’s Twitter Engagement

Brett is an excellent external social media proponent for the entire IT team. Particularly notable is his engagement on Twitter as he fills up his personal Twitter feed with fresh new content and always keeps the conversations with his fans going. Just by browsing through his Twitter feed, you will realize that this SME really knows how to use the platform properly and what to write in order to get people engaged. Moreover, Brett exercises many Twitter best practices besides publishing compelling contents and interesting tidbits such as including hash tags and RT-ing his fan’s tweets. Brett’s involvement on Twitter has effectively increased his personal as well as his team’s brand on the web by way of his social media communications.

Leveraging Social to Develop Meaningful Relationships with Customers

Because Brett is in charge of the Cisco IT group’s BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiative, he often conducts Executive and customer briefings focused on this expertise topic. What happens after the customers leave the briefing? Brett ensures that the relationships he has initiated with those individuals live on by utilizing various social sites including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Recently, Brett hosted a Twitter Chat session on BYOD on the social platform Storify. In these ways and more, he has established himself as a trust advisor role representing Cisco with whom customers and partners desire to socially connect with.

What business value do you see that results from participating on Twitter and other social media sites?

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A Recap of Cisco’s #CSRChat on Twitter

On Wednesday, October 9 Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was honored to be the guest for the #CSRChat hosed by the fabulous and super energetic Susan McPherson (@susanmcp1)!

Since our conversation was fast and lively we thought it would be useful to provide the questions and answers, along with resources to give you some additional insight into Cisco’s CSR work:

To begin with at Cisco, we believe that businesses have a responsibility to operate in ways that respect and ultimately benefit people, communities, and the planet we live on. Our core CSR philosophy is that impact multiplies whenever human and technology networks combine to solve a problem.

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I’d like a side order of “tweets”, a blog, and a dozen “likes” please.

Like most social media users, I use sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Blogger, to reach out to family and friends, network with colleagues, and share personal blogs.  These venues make my social conversations both manageable and enjoyable.  However, when I sought to utilize social media as a way to market our department brand, I went from a fast food menu of the big three (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) to a dizzying array of social media networks from which to select.  Google+, Chimein, Dribbble, Picasa, Pinterest, Digg, and Instagram are just the tip of the iceberg in a sea of social media networks that number in the hundreds.  Add in the many international social media networks found around the world and what were a few simple choices, became an overwhelming social media menu; and new social media networks continue to pop up faster than I could say, “I’ll have fries with that.”

With so many choices, how would I pick and choose the most effective social media networks that would provide the perfect social media options for my branding plan?  After all, part of the “mystique” is the desire to utilize the next social media network de jour.   An impossible task that would have had me spending more time on investigating every social media option rather than actually using available networks productively, so I backed away from the menu and outlined a social media strategy by asking the following questions:

  1. Who was my audience?
  2. What was the purpose of using social media?
  3. How would I dedicate and manage my time resource and stay involved?
  4. Budget – do you have one?

My audience is made up of fast moving and customer driven, professional technical teams who digest information quickly and move on.  Social media is the vehicle that would put the information I need to get into our engineers’ hands at real time speed and with interaction exchange.   I listened to their conversations and identified topics of interest and will present information in an engaging format that will enlist their attention.  Visuals, such as pics and videos, and sound bite titles, such as tweets with links, are most successful for this group.  Additionally, by employing gamification methods as a fun teaching tool, I would build awareness in a group that is often too busy to engage.  Factor in that I had both a finite amount of time I could dedicate to these resources and encourage active participation and no budget, I would have to use free, social media resources and utilize the tools they provide for metrics oversight.

Being able to answer the above questions allowed me to narrow my choices, from the many social media networks available, to purpose-specific and globally popular social media platforms.  With recognized voices such as Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, most of my audience was already familiar with these social media networks and would provide an easy learning curve to those who were not.

There are countless social media tools out there and not every tool works best for all business plans.  Define your social media goals and the outcome you want before you begin selecting from the social media menu and if you are still not sure what to do, invest in a social media agency.  They can assist you in defining a social media plan with the outcome you desire.

Resources:

  1. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites
  2. Building a Successful Social Media Program – Cisco Learning Catalog Course

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