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Six Success Factors for Unified Communications Solutions

On August 29, I’ll be joining Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research for an on-line briefing on his research regarding Cisco and Microsoft Unified Communications products and services. While making my preparations for the webcast it got me thinking about how customers should approach Unified Communications strategies, investments, and projects irrespective of any vendor-related decisions. In discussing Unified Communications solutions with customers, I recommend that they keep six success factors firmly in mind in charting course for highly effective solutions.  Read More »

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Avoiding Silos: Integrating Social Business and Unified Communications

Many in the media have observed that this year’s Enterprise 2.0 conference represented an inflection point in the industry. There is growing interest in how organizations can move beyond stand-alone community sites and leverage social collaboration to “get work done” within business processes. We see the same trend. Discussions Cisco had with attendees, as well as discussions heard during many of the conference sessions, have shifted from a debate about tools to a transformational conversation regarding social business. The transition from a technological focus to one that examines business value requires leadership teams to act more strategically to avoid social silos.

At the June Boston event, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel session,”Integrating Unified Communications and Social Business“, that addressed a critical foundation of this new conversation. Moderated by Irwin Lazar, VP and service director, at Nemertes, the panel examined how social collaboration and unified communications can be integrated into a seamless experience to “get work done”; how companies can best address business and IT management issues; and what organizational changes need to be considered to solidify planning around all forms of collaboration. The clear message coming out of the panel discussion was that “social + UC” is a market convergence trend that will change how organizations examine current and future enterprise collaboration platforms. We agree. Cisco WebEx Social has been designed from the ground-up to include instant messaging, presence, voice, video, and conferencing as core platform capabilities. Below are other highlights and reflections from the panel discussion: Read More »

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Cisco Unified Communications 9.0 – Work the Way You Want/Need to Work

As I shared in my previous blog regarding the announcement of Cisco Unified Communications (UC) 9.0, flexibility is a key focus of that new release. Based on what we’re hearing from our customers, we are providing solutions that accommodate different business needs and user requirements. It’s all about empowering you to work the way you want to work, the way you need to work.

What are the new drivers? To start, with Cisco UC 9.0 we introduce a flexible licensing model and tools where you can purchase and manage licenses. We address the common user types of desk-less, desk-bound, hybrid, and mobile. My colleague, John Marshall, recently blogged about Cisco’s user-centric licensing strategy – please take a look for more details.

Around the growing trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), this release not only supports Read More »

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Cisco Unified Communications 9.0 – Bridging Systems to Connect Collaboration Experiences

Interoperability. This is a broadly used term in the industry, and at Cisco, we often talk about it in the technical context of the IT stack. However, let’s take a step back and focus on what we want to achieve through interoperability—connecting the right collaboration experiences to the right devices and users.

With Cisco Unified Communications (UC) 9.0 we deliver a series of enhancements that bridge systems, resulting in increased interoperability to enable these critical collaboration experiences.

Many of you are familiar with email-style calling, aka URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) dialing, available if you use our current Cisco TelePresence endpoints. With Cisco UC 9.0, you can now use URI dialing beyond video endpoints. Choose whatever you prefer—an email address or phone number—to Read More »

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Cisco Unified Communications 9.0: A 360° Investment Protection Formula for your Collaboration Experiences

Every time I have the opportunity to discuss technology investments with a CxO I hear these 2 requests over and over again: 1) reduce my cost of ownership (acquisition, operation and maintenance); and 2) protect and leverage my current investments.

It is straight-forward to see that with Cisco Unified Communications Release 9.0’s new assisted service capabilities such as native call queuing and one button to record, we’re further reducing total cost of ownership (TCO) and offering more value to our solutions. But if we look beyond new features and capabilities there are other factors in play, and the quality of the experience is becoming a very common theme of these conversations.

Don’t get me wrong, CxOs still want investment protection, and they still want the best TCO. But they ALSO want to make sure that their company is investing in the best platform to drive better collaboration experiences, in-house AND out, for the short AND long term.

It occurred to me that as more and more executives realize the great value that the collaboration tools provide, they’ve also grown more and more concerned about Read More »

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