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How Are Large Enterprises Utilizing Collaboration in the Cloud?

Today, we ‘re featuring a guest post from Brian Blatnik, a senior manager within Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group:

In the month since our CloudVerse announcement the notion of a world of many clouds – public, private, and hybrid – has resonated with our customers, partners, and industry analysts. I’d like to share some perspective on how those types of clouds address different customers in the collaboration cloud services market. Since last month’s announcement highlighted our private cloud model in that market, Hosted Collaboration Solution for Large Enterprises, I’ll focus on that model. As a reminder, the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution gives partners, including service providers and integrators, the ability to deploy multiple collaboration applications on one server in a virtualized environment and then host those applications for multiple client organizations. The solution is designed to be run from partner data centers.

I’m often asked, “Haven’t enterprise voice and other UC services always been delivered from what we now call a private cloud?” It’s true that IP PBXs and other UC servers, like their PBX predecessors, provide services to users from a remote room or facility via a network. But there are two ways in which today’s cloud service delivery differs. First, there is the efficiency of pooling computing, network, and storage resources across multiple locations and services. Second, the services can be delivered in an on-demand fashion with elastic scaling.

The financial and strategic benefits deriving from these two factors are leading many businesses to consider consuming collaboration services in a utility model from Cisco’s partners in the Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS). But the same drivers can result in substantial benefits to businesses that aren’t looking for services from a third party’s public cloud. Read More »

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Unified Communications Enables Load-Sharing and Increases Productivity

In the third chapter of our Valley Sleep Center customer story, we get a closer look at the company’s phone system upgrade. Working closely with a Cisco certified partner who understood its needs, Valley Sleep Center replaced its inefficient phone system with a user-friendly Cisco UC540 solution. In the past, calls were routed to a single location, and periods of high volume were frequent. Now empowered by the right network, employees in the five locations share the load and can route calls efficiently. Watch the video to learn more.

Part One of the Valley Sleep Center

Part Two of the Valley Sleep Center

Watch Part Three >>

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How Cisco IT Organizes Its Voice Operations

How many people does it take to manage the service infrastructure supporting over 150,000 hardware phones, 50,000 soft phones, and 10,000 room and desktop video devices. That’s the size of our UC infrastructure at Cisco, and today we manage all our voice, voicemail, and video services with an integrated voice and video Tier 3 operations team of 25 people, and another 5 people supporting contact center applications and services. We do this by continually finding new efficiencies – learning new ways to support existing services so we can spend more time learning how to support the new technologies.

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Maximizing Mobile Collaboration for the Post PC Era

Almost every customer that I speak to is looking at the opportunity that new mobile devices – smart phones and tablets – bring to increase collaboration and drive new business capabilities.  And consistently, customers are asking these five questions:

  1. How closely will the UC capabilities on my mobile device not just meet, but exceed the experience on my desktop?
  2. Will users be able to make and receive calls on their mobile devices anywhere in the world as if they were using their desk phone?
  3. Is video to the mobile device available at all, and if so is it really “business-ready” or is it more of a poor imitation of the TelePresence experience?
  4. Are Wi-Fi access points evolving to better handle the increased traffic and usage patterns that come from adding mobile devices on the network?
  5. If I choose a cloud provider for UC-as-a-Service, will that in any way limit my ability to deliver UC capabilities to a mobile device?

For Cisco, these questions are easy to answer because mobility and user experience are not an afterthought.  Our collaboration development philosophy is people-centric – that is driven by the user experience.  And in the post PC era where tablets and mobile phones are primary work devices for many during each day, that experience must not just be equivalent to the desktop – but maximize the unique opportunity that these new form factors provide.  This is a fundamental change in the user experience model and Cisco is maximizing the potential of this new class of mobile devices.
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Simplifying Global Voice Operations

Cisco IT has deployed voice infrastructure around the world in order to handle our 1+ million voice calls per day with high levels of quality and reliability. We used to manage this infrastructure with four separate regional teams: one managing the Western part of North America, another managing Eastern North America and Latin America, the third Europe/Middle East/Africa, and the fourth Asia/Pacific. But we found that this regional organization led to inconsistent operations because the regional teams had different ideas on how things should be done and they applied our corporate standards in different ways.

Our early lack of global consistency led to inefficiency in our support operations.   We would have people from different time zones trying to help troubleshoot problems and be unable to support an unfamiliar configuration.  And this meant that our regional teams had to provide around-the-clock support by themselves – which led to sleepless nights and frayed nerves.
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