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Converging Communications in the Cloud

Cloud, Cloud, Cloud and… Cloud!!  There has been much justified excitement about the Cloud and the benefits that it can provide. XaaS is here to stay with everything from HR systems to CRMs launching multi-billion dollar transformations in the way business is done.

Within Cisco, we are in the middle of an exciting transformation of our own internal Digital services and platforms with the Cloud revolution as a backdrop. The work is exciting, and daunting, as it spans across multiple Communication and Marketing capabilities that will ultimately be consumed by our customers, partners and employees.

Why?

Cisco already has a robust Digital Marketing and Communication capability.  For example, we just took 6th place in Byte Level’s Web Globalization Report Card in front of some very strong companies.

ByteLevel_2014

So, if things are going well, why put the effort in to changing it?

Jimit Arora has a nice summary in InformationWeek on some of the factors around successful Enterprise Cloud adoption. He points to looking at cloud through the “lens of agility, competitiveness, not cost” and giving people a “compelling reason” to step out of their comfort zone.

In our industry, sitting on your laurels results in quickly being passed.  It’s critical for us to be constantly improving how we do things and Cloud is providing a major opportunity to do just that.

Are we there yet?

Cisco is examining the opportunity from a capabilities point of view with an eye towards consolidating and converging areas that exist for both internal and external use. The line between what’s inside and outside of a large Enterprise has been gradually fading since… well, since the advent of the internet.  As we tick off each capability we want to enable, there are many examples where we are already ‘there’ and have been for awhile. For example, when Cisco acquired WebEx Communications in 2007, we quickly became their largest consumer of cloud-based Communication services and we remain one of WebEx’s top ‘customers’ by volume today. As a Cisco employee, I use the same service that our customers use and we use it both inside and outside the firewall without giving it a second thought.

Another area of where we are pretty much ‘there’, is with our video capability. Using both 3rd party and Cisco technologies like TelePresence, we are able to move video seamlessly to customers, partners and employees as needed.  We demonstrated this capability in a dramatic way during the Cisco CloudVerse launch in 2011. We went so far as to combine a major internal event, our Company Meeting, with a live external broadcast to industry analysts and the press.

However, there are number capabilities that remain an opportunity for Cisco. One area where the improvements could be dramatic is in eliminating needless divisions between internal and external in the content management and delivery space. The lines between what goes to a customer, partner or employee should simply be a matter of policy and not a matter of digital capabilities or infrastructure.

There will certainly be cost savings around the re-use of internal content for external consumption, but the main benefit will once again be around agility.  Imagine the possibilities of a simplified architecture where content and new innovative capabilities can be delivered simultaneously to anyone within the broader corporate ecosystem. Getting the right content, to the right person, just-in-time has long been the promise of Digital and that will be greatly accelerated by a converged, cloud-based communication architecture.

If you find yourself within a large Enterprise examining Cloud-based Digital Marketing and Communication capabilities from the IT or Business perspective, I would love to hear your thoughts on the opportunities and challenges in the space.

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Is Your WLAN Ready for Unified Communications & Collaboration?

January 31, 2014 at 5:00 am PST

As Wi-Fi continues to be the primary mode of access, enterprise Unified Communication(UC) applications usage is increasing with smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Customers are asking, is there anything I can do to prioritize Jabber or Lync traffic over others or even identify how much of the traffic is really collaboration traffic vs. other types of media. The recently introduced Wireless Release 7.6 enhances the ability to classify Microsoft Lync 2013 and Jabber with Cisco WLAN Infrastructure.

In the first blog about Application Visibility and Control over Cisco WLAN, I captured what is AVC and the capabilities included in the release 7.4. In a subsequent blog, I had captured a success story about a customer who benefited from the reliability by deprioritizing scavenger level applications as well as captured highlights of the enhancements in release 7.5. This blog captures how the release 7.6 allows popular collaboration applications to be accurately classified and prioritized as well as provides a teaser to some of the innovations that can be expected in the future.

What exact capabilities AireOS 7.6 provide ?

The protocol pack 6.3 introduced in AireOS 7.6 allows you to identify and prioritize not just Jabber but also sub-classify Cisco Jabber Audio, Cisco Jabber IM and Cisco Jabber Video. Customers may want to prioritize the Cisco Jabber Audio as the highest priority while the others may be lower priority. Similarly you can classify not just Microsoft Lync but also Microsoft Lync Audio, rtcp and Microsoft Lync Video and thereby prioritize them separately. Read More »

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Migration – How did Cisco IT get from Legacy PBX to Unified Communications?

There is plenty of reading collateral out on the internet that covers the “technology” side of migrating from a legacy voice system to IP Telephony and Unified Communications (e.g. Cisco Collaboration Systems Migration and the Cisco IT Migration Best Practice) but not much that covers the human aspects that need consideration. Read More »

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What is Cisco IT’s UC Global Cluster Architecture?

Over the last 15 years, we’ve progressively centralized our UC architecture. As WAN services have become bigger, better and more cost effective, we’ve been able to rely more heavily on the network to extend UC services out to the branch networks.  Read More »

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Emerging Insurance Practices: Cloud Computing

The insurance industry is continuously looking for the simplest, most efficient method of providing consumers with the best service, while at the same time trying to reduce overall operating expenses. While insurance providers explore the right options for their business, one thing is certain, cloud-based environments are low-risk solutions that enable applications to increase business value. From Cisco research, we know that running desktop applications in the cloud can be attractive because it reduces complexity and increases security.

Aside from the insurance industry, other financial services institutions struggle to find a business structure that provides the desired flexibility and market savings necessary to provide excellent customer service. However, with the help of cloud computing and unified communications, these challenges are being overcome. Due to recent success and proven low-risk functionality, insurers are gradually adopting cloud solutions to help guide business operations and initiatives. In fact, Gartner is predicting that the cloud system infrastructure market to grow by 47.8% through 2015. Read More »

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