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Working Smarter: The Paradigm Shift in Business Collaboration

For the last few years I have had a growing conviction that my workplace collaboration tools were fundamentally broken and needed to be reinvented. So, last year when I was given the opportunity to join Cisco as the leader of their collaboration business I jumped at it. The way we work has changed dramatically over the last twenty years. The expectation that you can work from anywhere, at any time, has become the norm. Change is always hard within IT, but, as you read in my last post, it is the companies that embrace these new models of work who will benefit from a more innovative, efficient, and happier workforce.

Let’s face it, our primary collaboration tools were invented over twenty years ago when “working” looked very much like what you see in the popular TV show Mad Men – what I call the “Don Draper era.” A time when you went into the office, sat at your desk, had a physical landline, and a desktop PC loaded with legacy business tools; an environment that assumed we would always be in the office during normal business hours and behind the walled garden of IT. Fast forward to 2013 and look around, the way we work today is fundamentally different than the way we worked twenty years ago, yet many of our business IT systems and tools have been slow to catch up. In frustration, many employees are turning to the collaboration tools they use in their personal lives such as Dropbox, FaceTime, Gmail, Evernote, and Facebook to get their work done.

The rise of cloud and mobility have driven an acceleration in consumer technology so quickly that today, ironically, Read More »

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UC and Video – Phones of the Future

What will phones in the future look like?  If our experience at Cisco is any guide, there will be more and more phones, and they will look like almost anything. They will all have two things in common:  they will all bring people together – and they will do it with voice and video.  Always video.

The video may be on a small screen that fits in your pocket, or expands to your pad or laptop, a bigger screen that fits on the desk, or screens that cover the wall bringing people, lifesized, to your meetings from around the world.

At Cisco, we’re using all of these “phones” (although only one or two looks at all like a phone), and they all work together to bring people together, face to face.  Some share more than voice and video, adding presence information and contacts and instant click to call or click to chat or click to share desktops

Here’s Rich Gore from Cisco IT, to give a quick look at these different “phones” in use at Cisco today.

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The Evolving UC Market: Cisco has you covered

September 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm PST

Over the last few years, changes in computing, mobility, video and cloud have transformed the collaboration market profoundly and permanently. By listening to our customers and constantly innovating and improving on our market-leading Unified Communications platform, Cisco has been able to keep pace with these drastic market shifts.  Our customers and the industry are recognizing these efforts, and as a result, I am pleased to announce that Cisco has been positioned as a Leader in Gartner’s recently released 2013 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications and received an ‘Excellent’ rating, the highest rating given in the 2013 Critical Capabilities for Unified Communications report.

Choosing the right UC solution for your business is about more than responding to the latest trends in cloud, mobility or software applications. One of the most basic criteria customers use when choosing their UC vendor is around how the UC solution fits into their current environment. We’ve learned that there is no “one size fits all” approach for our customers. Read More »

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Key Technologies Shaping the UC&C Landscape

August 13, 2013 at 9:22 am PST

This is the third post in a series from Dimension Data and Cisco Channels looking at user adoption and integration of unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions. Findings stem from Dimension Data’s 2013 Global UC&C Survey, developed with ICT researcher Ovum and featuring responses from more than 2,700 participants in 18 countries across 20 vertical industries.

In a previous blog post based on this research, we heard that selling UC&C solutions had to be less about ‘flashy’ technology and more about a productive user experience. In this latest entry, Gavin Hill, Technology Director for Unified Communications and Networking at Dimension Data spoke with us about the evidence that the implementation of some technologies is no longer the end goal in UC&C but have become a ‘ticket to the game’.

“Part of the reason we ran the survey, was to find out what buyers and end-users thought would have the biggest influence on the UC&C landscape going forward. From the survey results, it was evident that video, instant messaging and presence weren’t considered priorities anymore,” said Hill.

He went on to explain, “From what we see in this space everyday, we believe that organizations now expect these capabilities to be embedded in UC&C technologies as a standard.  Read More »

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The Use and Impact of Social Media: A Blog Post

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In recent years, social media has become the staple of communication. I remember when I was only about 11 years old and I first discovered the wonder of Myspace. This tool (the first of its kind) led the way to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Social media opened up a whole new world of opportunity and how people communicate with each other and even businesses. However, the power of social media comes with a price if you do not know how to use it. That is why, when it comes to social media, a person must realize who their audience is and what they would like to portray. There are a few key points when deciding to use social media as a platform of communication:

  • Start with listening to your audience and observing their activity prior to engagement.
  • Create a strategic Social Media plan.
  •  It is also important to set goals that you want to achieve overall and pay attention to how social media plays into these goals that you have.
  • Set goals that map your overall objectives (personal/professional use).

When you’re using social media for personal use, you may have a different audience and a different reason for your posts than if you were using social media for professional use, where your views are projected onto the organization as a whole. In a professional setting, social media can be used as a tool for an organization to communicate with their customers. Customers may use this tool to express to the organization how much their products/services do for them, or possibly what they don’t do for them. There are also people who use social media purely to induce negativity, and they will be around no matter the platform. They are called “trolls” and it is best to avoid them and to pay them no attention.

Whether you choose to use your platform for business or personal use, it is always necessary to remember these tips:

  • Remember that whatever you post is most likely accessible to others as well.
  • What you post can end up on search engines and on other people’s news and activity feeds.

These have been the most important lessons that I have learned in my experience and utilization of social media. Listen, create a plan, set goals and be aware of your audience and the content that you are posting. These days where there seems to be a “no limits” attitude with sharing information, which has in turn caused people or businesses a lot of trouble. What important lessons have you learned about social media? Are there any mistakes that you’ve made on a social media platform that caused you problems? What advice would you like to give others on their usage of social media? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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