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Virtual Work Works, But Don’t Confuse Technology with Change Management

April 3, 2013 at 4:33 pm PST

I was in a brainstorm meeting about my team’s next-generation strategy last week, and we made a number of random connections that knitted together a pretty big idea — the kind of dot-connecting that only happens when people with different (and sometime conflicting) perspectives trust each other in the pursuit of an important goal.

Five of us worked on the idea, but only two of us were in the room physically together. Yes, I’ll say it out loud:  three people were working from home.

Much has been said and written recently about the value of working virtually, and I don’t think you can sub-divide mobility into “at home” and “on the road.” Social technologies, video and mobile platforms make it easy to work from just about anywhere.

But as leaders, we have to resist the temptation to confuse technology with change management -- despite our love affair with technology. Any time technology brings a sea-change transformation to the way humans do stuff, especially work stuff, we can’t forget that people work in organizations — and organizations are an amalgam of culture, processes and technology.

All of Cisco’s experience has taught us that Read More »

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Mobility and Virtualization in the Next-Generation Workplace

I’m one of the lucky ones. Many of my peers work in companies that aren’t as forward looking about IT as Cisco is. Where they struggle to keep up with the demands of today’s employees, I’m fortunate to work in an environment that offers workspace flexibility and access to telepresence, web conferencing, and a social platform based largely on the employee’s choice of device.

That’s not to say that we’ve got it all figured out at Cisco. As I onboard new college graduates, I, too, find myself struggling to meet their expectations. I think we’ve entered a phase in which all business and IT leaders will lag slightly behind the workplace expectations of the new generation.

To better understand this fundamental shift, we recently commissioned Forrester Research to look specifically at mobility, virtualization, and other enterprise-level technology initiatives.  Read More »

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Coming Together in the Virtual Workspace

Almost five years ago, I was working in the wireless division for Cisco when we introduced the concept of business mobility in motion. Laptop sales were booming and Wi-Fi connectivity was cropping up everywhere, giving rise to the vision of people being mobile and their work following them. Today that vision has never been more real: the workplace is no longer a place. A new generation of devices, applications, and of course increased network capacity, allow people to perform almost any work activity — from the mundane to the complex — almost anywhere.  Where we all come together today is a virtual workspace, and we’re connecting to it from places, devices, and applications of our choice.

The way we work — what we call collaboration  -- is changing, too.  We’re evolving from sending email and sharing files, to a work style based on social conversations and real-time communication. As our teams and work locations become more dispersed, richer interaction styles such as web conferencing, voice, and video increasingly come into play, often with mobile devices as the primary platform.

The intersection of collaboration and mobility is truly a crossroads. And a company that moves to embrace and use these capabilities will find itself the winner — with employees, customers, and shareholders — on the other side.

However, technology leaders who find themselves at this juncture face a major challenge Read More »

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Transforming “Anti-Social” Environments into Powerful and Collaborative Social Enterprises

August 7, 2012 at 8:37 am PST

Is your company “anti-social” because there is too much noise? Are you having challenges getting a grip on your various social networking tools? Keep reading to discover how Persistent Systems did it.

Imagine running a global software development firm, with over 6000 employees, nine development centers, spread across three continents, in various time zones. When your business is finding virtual experts for various client projects at the speed of light, instant collaboration becomes essential for success. Persistent Systems based in Pune, India, is one such award-winning software company that has championed their collaboration challenges, with strong tangible results and exceptional employee productivity statistics.

However, their story is not simply about discovering how enterprise social software is much more effective than email, phone, and other traditional forms of communication. They are beyond that point in their journey. Read More »

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Technology Helps College Get Bigger in Texas

May 29, 2012 at 11:04 am PST

It’s one thing to use technology. It’s another to take that technology and do something extraordinary with it – especially when that involves something that benefits others. Each year, IDG’s Computerworld Honors Program recognizes organizations that use “visionary applications of information technology promoting positive social, economic and educational change.”

This year, one of those organizations happens to be Lone Star College System, a community college in Texas (naturally) that has integrated collaboration technology from Cisco to reach more students and improve the overall learning experience for an increasingly diverse student population.

They say everything’s bigger in Texas. Lone Star College serves more than 85,000 students at five campuses and ten learning centers in a service area of 1400 square miles. Oh, and the student population is growing by approximately 20% each year.

So what do you do if you’re the CIO at a school with the goal of becoming recognized as the best community college in the nation? You find the technology to meet your goals. Some of the highlights: Read More »

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