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Collaboration: Changing the Way We Work

It was not so long ago that people would often have to make difficult choices about their work. Your dream job might open up 3,000 miles away. Your new job means leading a team on the other side of the world. Your day is spent on the road meeting with customers, not in an office. In the past, working men and women have been forced to choose: Do I uproot my family to take advantage of a new job opportunity that could bring greater financial security? Will I need to travel a majority of the time to effectively lead my team? What will I lose during hours of travel time? Companies faced similar choices: Are we missing out on talent because they are not local? How do we connect different locations and geographies effectively?  Can our dispersed teams be more productive and more connected? If we require an employee to move, do we risk losing the employee? Can we afford the increasing relocation costs?

And then the Internet changed everything.

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Virtualizing the Desktop: A stepping stone towards the Unified Workspace?

Last week during Interop Las Vegas, I was able to witness and participate in all sorts of conversations about virtualization, and its effect on the way we deploy, deliver and consume applications and services.

Virtualization itself is not a new topic, but given the way our environment has been shaping lately, it is becoming more and more relevant. In this new world we all carry multiple devices, we are always on the move, and the definition whether the app we are using is running from the cloud or from our devices is increasingly irrelevant.

Users do not care about the technology, or the role of virtualization or cloud, as long as they have access to the applications and data they need, whenever they need it. We sometimes think the users should care, but in reality, it is IT that should care, and not the users. And that is a big distinction.

This of course is not a surprise, but I perceived a sense of impatience and even annoyance from some of the users that I was able to question about this matter. I got a really clear message that whatever is the future of the desktop–or the workspace as more and more people refer to it, should be delivered to them soon.

As for the important characteristics of this workspace, from the users’ perspective:

  • Access to it has to be transparent. They must have an ‘on-demand’ connectivity environment that allows them to have secure access to the data and/or applications they need to complete the tasks at hand, without worrying about authenticating every time, on the device of their choice. Solutions such as Cisco AnyConnect and the Cisco Identity Services Engine provide these capabilities, and clearly there is pent up demand for such a solution deployed broadly across the enterprise.

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The Next-Gen Collaborator: Ready for a Mobile Workplace

Today, we’re featuring a guest post from Eric Schoch, senior director for hosted collaboration  in Cisco’s Collaboration organization. Eric is responsible for hosted and “as a service” solutions, strategic pricing and licensing, and business development.

There is simply no denying the increasing importance of being connected. Generation Y in particular, who grew up with mobile devices affixed almost permanently to their hands, views connectivity as one of life’s fundamental resources.

The newest addition to the workforce considers their mobile devices as an essential workplace tool to managing their workload and connecting with their colleagues on the go. While sitting in a meeting or having lunch in the break room, you can almost visualize the text bubbles hovering over crowds of this generation of workers as fingers hammer away at phones and tablets, eyes glued to the shiny screens in their hands. BYOD

But this trend goes far beyond lunch hours and happy hours. As proven by Chapter Two of the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report, the next-generation workforce is demanding flexibility in their choice of devices in both the workplace and remote-work options, illustrating the importance of the Internet in workforce culture. Social media freedom, device flexibility, and work mobility, in the case of 30% of the study’s respondents, are more important when accepting a job than a higher salary.

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Workspace Video

Defining Your Approach to Workspace Video

A companion post to “Techwise #83 – Extending Video from Boardroom to Workspace

Register here to watch the video!

Definitions are changing. Is your dictionary up-to-date?

Workspace. The definition of the workspace has changed because the workforce itself has changed.  Many employees are still sitting neatly in offices and cubicles, but they are also now global, remote and mobile.  They still come together in boardrooms and all-hands meetings, but they also come together in virtual environments, sometimes from their hand-held tablet in a hotel lobby.

Work. The definition of work itself has changed, and workers are spoiled on speed. Information flows more like fast food than a sit-down dinner.  Just to make it more challenging, travel budgets that use to enable face-to-face contact have been slashed and will never return to the “good old days.” This has created new communication gaps that need to be filled to stay competitive in this new Nascar race… and IT leaders are holding the keys.

Collaboration. Collaboration technology has a new definition too.  It used to mean sticking a document in a shared folder so multiple people could access it.  Now it refers to the complete set of tools that workers use to connect with each other and get the job done.  As Robb Boyd describes in his Keys to the Show segment, this includes using video in places outside the classic “videoconferencing room.” And just to make it tougher on IT, it’s a highly situational choice about which tool gets used and when. Read More »

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