Productivity via Collaboration
I attended our Financial Analyst Conference earlier today, and while there were several interesting themes that emerged, I was most intrigued by the discussions around how companies will achieve productivity gains in the future. To no surprise of long-time followers of Cisco, we believe that collaboration will be at the heart of that winning formula.In his opening keynote, our chairman and CEO, John Chambers, indicated this was the most excited he’s been in a decade because Phase II of the Internet evolution is about to take off. That’s good news not only for companies that will be able to enable new, innovative business models and processes, but also for governments in developing nations who’ll be able to achieve true country transformations. And the bottom line for both will be measurable gains in productivity.The combination of capital expenditure with business process change and innovation will lead to those productivity gains, according to Chambers. That innovation wave will be driven by collaboration, which will manifest itself in things like video. If there is a killer application out there, it’s video -and we’re not necessarily talking about that solely from an entertainment perspective, but as a way to change the way we work. One aspect of that play for us is our TelePresence high-definition video platform, which enables business transformation and aligns very nicely with the portfolio of Web 2.0 tools that are emerging across the industry.Another aspect of productivity discussed at FAC was globalisation (after three years of living in Great Britain, I’m permitted to randomly replace my zeds with esses). An effective globalisation strategy will allow companies to tap into new talent pools; find new areas of growth; and scale their innovation efforts, thus increasing their overall productivity and expanding their business. And companies -as well as countries -can use collaboration to drive that business or socio-economic model transformation. What’s at stake for these organizations as they head down this path? What are they risking? And how do they ultimately measure the effectiveness of their strategy shift? Each situation will have its own unique wrinkles, but the one common thread that will be pervasive is the cultural and behavior changes required. We’re in the 7th year of that journey at Cisco, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned it’s that you can’t change human behaviour (see, I can also randomly add the letter ‘u’ to words, as well) by merely implementing a process.