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Collaboration is Hot … A Report from Collaboration Summit

October 16, 2012 - 2 Comments

Coming to you from downtown Los Angeles at L.A. Live, site of the 2012 Collaboration Summit.  I’m finishing up three days of leading the Summit’s Customer Forum. We kicked off Sunday, hosting over 30 customers from nearly every vertical – healthcare, financial services, consumer products, manufacturing, entertainment, aviation, oil and energy, architecture, law, government and higher education.

I opened the event with three members of my team in late afternoon, presenting the Cisco-on-Cisco collaboration journey which included social, video, mobile, and business apps/enterprise store. It was well-received and served as the catalyst for a great discussion over dinner.

Then, on Monday we dove into our all-day forum.  It was amazing to hear how relevant collaboration is to organizations, no matter what industry. As you know, we define collaboration as four pillars –  mobile, social, video and cloud. But from an IT perspective, we also need to consider business apps, content and, of course, security. 

And what’s fascinating is that all customers are no longer just thinking about the pillars separately – they really are deploying the convergence of these technologies. We heard many examples of how these pillars intersect , including social with mobile, and how video is now viewed much more on smart phones and tablets….also via mobile.

What’s also fascinating is that the customers absolutely agree that this is a major transformation. Much more than technology, collaboration involves change management, process, policy change and adoption – really transforming how our respective businesses operate.

We had fairly deep discussions on social, mobility, security, video, and culture. Fitting well into our L.A. setting was special guest speaker, Tiffany Shlain, a filmmaker and founder of the Webby Awards.  She showcased how technology and collaboration has enabled her to be highly innovative with her filmmaking. A key takeaway from her presentation:  innovation is inherently a social activity.

We also had a great discussion on culture, prompting some of the best interaction of the day.  IT professionals are not just dealing with collaboration technologies but also change management and adoption. We had a deep conversation on how IT can help drive change. In this session, we all agreed it is pretty difficult to do but best practices were shared.

One of the day’s highlights was a panel of fun, energetic MBA students from the University of Southern California – a very bright and well-spoken group (see below). Representing the millennial generation, they gave us their perspective on the future work environment.  Their responses were full of surprises. For example, it was the consensus that they are not enamored with video, felt that business social made sense but “Facebook social” did not – in fact, one panelist said “Facebook social” in the enterprise was a “bit cheesy.” But business social including wikis blogs and instant message are critical. Their desires and views?  They want to be “expressive,” they want to be listened to, and they want to contribute – fast!

Finally, this morning, my colleagues Marthin De Beer, OJ Winge and Lynn Lucas kicked off the keynote with Cisco’s vision for collaboration. Cisco made several announcements – reaffirming our commitment to delivering one collaboration experience, now offering expanded cloud (Hosted Collaboration Services) and expansion of  WebEx for all cloud services:  messenger, meetings, Telepresence  and social. Part of the keynote included the demonstration of a unique, forward thinking and next generation work space which underscored the point that the convergence of mobile, social, video and cloud is now a given, and that architecture is needed to tie it all together.

My key takeaway from the conference:  collaboration (not just video)  is becoming pervasive – it is important that we recognize it’s across industries, business segments and generations.

Heck, as showcased in our keynote, even Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) is now Tweeting!

Happy Collaborating!




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  1. Thanks Sheila. I’m so glad to hear that “…collaboration (not just video) is becoming pervasive” I have seen first hand the positive impact collaboration and WebEx Social can have on a large organization like Cisco internally. Employees see productivity, communication and crowd sourcing benefits that save them time and streamline their every day tasks. This is a great Cisco on Cisco story!

  2. Great update Sheila! It is fantastic to hear more companies have realized that adopting collaboration is needed and even more important that the change is one of the most challenging aspects of adoption success. Their business needs to also be a supporter and sponsor to make for a easier and faster transition with a top down approach.
    Look forward to the collaboration future as the future looks bright!
    Michael deHaas