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Collaboration is Hot … Very Hot: The Value of Collaboration

November 19, 2010 - 2 Comments

The Value of Collaboration

In conversations with customers, I am consistently asked about the business value and return on investment with regard to collaboration.

Here’s how we define value at Cisco:  productivity, growth and innovation.

By innovation, we mean accelerating research and development, creating new business models and generating new ideas. We define growth in terms of global reach, driving new revenue, entering new markets and accelerating our sales cycle. And in terms of productivity, we focus on operational efficiencies, faster decision making, and cost reduction.

When you think of collaboration, it’s easy to understand how it can translate into results like travel savings – at Cisco, we’ve been able to realize hundreds of millions of dollars in savings through collaborative tools like TelePresence and WebEx. These same tools allow employees to be more efficient – spending more time on work flow rather than on travel or commuting to the office.

But the real value is from the standpoint of delivering growth, shortening time to market and better enabling the innovation process.  I’ll give you one great example. One of our engineers who worked remotely in Australia had an idea for a new business. Using Cisco’s collaborative tools and processes he was able to connect to the right people and resources within the company to test his idea and then develop it – and fairly rapidly. The result was the genesis of a significant new business. We measure this unique methodology for delivering growth, speeding product time to market, and identifying innovation within pockets of company.

And this is just a beginning. Because collaboration isn’t just about ROI, it is also about the intangibles – valuable interaction between employees, partners and customers.

I just returned from Cisco’s Collaboration Summit in Phoenix, Arizona where we held our first ever Customer Track.  I can report that while business efficiencies are very, very important to major companies, the cultural benefits of integrating social networking with workflow are also top of mind. I’ll talk more about this in a later blog.

Cisco will be able to report more on business value stemming from our own collaboration solution once we’ve deployed it internally. Stay tuned for more information on the value perspective – within the next 60-90 days we’ll have a read-out.

Happy Collaborating!

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  1. This is very important in modern fast paced businesses. Remote collaboration ideally should not replace but compliment face-to-face meetings, and getting the balance right can lead more creativity and productivity ie easier ways to brainstorm of ideas

  2. How exciting and credibility-building that Cisco is experimenting with ways to collaborate internally and with customers so that people have first-hand experience to share about the best collaboration tools and methods for specific situations.