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Collaboration is Hot … Very Hot (How Collaboration at Cisco Has Enhanced Selling to Small Business – A Case Study)

April 21, 2011 - 0 Comments

Today I’d like to share with you another great example of how Cisco’s collaboration solution – our Integrated Workforce Experience or IWE – is showing tangible business value.  Last week, I noted how one of my colleagues reduced email traffic substantially.  Now a different perspective – from our Worldwide Sales organization and how one of its groups is using collaboration to sell to the small business community.

The Cisco Small Business team created a Selling to Small Business (SSB) community on IWE as the “single source of truth” for Small Business (SB) sales.  It is a primary hub and cross-functional resource center, providing an effective interface to showcase key business resources, business intelligence, and product launches that would otherwise be lost or in email or buried in folders and web pages. 

The Cisco Small Business group is differentiated from the Worldwide Sales organization by offering a range of products and enhanced services and support designed to help small businesses grow their business, improve security, and boost performance while controlling costs. Its vision is to become the most trusted IT and communications provider to Small Businesses and their partners. The team was only in existence for about a year when IWE was made available. 

Now, here was the issue: although the Cisco Employee Connection (CEC), our company intranet, has been a useful way to disseminate information, it does not meet the demands of the current and future business environment for Worldwide Sales.  CEC has many merits but it is also cumbersome and somewhat impersonal. More importantly, information needed for sales employees to effectively execute their jobs is not always easily accessible.  Being a new organization meant that SSB was already looking for a new way to collaborate!

 SSB faced distinct challenges to collaboration:

  • Inability to access sales information quickly
  • Navigating through large amounts of irrelevant material to find applicable information
  • Numerous emails for messaging
  • Cumbersome access to multiple sales links and resources

 The SSB team wanted to create a repository of knowledge that enabled sales teams to quickly access and disseminate information.  The intended audience was the Worldwide Sales staff, with contributions and participation from the entire SSB organization.

To help ensure that information could be quickly and easily accessed, the community defined the relevant content tracks that are included in the “Find it fast!” subjects on the dashboard, as well as identifying who the true subject matter experts/owners are for each. A few of the easy access links include:

  • Goals and executive messages
  • Competition and market intelligence
  • Launches
  • Services and support

But perhaps most valuable to community members was its blogging capability which was used extensively.  The community blog offers a way to give voice to cross-functional subject matter experts across the Small Business community.  The associated interaction that came with it was equally worthwhile.  It was this collaborative dialogue among members that empowered individual contributors from across the company to share information.

So, through the establishment of a specific community highly customized for its own use, our Small Business team realized several benefits with IWE:  quick access to relevant information, easy member participation, and shared knowledge through community.  It resulted in great business value:  speed, scale and replicability.

I’ll blog more next time about how other Cisco functional groups are using IWE to make our operations more streamlined and efficient.  I’d love to hear your stories as well.

Happy Collaborating!

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