That’s right. Without Cisco Spark, we wouldn’t be launching the Spark service now. Of course, we’d launch it, but the key is the timing. Now. I’m talking about Spark’s impact internally on our ability to accelerate all the launch-related activities.

The experience went well beyond the usual “eating our own dog food” exercise (or “drinking our own champagne” if you prefer the prettier visual). We did more than let a few people in distinct groups bang on something before we released it. This was an all-hands-on-deck strategic plan to use the best tool we had to manage a large number of workstreams across a large number of stakeholders. We had teams and people from across product marketing, product management, go-to-market, sales, partner marketing, engineering, and more.

Spark Took Over…
Don’t get me wrong. Spark didn’t magically change how we approached the launch projects. What really changed was the efficiency of communications and decision making — what the marketing guy in me is supposed to call “agility.”

In typical Cisco fashion, we defined Tiger Teams for cross-functional project management and scheduled regular meetings for key topics and executive reviews. But that’s where the old way of working ended and Spark took over.

We created topical rooms for each of the teams. Spark’s persistent messaging and embedded content history became the communication mode of choice for all workstreams. My initial thought that “Spark is just another tool” disappeared in a matter of days as Spark became the new model for how work got done.

With Spark, I had one place that I could access from anywhere (it’s based on a mobile app) where I could find, share, and contribute to everything and everyone related to this launch. And it was amazing.

…And It Got Even Cooler
As time went on and we got internal access to the new Spark service functionality, it was like getting a new knob that went to 11. Meeting, calling, Spark room systems. Everything was turned up again… Every other communication tool we needed was now one click away from within the Spark app:

  • Need to talk live? Click on someone or dial by directory.
  • Need to meet with a team? Click to start a meeting.
  • Want to meet from a conference room? Walk in the room, the SX10 device welcomes me, and I can start my meeting with one click starts. (Now that’s cool!)

As a technology marketing professional, I shouldn’t admit that I’m generally resistant to change — especially given that I’m surrounded by innovation every day. I was sufficiently happy with WebEx, Jabber, my CMR personal meeting room, my desk phone, and the DX80 video endpoint in my home office. The integrations between them gave me a solid communications and collaboration toolset to get my job done.

I didn’t know what I was missing until I got my hands on Spark.  Now all those things work even better. And so do I.

If I look at how Spark has accelerated my ability to get work done. And then I multiply that by the number of people and workstreams it took to bring this product to the market? I can say with extreme confidence that Spark is what made Spark happen.

I look forward to seeing other companies go through the same discovery process with the new Spark service. I want to hear about how you apply it to your business. If you’re not using Spark yet, what are you waiting for?

Download the Spark application or request your Spark service trial at www.ciscospark.com.


Thomas McCafferty

No Longer with Cisco