From Team Collaboration to Transformation – The Analyst Viewpoint
Creating Magic Moments to Transform the Workplace
Do you remember the days when email was the only way to communicate with your co-workers? Who would have ever thought of instant messaging, text or video conferencing? Well, the workplace has definitely changed and in a recent blog, Lorrissa Horton talks about how Cisco’s team collaboration technology has been evolving to unify, digitize and support this new way of working. Creating magic moments to transform the workspace so teams can work anyplace, anytime and anywhere.
Ok, so clearly Cisco has a point of view on Team Collaboration (TC) solutions … but what does the industry have to say about this new way of working? Recently, Wainhouse Research did a report “From Team Collaboration to Transformation” to unearth more information from the analyst perspective on the benefits of TC and how customers on the journey to deliver TC can navigate this transition. It brings together their expertise, customer interactions, research, and other findings into a comprehensive report. We believe their findings validate our strategy and approach, and we are excited that customers are seeing transformational benefits of TC, which I highly encourage you to read about in the report
A couple of themes that really stood out for me include:
1) clear benefits of moving collaboration to cloud
2) key differentiators such as borderless collaboration
3) the importance of defining a clear path for your organization’s transformation journey
First, let’s talk about the benefits of moving to cloud. Leaving to one side the well understood cost of ownership benefits, the paper explores other advantages for Administrators and Enterprise users. This particular excerpt about ‘infofriction’ stood out to me, highlighting the fact that team collaboration (in all of its transformative potential) is about delivering a place for users to get all their jobs done. The scalability and flexibility of cloud services are foundational to enabling these types of experiences:
“This cloud-first approach delivers an improved experience, designed to eliminate barriers between users and the information they need to get their jobs done – reducing infofriction within the business. While traditional communications and UC solutions tend to focus on real-time interactions, these platforms focus on broad connections and enhanced collaboration – connecting users to each other, partners, customers, content, data, and systems.” – Wainhouse Research Insights Report
Cisco delivers what we call “uninterrupted workstreams” to connect islands of information and content into a single place, without disrupting user productivity. What’s also clear is the potential of cloud delivered innovation in areas such as AI/ML powered Cognitive Collaboration, more regular app and feature updates, rich user insights for admins, as well as streamlined management, security and compliance.
The authors go further in this area to talk about differentiated features, specifically to Borderless collaboration. This theme comes across several times in the paper, as both a differentiated feature, transformational benefit, and as a critical factor in successful adoption. For us at Cisco, and for many of our customers, this is about being able to work with everyone, across organizational, geographical or other boundaries that separate us with a frictionless experience.
Other vendors require account switching to work with third-parties, draining time and taking you away from the context and productivity you need to keep work moving forward. We don’t. We also let you keep all the same tools and features to join a meeting, make a call, or share a file when you’re working with those outside your company. We ensure that this is done in a secure way, with IT management for what can be shared to ensure the Enterprise has the visibility and control required to secure the organization. Because working without borders should not mean working without security and control.
Finally, the authors discuss how important it is to ensure your TC vendor has a solid IT architecture strategy, bridging on-premises investments with the cloud for a smooth transition. We believe this is fundamental for enterprises today, who are often choosing premise centric or hybrid configurations rather than pure cloud. So, while the destination is expected to be the cloud, it’s the journey to get there from where they are today that is often the critical success factor. Cisco has a highly differentiated strategy for this with our Cloud first, and not cloud only approach.
As you establish a standard target platform, keep in mind Team Collaboration’s broad scope, integration capabilities, and core architecture. You are standardizing on a cloud first, one that will connect multiple services together. Key is a common directory, presence, messaging, collaboration, and administrative experience. However, the right TC cloud will afford you more flexibility over the user experience than you might expect – by integrating with critical line-of-business applications, supporting a confident guest and B2B experience, and connecting your existing end-user and meeting-room devices.- Wainhouse Research Insights Report
Overall, I encourage anyone who is thinking about transforming their workplace experience with TC strategies to check out the Wainhouse report. It’s rich in useful information and customer use cases that you can help shape a successful TC solution deployment. As for Cisco, we’d love to hear your feedback on how we’re doing to support TC. We want to hear what need to do more of and where we should take our collaboration portfolio in the future. Drop your comments here and tell us what you think!
Read the full report from Wainhouse Research: From Team Collaboration to Transformation