Openness and Interoperability — Cisco’s DNA

December 5, 2008 - 3 Comments

Openness and interoperability have been in Cisco’s DNA since the company shipped the first multiprotocol router in 1985. At that time, interoperability was about connecting disparate physical networks, enabling them to talk with each other and share information. Flash forward to today, and Cisco is still helping people connect, communicate, and collaborate with innovative on premise and on demand applications that use the network as a platform to share knowledge and ideas. But what does a collaboration portfolio that is founded on openness and interoperability mean to businesses? The ability to survive and thrive in a challenging economy. Openness equals choice, and choice empowers employees with the tools and communication styles they prefer to drive productivity. Different mobile phone users? No problem. “Facebook” and email users? No problem. Cisco’s collaboration portfolio works across different devices and applications within and outside the Cisco fold to foster teamwork, creativity and efficiency. Openness and interoperability enables better customer service and satisfaction. Interoperable solutions allow you to more rapidly and intelligently respond to customers with personalized service. Cisco’s contact center solutions interoperate with existing phone systems and legacy contact center systems to help deliver quality service, without having to dedicate more resources. Presence federation allows for closer relationships with customers. Rich collaboration solutions like Cisco WebEx enable the delivery of quality service and support over a wide range of computer systems and across networks.Openness and interoperability drives closer partner engagement, making partners, suppliers and distributors an integral part of a business. Whether it’s federation with IBM, Microsoft and Cisco presence information on who’s available; interoperable video communications with Cisco TelePresence and standards-based H.323 video conferencing systems for richer communications; or the development of new business transformation applications with the Cisco Unified Application Environment, Cisco’s collaboration portfolio can unlock new ways to generate higher quality leads, drive deeper and faster innovation, and win new business using existing resources.Of course, IT and Telecom departments benefit from open, interoperable collaboration solutions by being able to deploy new business transformation applications at their own pace with existing legacy TDM systems, as well as business applications from companies like IBM and, for maximum investment protection and competitive differentiation.Over the coming year, we’ll be evolving our open, interoperable Web 2.0 framework. We’ll be active with partners and developers to help expose collaboration services and new applications for heterogeneous environments. And, we’ll be contributing innovation to the open source community to help further drive communications and collaboration across companies and products. How are you or your customers using open collaboration solutions to survive and thrive in today’s economy?by Kara Wilson, vice president of marketing, Cisco Unified Communications

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  1. As usual Ted Schadler and Forrester have hit on some key issues facing all enterprises seeking to be “more open” or interoperable. To compliment Ted’s comments, if you think about the word “collaboration” and think about calling a peer “a bad collaborator”, the most likely reaction is to be offended. However, if you roll the clock back 50 years, to Vichy France and call someone a “collaborator” they would be arrested for war crimes. Clearly, times have and are changing. Cisco’s position on Unified Collaboration and Communication, although rooted in the spirit of innovation unique to the Silicon Valley, CA is truly shaped by our customers. As the largest and most prevalent global provider of networking infrastructure and unified communication and collaboration across most industries and government agencies, we have no choice but to be sensitive to our customer’s needs, concerns and pursuits. Although we agree that there are cultural and generational challenges facing companies looking to become more open, the business transformational opportunities and economic advantages greatly out-weigh the risks. First, in regard to risk, Cisco takes security seriously at every level – from the phone, to the firewall, between systems and between enterprises. If security isn’t imbedded in every aspect of a unified communications and collaboration architecture then Ted’s comments are even more meaningful. Fortunately, Cisco customers can rely on the security and integrity of their information via Cisco Systems – whether you’re a consumer-oriented Retailer leveraging our PCI Solutions to process credit cards or a Manufacturing Company creating a Supplier Self-service portal for value-chain optimization and product lifecycle management.At Cisco, we believe, open collaboration and interoperability will prove to be the savior of the “rust belt”, rural America has recently appeared (once again) on the Presidential debate as another discussion of the digital divide created by the lack or scarcity of broadband communications. One can literally correlate the transformation of industrial segments to service segments by comparing bandwidth to a geography and population of people. As far as Wall Street is concerned, there’s clear evidence that this industry is in desperate need for more openness and transparency. As financial products become more complex and economies converge and become more global versus international, the need to provide transparency and open sharing of data has never been greater. At a micro level, Wall Street has been a huge proponent of standards from de facto standards like the “Bloomberg terminal” to industry standards for interbank routing, ATM transaction processing and financial statements. The economies of openness, interoperability, and collaboration have been well documented in a collection of Cisco Use-Cases, many of which developed by our customers and partners at our user conferences. Additionally, internal resources including two Cisco groups who are wholly and solely dedicated to such economic analysis: our Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) and Customer Business Transformation Team (CBT). One thing we have learned is that although the infrastructure and tools may be common, open and interoperable – the business case and business process transformation is as unique as the customers we serve. For more information check out;

  2. This is a great concept, and one that Gen Yers will readily understand.But so many of the companies we work with have paid in blood for being too open in the past. It’s not just the senior executives in their 60s — it’s the DNA of the organization that still feels the lashes from the DOJ, law suits, and the Wall Street Journal.Openness is a tough one, I think, and it’s something that the industry will have to tackle by getting out of the valley and spending some time in the rust belt, Wall Street, and inside the beltway to really master.However, the principle’s a good one, and if we can link financial results to openness, then we can make a business case for taking the risk.One analyst’s view, anyway.

  3. KaraSince Cisco is placing top priority onCommunicating to Collaborate and since the company is creating great technologyto support collaboration – would you be open to my briefing employees and invited clients on behavioral-based insights on how to be better collaborators?That way they’d be better able to leverage the benefits of using your technologies – at the business and consumer/home levelI’ve spent a decade translating research into concrete methods for diverse people to accomplish more together than they could on their own. For eight months I was paid to implement such efforts in the Obama campaign. Perhaps my approach would be helpful for your colleagues.