When you’re working with people on a project, it’s vital to know who they are. Immediately accessible details such as what department or company they’re with, what experience they’re bringing to the table, and what they’ve achieved already, gives you the power to structure the project and its resources effectively. No one can afford to wait days or weeks to find out who they have on the team, and this is becoming even more critical as the pace of business increases and teams are globally distributed.

This is where People Insights comes in. It’s an idea that has been pursued for decades but is now here, in a way that is rich, complete, and up-to-date. It’s an answer to the team-building challenges that we have all suffered through in the past, such as:

  • “Get-to-know-you” roundtable sessions. These were often tedious and incomplete. People never know how much or how little to say about themselves, the event takes up a great deal of meeting time, and no one can remember all that static detail anyway.
  • Looking up someone’s LinkedIn profile online. They vary in quality and thoroughness and may be incomplete or out of date. They rely on the individuals themselves to keep things up-to-date – and who has time for that?
  • Googling someone. There are a lot of people out there with the same name, and even when you do find the right person, where will you categorize and store the information?

Frankly, all of these are cumbersome, incomplete, and impractical. They take our focus and attention away from the video conference meeting, from the discussion at hand. It’s a classic example of the internet-information conundrum: it’s all out there, but no one has developed a way to package it and curate it effectively.

Until now.

This is why we built People Insights

It’s easy to think of Cisco as a technology company, since, for decades, we have been developing tools and applications that help meetings and businesses run more smoothly and reliably in a highly-connected world. But we are also well aware of the fact that it’s people who make projects run smoothly. It’s people who collaborate and innovate. It’s people that people should focus on.

So, the solution became obvious. Let’s leverage our expertise, our computing power, and our AI genius, and blend it with our acquisition of Accompany, whose app set the new standard in collecting and consolidating vital professional information about participants. Let’s present it as a profile tab, a traveling bio that reveals the right type of data about every person, easily visible and clickable, and always up-to-date. Right there on your screen.

Privacy is paramount

The goal with People Insights is to make life easier, less stressful, and more engaging for everyone out there who is busily working away with projects and teams. So, we made sure that the information pulled into every person’s individual People Insights profile is already publicly available (nothing confidential), and we also ensure that everyone can edit their profile further, changing or removing any information that just isn’t quite right.

We don’t want legions of worried people. We want confident and engaged people who are looking to maximize the synergy of their team by knowing the context and talents of those around them.

And besides, it is so much easier to connect, human-to-human, when you can not only see a person’s face, but also find things in common – a college, an acquaintance, a company, an interest or a skill, that warms the relationship and brings greater creative capacity to the fore.

The Centerpiece of great collaboration

We think People Insights is pretty awesome, and so do many industry analysts and experts. At recent events such as our Cisco Analyst Summit (see my blog post here) and the powerhouse industry event Enterprise Connect, we received hefty kudos from a wide selection of people – industry experts and corporate customers alike, who know what they need, and who saw it in the People Insights solution.

Bottom line is, work is done better when people know each other better, and when, together, they can hit the ground running. We feel People Insights truly gets to the heart of the matter – the human element that every team ultimately tries to harness. It builds trust and engagement. This makes people more efficient, better able to brainstorm and spark new ideas. It helps elevate performance by vastly reducing the time needed to search, figure out who is who, and understand their background. It creates more time for teams to become more cohesive, helping them tap into strengths, common experiences, and greater synergies.

As great as any technology is, productivity and profitability ultimately come from human effort and collaboration. With People Insights, we feel we have energized that perfect missing link between people and technology that surpasses anything that has come before.


What is Cognitive Collaboration? Learn more, see Cognitive Collaboration Solutions


Aruna Ravichandran

Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer

Webex Collaboration