At Cisco, we believe our portfolio delivers the foundation for digital transformation. It’s amazing to be at the company driving this new era of business. The business world is moving at an unprecedented pace, and executives concur: almost five years ago, 94% felt increased pressure to release apps more quickly. I’d bet everyone feels this now.

In collaboration, the combination of the fast-paced global economy, customer demands, and agile development in the cloud drives tool consolidation and integration. IT professionals want to optimize costs, user satisfaction, information security, reliability, and more, so that their businesses are poised for today’s unprecedented speed and growth. And they want to build an architecture that survives the next industry transition. Because if you have to reboot your IT underpinning to keep up, you will be left out.

Because if you have to reboot your IT underpinning to keep up, you will be left out.

Cisco Collaboration has an incredible approach to solve this challenge. One that keeps businesses humming as tools are upgraded. That minimizes disruption and helps customers evolve to meet the needs of the ever-changing economy. That doesn’t force migrations to the cloud pre-maturely. Because forced migration is not an architectural strategy – it’s a rebuild.

There’s no doubt, we’ve been busy building our new Webex suite with a focus on extending the reach and capabilities of the Webex cloud. Some customers are all in on the cloud for collaboration and have moved to Webex for all of their services and devices. Others are still evaluating when to evolve and where to start.

I want to be clear: for these customers, we are fully committed to a “cloud first, not cloud only” strategy. This means we are innovating cloud services in a way that connects and enhances existing customer investments. This gives customers the choice to evolve their Cisco portfolio as they are ready. One step further, we keep this architecture open to enable seamless integrations with other important user tools, such as productivity and workflow apps, to meet users where they are. We’ve started this already with our Webex Hybrid Services capabilities and Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan, and are adding new value-added capabilities every chance we get. Let me bring this to light.

The Flex Plan commercial structure lets customers deploy services to users in the cloud, on-premises, through partners, or a combination thereof – with the ability to change this configuration over time as needed.

This underpinning is a major boon, giving IT the ability to protect their investments as they decide how they’re going to evolve their architecture over time. It also has significant benefits for end users who need to connect with their teams anywhere, anytime, with the best possible experience available.

For example, we’re committed to a robust roadmap to support our Jabber application so our customers planning to stay fully on-premises, or have their solution hosted by a partner, continue to have a great experience. Many customers, however, are looking to leverage the cloud for messaging, calling, or both. And for these customers, we are not asking them to migrate or switch to a different application.

We’re saying, use the Jabber app you know and love, and pull in team messaging features from the Webex cloud. Get easy-to-use, highly secure persistent messaging spaces with file sharing right inside your Jabber app, with regular updates and enhancements you can expect from the cloud. This approach allows you to get the most of your existing on-premises investment, keep a consistent experience for end users, and still reap the benefits of cloud collaboration without requiring a forklift upgrade. Cloud first, not cloud only.

Same with our award-winning video devices. Have them on premises? Great. The user experience, from connecting to a device, sharing content, and controlling meetings, is consistent no matter where the device is registered. This means the cloud-delivered Webex Teams app on your mobile device can communicate with the room device no matter where it’s hosted. In case you’re a long-time Cisco customer, yes, I am saying we will enable on-premises registered devices to seamlessly connect with the Webex Teams app by early next year!

Our video experience also maximizes all of your resources. With Webex Video Mesh, IT can ensure their mix of video devices get the best quality experience in meetings regardless of how devices are deployed. By adding software to on-premises servers, users can enjoy the benefits of premises-based video such as high quality and low latency (because every millisecond counts!) with the benefits and scale of the cloud.

Building An Architecture That Optimizes Every Workflow

The experiences above happen within your Cisco environment, but we’re also thinking through this approach with other tools you have in place. Take your calendar app. With our Hybrid Calendar Service, we deeply integrate with Microsoft Exchange (in addition to Office 365, and Google Calendar) where simply adding @meet to your meeting location creates an amazing Webex video conference with one button to join from virtually any device. And @meet can be used to schedule both on-premises meetings and cloud-based meetings. As customers transition to Webex meeting capabilities, their users won’t have to change their habits!  

Further, this calendar integration makes joining meetings easy for all your meetings.  For example, I recently met with an online marketing company and was able to get into a non-Cisco meeting right from Webex Teams with one button push. I didn’t have to create an account, download an app, or find a dial-in. In fact, I was able to join the meeting from the app and automatically connect to my Webex DX 80 to participate with the highest quality experience. All from my existing hardware and software without heavy lifting for IT, delivering fast, effective engagement for all of my interactions.

At the end of the day, we believe this architectural strategy is the most complete in the market.  We’re helping you build the best team collaboration experience that seamlessly fits, no matter where you deploy existing services or where your users work, while easily snapping into the other solutions you have in play. Users stay better connected across all of their workflows, and IT gets to evolve at the pace that’s best for them.

With all of this, I’m confident that Cisco and our partners are not only your trusted providers, but also your strategic advisors to help you leap into the next era of business innovation. If you’re an existing customer, I encourage you to talk to your Cisco Partner to help you see solution demos and learn more about how you can optimize your architecture.

If you’re new to Cisco Collaboration, start by trying out the new Webex experience and seeing how it improves team performance. Once you uncover how valuable our tools are, we can work with you to connect within your IT architecture and deliver the benefits I’ve discussed in this blog!


Lorrissa Horton

Vice President and General Manager of Webex Calling and Online

Cisco Collaboration