Converging Communications in the Cloud
Cloud, Cloud, Cloud and… Cloud!! There has been much justified excitement about the Cloud and the benefits that it can provide. XaaS is here to stay with everything from HR systems to CRMs launching multi-billion dollar transformations in the way business is done.
Within Cisco, we are in the middle of an exciting transformation of our own internal Digital services and platforms with the Cloud revolution as a backdrop. The work is exciting, and daunting, as it spans across multiple Communication and Marketing capabilities that will ultimately be consumed by our customers, partners and employees.
Cisco already has a robust Digital Marketing and Communication capability. For example, we just took 6th place in Byte Level’s Web Globalization Report Card in front of some very strong companies.
So, if things are going well, why put the effort in to changing it?
Jimit Arora has a nice summary in InformationWeek on some of the factors around successful Enterprise Cloud adoption. He points to looking at cloud through the “lens of agility, competitiveness, not cost” and giving people a “compelling reason” to step out of their comfort zone.
In our industry, sitting on your laurels results in quickly being passed. It’s critical for us to be constantly improving how we do things and Cloud is providing a major opportunity to do just that.
Are we there yet?
Cisco is examining the opportunity from a capabilities point of view with an eye towards consolidating and converging areas that exist for both internal and external use. The line between what’s inside and outside of a large Enterprise has been gradually fading since… well, since the advent of the internet. As we tick off each capability we want to enable, there are many examples where we are already ‘there’ and have been for awhile. For example, when Cisco acquired WebEx Communications in 2007, we quickly became their largest consumer of cloud-based Communication services and we remain one of WebEx’s top ‘customers’ by volume today. As a Cisco employee, I use the same service that our customers use and we use it both inside and outside the firewall without giving it a second thought.
Another area of where we are pretty much ‘there’, is with our video capability. Using both 3rd party and Cisco technologies like TelePresence, we are able to move video seamlessly to customers, partners and employees as needed. We demonstrated this capability in a dramatic way during the Cisco CloudVerse launch in 2011. We went so far as to combine a major internal event, our Company Meeting, with a live external broadcast to industry analysts and the press.
However, there are number capabilities that remain an opportunity for Cisco. One area where the improvements could be dramatic is in eliminating needless divisions between internal and external in the content management and delivery space. The lines between what goes to a customer, partner or employee should simply be a matter of policy and not a matter of digital capabilities or infrastructure.
There will certainly be cost savings around the re-use of internal content for external consumption, but the main benefit will once again be around agility. Imagine the possibilities of a simplified architecture where content and new innovative capabilities can be delivered simultaneously to anyone within the broader corporate ecosystem. Getting the right content, to the right person, just-in-time has long been the promise of Digital and that will be greatly accelerated by a converged, cloud-based communication architecture.
If you find yourself within a large Enterprise examining Cloud-based Digital Marketing and Communication capabilities from the IT or Business perspective, I would love to hear your thoughts on the opportunities and challenges in the space.