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“Sparking” Collaboration at SXSW

Every year at the SXSW Interactive Conference, tens of thousands gather in Austin, Texas to get a first look at what’s new in innovative technology. And while the atmosphere this year was festive, it’s safe to assume that many attendees were trying to stay connected and get work done on-the-go with colleagues back in the office.

While email and conference calls have long been the staples of business communication, the reality is that people on-the-go, whose mobile devices are their business lifelines, need solutions that make it simple and easy to work together from anywhere. Since Cisco was on the ground with attendees at SXSW, it was the perfect opportunity to not only hear how they collaborate, but also discuss the future of collaboration and find out directly from users what they are looking for.

While we think collaboration is the best thing since sliced bread – or in Austin, taco trucks – we wanted to hear how users describe it: how do they use it, how does it help them, what do they wish it could do? Because Cisco Spark is so easy to put in the hands of users, we asked people to try it out. Read More »

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Context is Everything in Customer Care

“Let’s eat grandma!”
“Let’s eat, grandma!”

Punctuation makes a difference, doesn’t it? So does context.

Photo by Takkk, Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Takkk, Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a basketball fan with March Madness on your mind, “Drive the lane!” might make you think of something a coach yells to his players. On the other hand, if you’re teaching your teenage son to drive, it means something else entirely. Context matters! (By the way, march madness also refers to the breeding season of the European hare; context is a tricky thing.)

What’s one of the most annoying things about calling a contact center? For me, it’s entering my account number to an interactive voice response (IVR) system and then having a customer service agent ask me to repeat it moments later. In his recent blog, Zack Taylor refers to this as a “Do It Again” moment. Come on, people! We put a man on the moon in 1969 (or not, if you’re a conspiracy buff), but we can’t get an IVR system to send account numbers to agents? Actually we can. But most businesses don’t because it’s been too difficult or costly. We’ll get back to that shortly. Read More »

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Collaboration Makes the Future Bright for Healthcare

Well, New Year’s Day is long past. As I continue to plod along with my New Year’s resolutions through this brutally cold winter, I do so with varying degrees of success. I still start my day with an apple-ginger juice and try to eat my veggies.   Along the way I bolster my dedication with the incremental successes that a healthy lifestyle delivers.  I feel lucky to have my health and I’m trying my best to protect it! 

Sometimes, I get bummed when I read the healthcare headlines: There’s a new “super bug”… there is a shortage of doctors… antibiotics are nearing the end stage of their effectiveness…. The headlines can be scary!

But I know that headlines are meant to elicit emotions and capture attention. I recently looked behind the headlines at stories about how companies in the healthcare industry are using Cisco collaboration technology.  I came away feeling optimistic.  There are some cool things happening!

Technology is making a huge difference in doctor-patient care.  

Park Nicollet Healthcare is a nonprofit integrated healthcare system located near Minneapolis. The company was looking for ways to improve collaboration between the more than 1000 physicians on staff. Park Nicolette made huge strides when it added Jabber to its existing Cisco Unified Communications Manager implementation Read More »

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How Telecommuting Simplifies My Workday

For many of us, the process of getting to and from work can create frustration that resonates all day long. Do the following daily obstacles sound familiar to you?

  • 6:15 a.m.: Wake up, feed dog, make coffee, shower, make up, style hair, dress for the office
  • 7:30 a.m.: Drive, sit in traffic, stop by Starbucks, wait in line
  • 9:30 a.m.: Arrive to office late but finally at my desk, answer e-mails
  • 10 a.m.: First conference call of the day via WebEx
  • 1 p.m.: Lunch time! Discover someone has stolen my RedBull from community refrigerator. Must escape building after someone microwaves left-over fish dinner and the odor crawls through the entire second floor
  • 2 p.m.: Back to work, can’t focus well with distracting noise of nearby printer
  • 3 p.m.: Territorial cubicle neighbor creates drama about missing sticky notes
  • 4 p.m.: Back pain and headache kick in, start looking at the clock and dreaming of Hawaii

Read More »

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – March 20, 2015

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

There was big news from the Collaboration Team this week and Richard McLeod gave Cisco Partners an update on the launch of Cisco Spark.

As Richard said, this is much more than the launch of a new app from the Collaboration Team. It’s about the modernization of business from traditional models to new, agile models.

Be sure to read Richard’s blog and join the conversation on Cisco Spark.

CRN Channel Madness

CRN is holding its own March tournament this year. Thirty-two channel chiefs enter, but only one will remain standing at the end. Cisco has two of its own in this year’s tournament. Check out the head-to-head matchups and give Bruce Klein and Edison Peres some support!

Only one channel chief can win the tournament, but one thing’s for sure, it’s going to be fun! Read More »

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