I’m sitting across a table from a guy we’ll call Mike.* He’s trying to join an 8:00 a.m. conference call from one of those free services. It’s not working.
First, the hold music is awful. I can hear it from here. I’m pretty convinced that it must be worth a few bucks a month to avoid just that aspect of the experience.
The call drops about 20 seconds after the chirpy voice announces “you are the only participant on this call.” When Mike calls back in, he gets the horrid music again before the system promptly launches him into a seemingly endless loop of two different recorded voices competing for his attention: “Please enter your conference code” and “Please enter your PIN.” (It’s not clear which voice is more authoritative, so he tries both codes. Neither work.)
He dials in a third time and lands in the same loop of arguing voices. The third time it not a charm after all.
He gives up and dials Luke, who originally set up the call, directly. Luke was also having trouble, so he agrees to set up another call through a different service.
All this for an audio-only bridge? Why is it so difficult? Read More »
The first thing you may wonder is how can you have a mobile workspace. After all, the point of being mobile is that you can be anywhere and if you’re anywhere, you may not have a physical workspace. This means your accessories must also be mobile. They should fit in your pockets, or at least a laptop bag. Most people will argue that a laptop is a portable device, not a mobile device. Even if it is equipped with mobile connectivity. Consider what devices you use most when on the road.
The first piece of your mobile workspace is your mobile phone or tablet. The phone is the foundation for the mobile workspace. I don’t own a tablet. I prefer something that fits in my pocket. When I’m on the go, I use my mobile phone as my primary means of communication. Today I have the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active and I’m happy with it.
There are some key collaboration applications that you need to realize the most value of the mobile workspace.
My collaboration user persona is that of a mobile worker. I spend time in the car. I spend time among the buildings on the Cisco campus. I also spend time with customers and attending events. Read More »
In the last five years I have moved from Siberia to San Francisco, to Berkeley, to San Jose, to Phoenix, and now to Minneapolis. Unlike most people, moving so many times almost feels like a privilege to me. My husband and I have been able to explore the “sparkle” of Silicon Valley. We enjoyed Phoenix during the not-so-hot months. And now we are in Minneapolis where every day of summer seems like the 4th of July. (I might not be bragging in January when its -30 degrees. But hey, I’m trying to tell myself that it’s healthy for the soul to endure a Winter Wonderland in the U.S. Midwest.)
There are many reasons why we’ve had to relocate so often. Whether I moved to be closer to the beach, the snow, or family — or due to a tragedy — I’m glad that my personal life did not impact my professional life. Aside from constant packing, unpacking, and doing the legwork of finding housing – I don’t know what I would do if I also had to start and restart the process of finding a job.
I have worked for Cisco a little more than two years now. Throughout my transitions, my responsibilities have changed only slightly. Surprisingly, my productivity and efficiency have increased thanks to my new, liberated perspective of work.
My job moves with me anywhere I go. As long as I have an internet connection, I can work from my home office, my backyard, a restaurant, a coffee shop, or even on my family’s boat. My laptop and smartphone are the only devices I need to be fully functional. And Cisco tools such as Jabber, WebEx, and now Spark (a team collaboration solution) allow me to collaborate with my colleagues across continents.
If I need to join an important meeting with executives or managers, I have a DX70 desktop endpoint for better audio and video quality. If I have a meeting with local colleagues, we can use room systems like MX800 or IX5000 in a Cisco office. It has been fun to explore the differences between the Cisco offices in Phoenix, San Jose, and Bloomington, Minnesota. (Hmm, I think next year I should visit the Cisco office in New Zealand.) Read More »
Getting Value from Improving Internal Communications
In my previous post, I considered how better access to information can save time, reach many more people, and create a happier, more engaged workforce. All these benefits flow from improving your organization’s internal communications.
In-person meetings are effective, but with today’s increasing reliance on mobility, remote workers, and distributed teams, it can be prohibitively costly to bring teams together. Not just from travel costs, but lost productivity too.
We need more effective ways to collaborate.
86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures according to Clear Company HRM.
50% of business productivity is tied to effective collaboration, according to CEB.
Cisco generates $250 million (US) in travel savings per year using video
With globally dispersed teams, it’s not enough to rely on email and chats on video. Fast access to secure, collaborative video content across dispersed teams is paramount.
Video, audio, instant messaging, and clouds have come together to offer the right solution to enterprises. The ingredients for success are operational efficiency, employee effectiveness, and customer experiences. And all these need a focus on connecting people and technology.
You can realize substantial value if you do it right and eliminate the potential for miscommunication.
As a member of the Sales Engineer Organization, I spend lots of my time staying close to midsized customers observing how teams that do great work are leveraging applications to collaborate. The number of choices available can make choosing the right tools an interesting journey.
Is there one solution to meet all needs? Midmarket organizations face these questions. As I talked to several midsized companies this past year, I heard how improving team productivity is top of mind. Keeping employees connected across their various workplace resources and devices is increasingly important. Making customers happy with proactive service and quick response times is paramount to an organization’s success.
In the world of collaboration, consider the parallels between how online meetings and physical meetings take place. Don’t you find it to be more effective to have the right setting for the meetings you attend in person? A large group in a small space never works right.
For example, with physical meetings:
Large groups require large spaces, structured seating, the ability to share media, and the ability for participants to interact with presenters.
Fast moving small teams need rooms that are available on-demand and the ability to do real-time content tracking.
One-to-one interactions require privacy and rich-media sharing with the ability to call in additional participants as needed.