Collaboration helps your business reduce costs, enhance client interaction, increase productivity, and improve efficiency.

By Tony Cuevas, Principal Lead – Unified Communications, CDI Southeast

When I was asked to contribute to this CDI blog, I was honored, excited, and eager to start writing. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “Now I get to share my mind with a wider audience…challenge accepted!”

Easier said than done. Typically, my mind is constantly on the go (like most restless brains are), so I found it difficult to hone in on one topic and focus for a long period of time. I know I’m not alone. But I managed, thinking to myself, “I got this. I can make this happen.” So here goes. (You still have 45 minutes before your connecting flight, so enjoy.)

It has evolved over time.

It has brought worldwide teams together.

And it mixes well with technology.

It has donned many different names and comes in different sizes and flavors.

Mobile, BYOD, tablet, smartphone, agile, instant messaging (IM), VoIP, voice, video, presence, remote worker, telecommunications, chat, web conferencing, tweet, like, share… the list goes on.

How do we unify all of these avenues into one ecosystem? I guess a group of MegaMinds must have gathered at the round table either in person or on video chat to stop whatever else they were doing and get together and someone suggested they decide what to label that activity.

After hours of discussion, debate, and Googling, one brave soul must have sat back, looked around the room, and said “Collaboration! That’s what we are doing right now.”

There’s probably lots of details from that round table session I’m missing, but it’s how I envision it. That’s how collaboration was born, and that’s how it is re-invented every day. Organizations collectively discovered their need to bring people together physically or virtually to conjure up the ideas that make great things happen.

Today, all of us collaborate in some shape or form on personal and business levels. Every day, we share instant messages, global conference calls, and video conferences with colleagues and clients. Sometimes, we even get together to plan ways to build more collaboration into our work so that we can enhance how we operate, create, and achieve great things.

CDI has many clients that are all aboard the collaboration train, and they have adapted very well to it. Companies have transitioned and transformed themselves to keep up with the modern world. Only a small percentage out there have still not adapted to it, and that’s the group whose eyes I aim to open. Once they leverage the power of collaboration they’ll understand the greater things their organization can achieve. Perhaps a recent Cisco marketing blurb says it best, distilling all the complexity down to a simple corporate quest to “improve collaboration with technology that empowers people to engage and innovate–anywhere on any device.”

Cisco, a leading provider in this industry, offers a multitude of solutions that enterprises can incorporate into their networks to leverage the power of collaboration. I won’t go into every single solution that Cisco offers to improve workplace collaboration, but I will touch on the top two that I tend to use on a daily basis: WebEx and Jabber.

  • Cisco WebEx: Video conferencing is an easy, cost-effective way to exchange ideas and information with anyone, anywhere, on any mobile device or your own video system. Every week I find myself in a WebEx meeting with clients or colleagues discussing a solution or just sharing ideas. The application empowers me to share content during a conversation without having to email the document first. I can just enable my screen to be viewed by multiple people with a click of a button. Virtual meetings can often yield the same productive results as physical meetings without the time and cost of travel.
  • Cisco Jabber: This tool also provides secure, effective collaboration anywhere on any device. You can use Jabber to empower employees, colleagues, customers, and business partners to work together efficiently from anywhere. It provides the power of presence by bringing IM, enterprise voice and audio, video, web conferencing, and visual voicemail together into one client application on your desktop or one app on your mobile device. Jabber has been a necessity for me on a daily basis. Each day I’m collaborating with colleagues and bouncing ideas off of them through Jabber. I’m constantly on Jabber from anywhere, whether it’s on my laptop, iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch. Being able to converse with other colleagues and engineers right at my fingertips improves my work productivity.

Climbing the charts this season are new collaboration solutions Cisco Spark and Cisco Meeting Server. These two solutions have the potential to make some big impacts in the productivity, communication, and collaborative space. Cisco Spark combines all your communications into one service. Cisco Meeting Server offers rich meeting experiences, extensive scale, and advanced interoperability. Both of these forthcoming products are likely subjects of future blogs.

In conclusion, collaboration helps businesses reduce costs, improve client interaction, boost productivity, and maximize efficiency. So get out there and make great things happen together. Until next time… Cuevas out!