Cisco is a frontrunner in mobility and flexibility when it comes to the workplace. Recently, Cisco IT won the 2014 IDG CITE Award for best business computing environment, based on the range of device choice and flexibility we give our employees. Cisco has also been in the Forbes top 100 places to work 18 years in a row, partly because of its support of employee mobility and teleworking. Bringing newer and better video to the workplace is a part of Cisco IT’s mission to enable its employees to work face-to-face, no matter where in the world they may be. Cisco IT provides the workforce with video everywhere, and with more choice in the devices they use.
Technology is only part of the solution. We are enabling a workplace transformation that focuses on collaboration as a driving force for change. At a high level, Cisco IT is transforming the workplace both from a technological endpoint perspective as well as from a work culture perspective. Employees are given a wide range of tools to choose from, and can work comfortably from just about anywhere. Recently, Cisco IT provided employees with a new generation of video tools in the workplace to improve their experience.
“How the new suite of collaboration devices are integrated to enable productivity, team enhancement and engagements goes beyond the technology,” says Angela Bhurji, director of video and virtual event services. “We’re redefining ways of using the workplace, whether a Cisco office or a home office, by asking employees to use these new tools and endpoints as they see fit to make their workday more effective.” See Figure 1.
Figure 1. Workplace Transformation in Action
Cisco’s Collaboration Suite at a Glance
The demand for better video was answered with the deployment of our new collaboration endpoints, which includes a range of personal and meeting room-sized TelePresence units.
The SX and C Series of TelePresence endpoints can transform any room with a good video screen into a conference room by adding 2-3 pieces of plug-and-play equipment. These are portable devices for teleworkers, mid-sized conference rooms and also larger meeting rooms.
The MX Series has HD video screens (ranging from 42-inch to 70-inch) and transforms meeting rooms to conference rooms without having to restructure or redesign the room. The MX Series uses less bandwidth than older video equipment and is a good tool for startups, small to medium-sized businesses, and companies trying to save in countries where bandwidth is expensive.
The DX Series are desktop collaboration units. With an Android-based platform, the DX Series offers employees a personal TelePresence unit, a touch screen with Cisco apps, and an extra HD monitor. Cisco IT is deploying approximately 18,000 DX units globally and upgrading 1200 rooms for TelePresence over the next three years.
The IX Series is a new immersive TelePresence experience that are embedded into one-screen, two-screen, and three-screen rooms. The IX Series also uses half the bandwidth of current technology and has no remediation. Install time is 20 percent faster than before and approximately 30 percent reduction in total cost of ownership. Currently, the technology is being trialed in our San Jose office and Bedfont Lakes office in the United Kingdom.
Cisco Spark is a new cloud-based collaboration app that provides secure virtual rooms and ad hoc team collaboration on the go. Virtual rooms offer teams messaging, file sharing, screen sharing, and video conferencing capabilities from mobile devices and desktop devices.
Business Drivers for Collaboration
Productivity, flexibility, cost savings, and business agility are drivers for the transformation towards activity-based working. Businesses today are looking for ways to move away from a traditional cube-centric environment to more open-based environments. Activity-based working allows workers to choose the type of environment they need on a specific day, whether at home, a customer site, an open space for whiteboard sessions with teams or a more quiet location for meetings.
Productivity improvement is one result of this video-driven collaborative work environment. Enabling faster decision-making, improving customer intimacy. Being able to see and talk to the customer creates a more authentic and trusted experience.
Cisco providing flexible work environments and enabling a more flexible work culture is seen as a significant benefit by employees. Many new hires cite this flexibility as one of the top reasons for joining the company. Many employees cite it as one of the major reasons they stay.
With a collaborative and mobile workforce, work is what you do, not where you go. This new cultural change results in a shrinking real estate portfolio, which drives down expenses. Offices are now being consolidated with customized features that individual teams in those buildings want in their workspaces. For example, engineering teams require more collaboration rooms whereas attack teams require more call centers.
Lastly, the results of business agility can be seen in the reduction of sales cycles and product development cycles. We’ve had an approximate improvement in product development cycles by around 10 percent. With innovation being a top priority for many organizations, the potential to improve the product development cycle is transformational.
If we look at the changes businesses need to think about with the implementation of collaboration tools, there are three spheres of influence:
● Workplace policy and business models
● Space design
Technology is the first sphere. Deploying technology that will evolve the work environment takes detailed planning and budgeting. The second sphere is implementing workplace policies around the technology. Asking questions, such will the company allow employees to work from home or outside the office, and will this impact productivity within teams or innovation? The third is sphere is about space design. Defining who will be using the space and tailoring it to what they need is paramount. Do teams want open space concepts? Do they want smart desks or walls, half-walls, or privacy walls? Do they want more virtual whiteboards to enable teams to brainstorm and design collaboratively across time zones? Businesses today need to focus on agility and at Cisco, Fast IT is the push towards a more agile style of work with daily scrums and virtual rooms to connect teams.
Cisco IT is dedicated to maximizing our business outcomes and IT drivers and collaboration is a top priority in achieving those goals. A seamless collaboration experience that goes beyond corporate boundaries to connect with customers, partners, and consultants is where the integrated experience is most important.
A Unified and Secure Experience
“One of the great things about our tools is the integration with all our collaboration tools,” says Bhurji. “All these systems work together and that is unique in the field of enterprise collaboration. With WebEx-enabled TelePresence and collaboration meeting rooms (CMR’s), the experience is end-to-end. You schedule once, you join once, irrespective of whether you’re joining from a video endpoint, a WebEx mobile app, a desktop WebEx app.”
The blend of virtual and physical at Cisco is a seamless experience for employees. With Cisco Intelligent Proximity, the Internet of Everything is at work. Intelligent Proximity integrates mobile devices in meeting rooms and activates when users bring their enabled devices near a Cisco voice or video collaboration endpoint.
We want our employees to engage with video from every room, at every desk, and on every device to maintain continuity with their teams and peers. Some of our workforce is a bit apprehensive with pervasive video while the millennials of our teams are quite comfortable. For every employee, a main concern is security. With the ability to connect from anywhere, on any device, at any time, InfoSec is focusing on securing the mobile cloud in the enterprise. Security is embedded in the fabric of our architecture and design from conceptualization to deployment.
“From browser to the boardroom,” says Bhurji, “Cisco IT has enabled an end-to-end collaboration experience that is increasing productivity, flexibility, and mobility for our global workforce.”
For More Information
To read additional Cisco IT case studies about a variety of business solutions, visit Cisco on Cisco: Inside Cisco IT.
To view Cisco IT webinars and events about related topics, visit Cisco on Cisco Webinars & Events.
To see more about Video Collaboration, visit Video Collaboration Matters in the Millions.
To read more about security, visit Security for the Real World: A Practioner’s View.
To learn more about the DX Series, visit Coming to a desk near you…DX70, DX80, and DX650.
To read more about the MX Series, visit The Cisco TelePresence MX Series at a Glance.
To learn more about the SX Series, visit The Cisco TelePresence SX Series - Adding TelePresence to Every Screen.
This publication describes how Cisco has benefited from the deployment of its own products. Many factors may have contributed to the results and benefits described. Cisco does not guarantee comparable results elsewhere.
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