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Clouds Are Everywhere, But Which Cloud for Collaboration?

Cisco Employee

Which cloud is best for Collaboration?  Simple -- the one that fits your needs. With so many cloud options out there offering a variety of different services, it’s easy to get confused. When making a decision, consider what is essential to collaboration in your business. How do users want to experience the services? What are their needs?  Let’s break it down using me as a use case:

  • Conversations & Conferencing -- I am heavily reliant on voice and video. I need it on all my devices, with no compromises on availability, security or quality.  About 40% of my day is spent in web or video conferences, with one or many people  (I guess this is why WebEx is the second largest business SaaS service!).  For me, I must have a reliable service that performs regardless of how it is deployed.  If my company has chosen the cloud for strategic or financial reasons then that is kind of irrelevant to me – I just want it to work…  and work well.
  • Email, IM and Content -- IM enables me to get information when I need it.  If not, I typically get it from a document sharing space.  Happily, I am spending less time in email these days.  So for these types of collaboration tools I am more interested in what the cloud has to offer.  Decisions made by IT have a material impact on me and my working environment.  Here at Cisco I jump at the chance to be on a trial or pilot of a new technology.  Not only do I get to play with all the new toys, I get ahead of the pack and get access to new productivity tools that make me more effective…  they help me.
  • Customer Services -- I like to choose how and when I interact with people.  I also like to help myself first, and then call out for help as required.  So I like to do business with organizations that allow me to do this.  If they don’t, I generally try to avoid doing business with them.

For most organizations, the prime focus is on voice and video communications.  These are usually delivered through an IP-PBX -- either on premise, distributed across a private cloud, VoIP services in the cloud, or as a hosted service.  When choosing a deployment for voice and video services, think about the whole collaboration experience. Ask how it is going to work for your users, partners and customers.  For example; if being able to deliver market leading customer experiences is a priority or competitive differentiation in your industry, consider having an integrated Customer Services or CRM service within the solution. This will help ensure that Customer Collaboration becomes an ‘Enterprise Service’. Equally, being able to integrate IM and Presence capabilities helps to ensure a consistent user experience that will aid adoption and effective use.   And this is the key -- integration and bringing services together.

There are an increasing number of organizations that have made the move to a hosted cloud service.  While this can be a good option to meet your organizations needs, there is an important consideration that is often overlooked. Consider how services are extended to mobile devices across multiple locations or embedded into business applications (like CRM or Sales Automation).  Making your cloud services decision with this in mind will help you realize the greatest cloud benefits by ensuring that features are made available to anyone, anywhere, on any device and through any workload; at an Enterprise Grade.  A Cisco Powered cloud service encompasses all these, and more.  Take a look at what is on offer.

Finally, you want to be confident with the quality of the service.  Hear from Rob Lloyd, Cisco’s President of Development and Sales, as he describes how to identify a cloud provider that meet your expectations and unlock the value of cloud – with confidence.

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