28 Jan 2011
Recently, Ovum attended Cisco’s Collaboration Analyst Conference in Singapore and saw the evolution of its collaboration strategy on multiple fronts.
Examples of UC features deployed in business-to-consumer (B2C) environments highlight a new dimension of possibilities for enterprises in delivering customer service, and may rebalance the way they distribute their workforce.
Mobility was finally considered as part of its core strategy, but a lack of carrier-based mobile solutions may prevent Cisco from delivering its mobility vision via carrier networks.
Cisco’s new Integrated Workforce Experience combines the company’s acquired social network, Quad, with other UC functionalities through a single user interface that provides users with all the collaboration tools they need to perform their tasks in a simple and efficient way.
However, it still doesn’t address the major barriers for UC adoption in the business-to-business (B2B) environment. CIOs have to justify their investments, and building business cases for UC based on cost savings continues to be difficult, with few enterprises able to quantify the business benefits that these tools can bring. Furthermore, the adoption of collaboration applications still requires behavioral change, which is normally the hardest part of the implementation process.
On the other hand, B2C collaboration can represent a much greener field. Investing in serving customers is normally better perceived by enterprises and more likely to gain a CEO’s support. In addition, while few companies train staff to collaborate more effectively with internal peers, training is almost always a significant activity for any customer service team.
Ovum was impressed with the real world examples of UC functionalities presented by Cisco, all of which illustrated the ways that enterprises can serve their customers remotely. Some of the deployments that most impressed us were: a WebEx customized solution that allows customers to virtually interact with a financial institution about their services; a remote clinic where doctors can use HD video and connected instruments, such as stethoscopes, to remotely diagnose patients; and a college that delivers remote lectures.