Cisco Continues to Help Customers Transform Their Business

Cisco Continues to Help Customers Transform Their Business

By Blair Pleasant November 28, 2011 1 Comments
Blair Pleasant
Cisco Continues to Help Customers Transform Their Business by Blair Pleasant

At the annual Cisco Collaboration Summit in beautiful Miami Beach, analysts and consultants got to hear about several new product announcements, hear from Cisco customers about their implementations, and see some cool demos. For me, the best part was talking to two of my favorite people, Vishakha Radia and Bryan Tantzen, about Cisco and business transformation.

Several years ago I wrote about Cisco’s Customer Business Transformation Group (CBTG), which works with customers to help them understand how they can transform their businesses using Cisco technology (at the time it was UC, today it’s about collaboration technologies). By understanding and analyzing customers’ communication and collaboration pain points, the group helps customers identify how they can transform their business, based on their business goals and various user roles. At the recent Collaboration Summit, I got an update about the CBTG and how they’re developing a number of use cases and proof points about how real customers are experiencing real benefits using Cisco collaboration solutions, while transforming their businesses in a variety of ways.

While the focus of the group initially was about using unified communications (UC) to transform business, today it’s about using collaboration, which in Cisco’s definition includes UC, as well as tools such as Cisco Cius and Quad. As Vishakha explains in this podcast, the CBT team works with customers to identify use cases by looking at the customer’s communication and collaboration problem, and then identifies the solutions that can solve these problems, as well as their business value - whether it’s cost reduction, enhanced worker productivity, or changing their customers’ experiences. The CBT group found that the transformational benefits of collaboration can deliver 10-15 times the value, and that customers can achieve significantly more benefit if they focus not just on cost reduction, but on the impact to the business.

These use cases are utilized in several ways, including helping the Cisco sales people position and put together appropriate bundles for customers, and they also become the foundation strategy plan for organizations to implement collaboration solutions. Vishakha and Bryan noted that they have 40 validated use cases for the Cius, based on real-world customer examples, as well as about 20 use cases for Cisco Quad.

The primary use cases for Cius fall into the areas of education, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, high tech, energy, and retail, with subsegments in each category. For example, in the retail category, there are use cases for customer service, merchandising, operations, retail workforce communications, and sales. Cius use cases include horizontal examples such as virtual expert, field service, and field sales (e.g.; using Cius to enable sales people in the field to find and connect with the appropriate virtual experts to accelerate the sales process), as well as specific vertical examples, such as patient care and insurance claims.

The following are a couple examples, based on actual Cisco customers and their experiences. As mentioned, there are over 40 use cases for Cius, so this is just a small sample.

  • Insurance: Mobile collaboration between insurance agents and remote claims adjustors using Cius, as well as UC, screen sharing, and expertise location technologies, can help speed insurance claims resolution. Cisco’s customer found that whenever there is a major natural catastrophe, they experienced a major spike in the claims, which overloaded their phone system and created scalability and logistical problems. By using Cius and other collaboration technologies, the agent who arrives on the site of the damaged property can pull up information online and interact via video with the claims adjustor who can assess the damages remotely. They can call up policy systems to assess coverage provisions and decide what provisions can be made to resolve issues resulting from the damage. By accessing the remote expertise much faster by using Cius and its video capabilities, the agent can improve the customer experience, reduce the time it takes to settle and resolve a claim, and improve customer retention.

  • Higher education: When working on team projects, students found that 10-20% of class time was wasted trying to schedule and coordinate after-class project meetings. To help students working on team projects remotely, Quad and Cius are used to provide a mobile and virtual team space where the students can see each other’s presence status and connect with each other when needed, and can collaborate face-to-face regardless of where they’re located. Multi-point video collaboration on Cius or other mobile devices lets the student share and create documents in real time. Group IM helps them more efficiently reach teammates and coordinate meetings, and their project discussions on Quad are captured and stored so that they can be accessed when needed. The university providing this use case found that the travel time to after-class meetings for the team projects was reduced by 50%, saving $93 per student per meeting and improving meeting participation by 22%.

  • Other education examples include: using video to provide a virtual learning experience during campus closures due to severe weather or pandemics; using Cisco Cius to replace students’ heavy backpacks filled with books and printed materials that cost schools millions of dollars each year; connecting with teachers and classmates using presence and group chat after class to solve problems and get answers to questions and engage in group video chat for group assignments; and using Cisco Cius to record classes as well as images of written notes that can be viewed by students who miss a class.

Whether it’s increasing real-time access to business intelligence, or providing anywhere access to key call center performance metrics, the results of these use cases have commonalities that can be attained in almost any vertical. The common thread of increasing mobile collaboration, accessing expertise when needed, enhancing mobility, enabling remote workers to feel more connected, and improving general productivity, all result in increased revenues and improved customer satisfaction.

I’m pleased to see Cisco’s emphasis on use cases that demonstrate not only the benefits of collaboration (and UC), but also help organizations understand how they can use these technologies to help them meet their goals. Technology for technology’s sake is irrelevant – it’s all about how best to use the technologies to meet business goals. Cisco’s CBT group clearly gets this, and continues to work with its customers to identify the business cases, and to help others get the “aha” moment and see how these technologies can be used in various parts of their organizations.

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1 Responses to "Cisco Continues to Help Customers Transform Their Business" - Add Yours

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Kevin Kieller 11/30/2011 5:42:28 PM

Blair, as many of your posts start by describing the beautiful setting for the Cisco Collaboration Summit in Miami, you make all of us who could not attend very jealous :-)

Thank you for an update on Cisco's CBTG group. I truly believe the focus on business requirements / use cases ahead of technology is what can deliver truly impressive results.

I'm certainly aligned with Cisco's emphasis on collaboration over UC, as I have always suggested that improved collaboration is the desired outcome and that often (but not always) unified communications is a mechanism to drive the improved collaboration results.

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