A Delightful Experience in Boca
There were lots of new faces at the Cisco Collaboration Summit in Boca Raton, mixed in with a few familiar ones. Channel partners, analysts, and consultants had the opportunity to meet the new executive team and to hear about Cisco’s strategy in the collaboration space. The general attendee consensus is that Rowan Trollope got two thumbs up as the new SVP/GM Collaboration, as did the rest of the executive team, including John Hernandez (who we all know and love), Snorre Kjesbu, Jens Meggers, Jonathan Rosenberg, Steve Slattery, and Thomas Wyatt.
With fresh people come fresh ideas, as well as a new focus – making collaboration simple to use, deploy, and buy, while reducing cost and extending the value of existing investments. During his keynote, Trollope discussed the need to take Cisco’s great technologies and make them easier to use. His three-word strategy is to “make collaboration simple.” One of Trollope’s passions is the user experience, and we heard throughout the summit that Cisco is focusing on providing a “delightful” user experience. The term “delightful” was used frequently, and I even tweeted and joked about playing a drinking game whenever we heard the word delightful. Cisco is focusing on providing an intuitive user experience that will help grow adoption of the products and technologies. While Cisco is not unique in this area and we’ve heard similar things from other vendors (e.g.; Unify’s joy of use), it’s still nice to hear that Cisco recognizes the importance of the user experience and is working to delight customers.
In addition to delightful experiences, Trollope and his team told the audience that Cisco customers and partners can expect:
- Mobile-first innovation (innovating on mobile devices);
- Fusing cloud and premise applications and products; and
- Reducing complexity and cost. One proof point is the reduction of a contact center install from three weeks to 30 minutes. Trollope noted, “You can set up a Cisco contact center in the same amount of time as setting up an iPhone.”
Of course there were several new product announcements, including:
- Collaboration Systems Release 10 (CSR 10), converging voice, video, and content sharing across devices “to provide the best possible user experience whether you choose an on-premise, cloud, or fused model.”
- Cisco Prime Collaboration – a unified, single console for managing Cisco collaboration products.
- Cisco Expressway – a gateway that secures real-time collaboration, without requiring a VPN, device registration, account setup or passwords.
- Cisco Jabber Guest – a solution that utilizes Expressway's security functionality to give "guest access" to customers and others outside a company. Users can simply click on a button on a website to communicate with employees via high-definition voice and video via a web browser or mobile device. Jabber Guest is based on WebRTC APIs, but will use a plug-in until WebRTC is standardized and supported on more browsers. It provides instant access to a remote expert on chat, voice, or video via a web browser on your desktop or mobile device.
- The next generation of Cisco TelePresence MX300, as well as new endpoint devices.
Wrapping up the conference, Marthin De Beer, SVP & GM, VCG, noted that “We’re at a turning point and the next 15 years will be even more exciting, driven by cloud and mobile. The cloud connected with mobile devices will be a game changer.” He added, “Cisco is very good at managing through market transitions and we invest heavily to capture these market transactions. Now we have to pay attention to business model transitions.” This will require channel partners to talk about business process transformation, and to bring in new skills and expertise to have these types of discussions with customers.
What impressed me the most was the openness of Trollope and his team. He acknowledged that many of Cisco’s products are too complicated to use, too hard to buy, and that they don’t always work well together. Cisco is working hard to simplify its products and pricing, and to make it easier not just for companies to purchase and deploy the solutions, but for end users to adopt and use these tools to help them in their day-to-day jobs.
Also on UCStrategies.com on this topic: