Cisco Spark: Collaboration and the Future of Work

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Today’s workforce and the modern workplace are changing rapidly. Over 30% of the North American workforce is made up of freelancers.  And over half of all jobs are compatible with staff working from home or remotely at least part of the time.  People are working from wherever, whenever, on a myriad of devices.  Today’s organizations need to adopt better tools to empower collaboration and deliver better, faster access to information and answers to our questions.  Your customers are demanding it.  Tomorrow’s younger, digital natives coming into the workplace are demanding it too. That’s where unified communications solutions come in – and our partners at Cisco Spark are leading the charge in that space.

Did you know that the average worker burns around 30% of their time looking for the right information (or the right person) to get their work done? Think about it, we spend so much time looking for answers (ie. for files on the company network) and waiting for others to respond to requests. Most professionals know that email is far from the most efficient means to communicate and collaborate. Long clumsy email threads make it hard to keep track of conversations.  What is more, studies show that the phone isn’t so great anymore either. Up to 75% of all B2B business phone calls go to voicemail.  If you talk to any sales professional, they’ll corroborate that stat in a heartbeat … It’s hard to get hold of business people over the phone.  We are rarely at our desks, and always on the go.

More and more organizations are looking to unified communications solutions to empower today’s mobile workforce. Not just for better employee engagement, but better customer engagement as well.

Cisco’s new cloud based unified communications platform Spark is a game changer.  Rather than asking clients to make huge capital investments in on-prem hardware and backend systems to support video conferencing, VoIP, and instant messaging- the new Cisco Spark platform is leveraging Cisco’s cloud to power these systems.  Which means that now these enterprise-grade tools are available to smaller companies on a subscription basis like other cloud services.

With Cisco Spark you also get digital collaboration spaces like you find with products like Slack, or Basecamp, or Microsoft’s Yammer.  You can create basic file sharing for groups, with your customers and across your organization.  You can create teams and working groups that give you one-touch immediate team conference calling and screen sharing sessions – for up to 25 people at a time.  There is also plenty of great integration with the other tools we already use – like plugins for Microsoft Exchange/Outlook so you can schedule video calls, web conferences and more with one click.

What is more, with the recent Cisco and Apple partnership announced by Apple CEO Tim Cook, there is also native integration with iOS for seamless performance of the unified communications tools using the iOS features like the iPhone dialer etc…  And more cool features like this are getting released soon.

If your organization is struggling with antiquated phone systems, clumsy web conferencing and a growing mobile workforce, let’s book a visit to the Cisco Innovation Centre or the IT Weapons office for a demo of these tools.  Now is the time to drive better collaboration and digital engagement with your team and with your customers.

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