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Cisco News & Analysis

Cisco Launches Knowledge Sharing and Learning Platform

Roughly one month after the release of Oracle’s Learning Cloud, Cisco has come out with its own news around what it calls “creating perpetual learning environments.”

With today’s release of CiscoŽ Collaborative Knowledge — a knowledge sharing and learning platform —  Cisco executives say they can help build smarter, faster, more agile workforces.

“The workforce is becoming more fluid, mobile, distributed and multi-generational,” Kathy Bries, Senior Director and General Manager for Learning@Cisco told CMSWire. “In order to foster a culture of learning, you need to make all knowledge accessible to everyone.”

Unify Wants You to Call Customers with Your Browsers

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A new round of competition has ignited a field that many considered all but dead just last year.

Microsoft’s extension of Skype communications into the enterprise, replacing the Lync brand, and Cisco’s formal unveiling of Spark put unified communications (UC) back in the spotlight.

Unify — the former Siemens Enterprise Communications — scrambled this week to get attention, too. It reaffirmed its commitment to building a business communications and collaboration platform that needs only web browsers. By adding features to its collaboration platform called Circuit, it hopes it attain at least the perception of parity in this crowded field.

Q1/Q2 Planning: Top Marketing Technology, Social Business Conferences & Events (18-Mar-15)

Our industry event planner gives you the heads-up on what key industry events are coming around the corner. If we've missed something, don't hesitate to add your event to the list. (You can also view the full calendar here.)

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Cisco to Salesforce: Can You Handle Our New CRM Solution?

In the clearest sign to date about the blurry line between a communications service provider and a customer service software firm, Cisco today announced a sweeping reform of its Unified Contact Center Enterprise (UCCE) product.  

The company, better known for its network switches and routers, is repositioning UCCE from a call center management service to a customer relationship management platform. 

Beginning in June, Cisco will offer what it plans to call a Context Service.  It’s a cloud-based platform for enterprises to share sales-related data.

Cisco Rebrands 'Squared,' Wants to Spark Your Collaborative Energies

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Is the principal tool you use for inter-office communication still Microsoft Outlook? A number of companies, including Microsoft, IBM, Unify (formerly part of Siemens), Google, and Salesforce all have a stake in replacing it with a service that connects you with your colleagues using live text and videoconferencing.

Cisco is also among this group — and arguably has the most to gain. It made significant investments in networking infrastructure gear and videoconferencing appliances. It's also the parent company of meeting facilitator service WebEx.

So the company’s announcement today that it is not converging its business communications platforms into one, at least for now, is perplexing.

Say What? Cisco, Microsoft Want to Help Your Cloud Talk to Customers

Cisco is expanding its long-standing relationship with Microsoft. It's a new effort to automate hybrid cloud service provisioning for service providers. 

Normally, when we say “service providers” and we don’t mean cloud providers like Amazon, we mean communications providers like Verizon. But in this case, we mean both.

We’re also referring to any business that sells computing capability, storage capacity and software services to its customers. 

If your business provides a service for your customers to, say, contact your support agents directly and share their troubles with products or other services, then by definition, you’re a service provider.

Congratulations: You, Verizon, Netflix and Amazon are in the same boat.

What You've Been Missing: A Standard for Enterprise Apps

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If you’ve ever tried to set up Box, Workday, Oracle, SAP or one of many other Enterprise apps on an Enterprise Mobility Managed (EMM) device, you know it’s not fun.

In fact, chances are good you’ve downloaded a handful of apps you’ve never used — just because you couldn’t properly configure them.

“Public apps often get stuck on the device,” said Kabir Barday, lead product manager, application development at AirWatch by VMware.

Would-be users frequently become frustrated entering user names, passwords, server URLs and ports. Sometimes it’s cumbersome. Other times, they don’t have easy access to the required information.

The result? Error messages like “App can’t be displayed." But that’s not the biggest difficulty. The real problem is the loss of productivity.

Discussion Point: Are Trade Shows Worth the Cost?

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They're crowded, noisy, informative, exhausting and sometimes fun and profitable. But trade shows are also very expensive at a time CMOs need to show a strong return on investment (ROI) on every marketing dollar.

Once they were the place where vendors launched their latest products and business managers came to write big checks.

Today, most product launches take place outside of trade shows, digital marketing drives year-round conversions and marketers buy qualified leads as a commodity.

What Customers Want from Contact Centers - and How to Deliver It

When speaking with a customer service agent on the phone, most customers want swift, accurate answers and a human experience. These are the findings of a new online survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of NICE.

According to the poll, 59 percent of respondents say they most value having issues resolved efficiently and correctly when contacting a company via phone. The poll also uncovered that 23 percent of customers would rather have a real conversation with a person rather than listening to an agent reciting a script.

Surprisingly, being put on hold and waiting to transfer to another representative were of significantly less importance, with 6 percent citing hold time as most important, and 3 percent citing transfers – as long as the customer received a quick, correct answer to their problem.

In short, the survey reveals that what customers really want from your contact center is excellent customer service – and they want it fast.

Could Russia Be Starting a Software/Hardware Cold War?

Russia is considering giving preference to its own hardware and software organizations in a current legislative bill, reducing its reliance on foreign suppliers, Bloomberg reported today

Does this mean a major hit for companies that do business in the country -- such as IBM, Microsoft, HP, Cisco and Oracle? 

Not really.

"In this day and age, every customer is valuable," said Alan Tonelson, an independent policy analyst who blogs at RealityChek. "But total Russia losses seem easily absorbable."

Here are the IoT Top 10 Movers and Shakers

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Earlier in the week we identified the most influential companies working on the Internet of Things (IoT).

Using the same research from the marketing influence platform provider Appinions, let’s take a look at the top ten movers and shakers. Just like the list of top 10 companies, this also holds some surprises — not least of which is the influence of two of the top dogs from HP and BlackBerry.

Can You Name the Top 10 IoT Companies?

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The companies that are leading the Internet of Things (IoT) — now and in the future — are beginning to make themselves known. Appinions, in a recently published report, identified the most influential companies and what is driving them.

It probably comes as no surprise that Apple is at the top of the list, followed by Nest and Google. But there are a number of less expected companies in the mix, including — wait for it — BlackBerry.

Personify Explores a New Dimension in Collaboration

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Think about the worst part of the last online webinar you attended. Was it all those faceless slides?  Thought so.

And so did Sanjay Patel, CEO of Personify. Since 2009, he's been working on a way to enhance collaborative communications like webinars, chats and hangouts by adding depth-sensing, 3D cameras.

For most people, the mere mention of 3D conjures up visions of space monsters reaching out for them in a darkened movie theater. That's not what we're talking about here.

Take that, Cisco: Microsoft is Tops in Enterprise Collaboration

social business, Numbers Proof: Microsoft Beats Cisco in Enterprise Collaboration

Maybe it hasn't reached Red Sox-Tampa Bay Rays level. But Cisco and Microsoft are certainly watching each other in the enterprise collaboration space.

Last month, Cisco told us it was gunning for Microsoft with its Jive integration.

Microsoft then defended its own suite.

Nothing like numbers to clear up the argument -- for now, anyway.

Microsoft has finally caught up with Cisco and generated more revenue from its enterprise collaboration infrastructure activities in the first quarter, according to new data from Synergy Research Group.

Cisco CMO Reveals Her Pain Points

2014 May 20 Blair Christie Cisco 320 centr tm.jpgAbout 15 years ago, Blair Christie made one of those life-changing decisions. She gave up her notion of seeking her fortune on Wall Street to become the investor relations director for Cisco, helping to guide Wall Street's expectations for the networking powerhouse.

This week, amid the hullabaloo of the sprawling Cisco Live conference -- it takes up all three halls in San Francisco's Moscone Center plus an adjacent high-rise hotel -- Christie said she's oh-so glad she found the way to San Jose, where she now serves Cisco as chief marketing officer.

Stepping aside from the hoopla from the conference, she shared an inside look at her marketing strategies with CMSWire. We were particularly interested in which tools the mammoth B2B tech vendor uses to market itself globally, but also asked her about her mobile and social strategies, and about her biggest "pain points" as a CMO. 

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