Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
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Zeus Kerravala | February 17, 2016 |


Cisco Helps Enterprises Go Digital for Workspace Productivity

Cisco Helps Enterprises Go Digital for Workspace Productivity Think of Cisco Workspace Productivity as the company’s version of “Extreme Makeover” for physical spaces.

Think of Cisco Workspace Productivity as the company’s version of “Extreme Makeover” for physical spaces.

This week Cisco kicked off the EMEA version of the company's user conference, Cisco Live, in Berlin, Germany. The city of Berlin is a fitting location for the event since Germany has been one of the most resolute nations with respect to having a country-wide digital initiative.

Aligning the workforce to take advantage of digital trends is one of the common challenges many organizations face. There has been tremendous innovation in the area of collaboration tools to enable someone to communicate with anyone at any time. Web conferencing tools have gotten better, the quality and ease of use of video platforms has never been better, and workstream communication and collaboration tools have created an entirely new way to engage with coworkers. We finally have the tools we need to take advantage of digital trends.

However, the one area that's still lacking is the evolution of the physical meeting space. I've written a few posts on this, and my thesis has been that organizations must find a way to use physical space better to compliment new collaboration tools.

At the event, Cisco announced a number of digital solutions, which are packaged offerings to help customers evolve into digital organizations. There is a need for solutions like this; natively digital organizations are creating upheaval in their markets at a speed never seen before in business, so IT and business leaders need to have a plan in place now.

One of the solutions that Cisco unveiled is called "Workspace Productivity," which is designed to digitize the experience of the workforce by transforming the workplace. The evolution of the workspace is a core component of maintaining a competitive edge. Most businesses today have very inefficient workspaces that look like something out of the movie "Office Space." I suppose if you're working on TPS reports, the closed-off cubetopia is fine, but if the goal of the workplace is to facilitate a more agile and connected workforce a change is needed.

Evolving the workplace, businesses need to consider the following:

  • Adapting to evolving work patterns -- Most businesses today have a quad-generational workforce (Baby boomers, Gen-X, Gen-Y and Millennials). Each generation has its own unique style of working. Younger workers tend to like to work around people so cubes aren't ideal. If they need quiet, they put ear buds in, whereas older workers prefer to go to some kind of private area. The workspace must be adaptable to each of these styles of work.
  • Increasing employee engagement -- A few years ago I did some research on the impact of disengaged employees and determined this was the true "silent killer" for companies. A disengaged employee is unproductive, has a poor attitude and can impact the productivity of engaged employees. An energetic, modern workplace can help employees connect with others and be more engaged.
  • Lowering facilities costs -- There isn't a business leader today who isn't concerned about lowering costs. Real estate is typically one of the highest operating expense items for most businesses. According to Colliers International, companies spend about $1,000 per employee per year on office space and facilities, yet most workspaces are about 50% utilized. Using the space more efficiently can help significantly cut facilities costs.

The Cisco Workspace Productivity business offer is a set of validated workspace templates, technologies and services that businesses can use to accelerate the journey to implementing a modern, collaborative workspace. The workspaces have been designed to optimize worker productivity and collaboration, whether the worker is in the office or at home. Think of Workspace Productivity as Cisco's version of "Extreme Makeover" for physical spaces.

The validated designs obviate the need for companies to acquire, integrate, and then support disparate, standalone room technologies and instead provides easy-to-deploy and easy-to-use, fully integrated technology.

The solution is comprised of a combination of Cisco hardware, software, and services to build out a wide range of meeting spaces ranging from individual spaces all the way up to large immersive rooms (see below graphic). The core of every workspace is Cisco security and collaboration technology to enable secure, multi-party video services. Customers can then choose additional modules based on the specific needs of the person, work group, or organization.


For the deploying organization, Workspace Productivity delivers a number of benefits. The first and most substantial advantage is that meetings will become more video-centric, making them more efficient, and that will speed up decision making. Everyone has experienced meetings with poor or non-integrated technology. It seems more time is spent managing the technology than actually having the meeting. I've always believed that poor quality meeting technology actually makes people less productive than not having any technology at all.

Another benefit is reduced travel and real estate costs. It seems that collaboration technology has changed this value proposition for years but things don't change. People still travel and don't use the meeting technology. Why? Because the experience is poor, or fair at best. A turnkey, integrated solution that actually works enables organizations to think strategically about how to use their meeting space and cut travel costs.

Every business will take a different approach to transforming the workplace. Cisco's Workspace Productivity offer delivers a validated, integrated solution and combines it with Cisco services to ensure the meeting space is the right one for the business instead of being yet another collaboration room that no one uses.

Zeus Kerravala will speak on everything from Cloud, to IoT and SD-WAN at Enterprise Connect, taking place March 7 - 10 at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, Fla. And hear more directly from Cisco when Collaboration SVP and GM Rowan Trollope takes the stage for a keynote address.

Register here by Friday, Feb. 19, using the code NJPOST and save an additional $200 off the early bird rate. This discount code, which is valid for Entire Event and Tue-Thu Conference passes, represents a total savings of $700 off the on-site price. As an added bonus, you can get even bigger savings when you register three or more attendees from your company.

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Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
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