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Unified Communications: Unlock the Full Potential of Collaboration


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Collaboration is fundamental to building a more engaged, efficient organization. Employees and students want to work or study from anywhere—home, the library, their dorm room, or wherever they may be. But they still need to remain engaged with their peers, managers, and teachers and have the ability to access the tools and information required to do their work. Cisco's Unified Communications Manager can help to provide a more innovative group that can communicate effectively, make decisions quickly, and build a lasting advantage for everyone involved.

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Unified Communications: Unlock the Full Potential of Collaboration

  1. 1. White PaperCisco Unified Communications ManagerVersion 9.1: Unlock the Full Potential ofCollaborationIntroduction: A More Collaborative Environment within Government and EducationIn a challenging economy, public sector organizations are under more pressure than ever to improve employeeproductivity, drive efficiencies, keep pace with technology, boost ROI, and forge closer relationships betweenemployees, constituents, students, and the community at large.Costs are always a concern, and these organizations are constantly exploring better ways to apply technology tokeep their budgets in line while enabling employees to accomplish more with fewer resources. At the same time,there is a strong need to accelerate decision making, increase agility, and encourage innovation.These challenges are emerging in both education and government, with workers and students becoming moremobile and geographically dispersed. Employees and students want to work or study from anywhere—home, thelibrary, their dorm room, or wherever they find themselves. But they still need to remain fully engaged with theirpeers, managers, and teachers and have the ability to access the tools and information they need.End-user expectations are changing as well. People expect informed, responsive service and a superiorexperience every time they interact—either in person, online, or on the phone. Maintaining a high level of end-usersatisfaction is an ongoing challenge but also an opportunity. To meet these needs, government and educationinstitutions of all sizes are embracing collaboration. A collaborative environment brings organizations closertogether by empowering people to work and learn their way—anywhere, at any time, using the device or methodthat is right for them. It can help employees, students, and faculty feel more connected and engaged throughfrequent communication that keeps them involved and aligned with priorities, assignments, and the culture of theorganization or institution.The result is a more agile, innovative group that can communicate more effectively, make decisions quickly, andbuild a lasting advantage for everyone concerned.Achieving Measurable BenefitsCollaboration is fundamental to building a more engaged, efficient organization. With a collaborative environment,institutions can tap the full knowledge and expertise of their people by instantly bringing them together regardlessof their location. This results in substantial benefits such as increased productivity and a reduction in operatingcosts through travel reduction, consolidation, and operational efficiency that extends across the entire organization.In a recent survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, 75 percent of business leaders surveyed believed that in-person collaboration is critical to an organization’s success (Figure 1), and it has the potential to increaseproductivity by more than 20 percent (refer to “Power of In-Person”, Economist Intelligence Unit).© 2013 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 1 of 8
  2. 2. Figure 1. In-Person Communication Is Critical to an Organization’s SuccessConnecting the Workforce and Student Body to Enhance ProductivityCollaboration helps organizations boost productivity by using the power of the intelligent network to bring peopleand information together more efficiently, shortening decision and learning cycles, and streamliningcommunication. The solution is ideal for today’s increasingly mobile society, enabling workers and students to stayproductive and accessible on a smartphone, laptop, or tablet, whether they are working in a home office, a hotellobby, an airport waiting area, or studying in a dorm room, laundry room, or library.In a geographically dispersed organization, network collaboration makes it easy to quickly assemble virtual teamsfor rich, high-definition videoconferencing or web collaboration—from different offices, classrooms, or sites halfwayaround the world. By working face to face and beyond boundaries, employees and students can streamlineworkflows, promote development, and bring new programs to completion more quickly.A collaborative environment can also engage employees and students better by giving them better access to theresources and information they need, as well as more flexible work and learning environments. Studies haveshown that a highly engaged workforce will be not only more productive, but also more loyal and satisfied.According to research firm BlessingWhite, engaged employees tend to stay employed at their place of workbecause of what they give to an organization, whereas disengaged employees stay because of what they receivefrom the organization (“2013 Employee Engagement Report”, BlessingWhite).Effective collaboration extends beyond individuals and teams to produce a compounding effect that is acceleratedby improved participation across the organization, for a dramatic ROI.Empowering Groups to Spur InnovationCollaboration also has the potential to foster new levels of innovation. The boundaries of traditional governmentand educational organizations are expanding by increasing work with consultants, partners, suppliers, and evenbusiness entities to spark new ideas and bring new perspectives to projects. According to a recent study by IBM,53 percent of CEOs in outperforming organizations partner exclusively for collaborative innovation (IBM 2012Global CEO Study).As public sector organizations move toward more collaborative relationships with external people and groups, theintelligent network can help them break down the barriers of time and location, and build more strategically-aligned© 2013 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 2 of 3
  3. 3. organizations with the most knowledgeable, experienced people available. These nimble workgroups canaccelerate the development of new ideas to drive efficiency, increase productivity and process improvements, andenhance student and citizen services.Collaboration can also provide more flexible, innovative work options for employees, making them moreempowered and engaged. For example, as consumer technologies become more advanced, more employees arechoosing to bring their own tablets, smartphones, and other devices to work. The Cisco Connected WorldTechnology Report found that 32 percent of employees rely on more than one mobile data device during a typicalworkday.By supporting these Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) initiatives with a secure, collaborative solution, public sectorinstitutions can free employees and students to work or learn their own way, from any location, and set the stagefor innovation that creates sustainable opportunities.Balancing Mission and Operational ConcernsAlthough the benefits of collaboration are compelling, to be truly effective, a collaboration solution must not onlyaddress strategic mission objectives, but also meet an organization’s IT requirements.To support an organization’s strategic goals, IT organizations need to be responsive to specific department or end-user needs, such as enabling specific applications or device platforms, while ensuring compliance, control,security, and interoperability. As consumer technology develops and people become more sophisticated, end usersare taking a more active role in promoting IT priorities and demanding support for BYOD environments, instantmessaging (IM), videoconferencing, and other collaborative initiatives.Reducing TCO is also an important consideration for deploying a technology solution. A collaborative environmentcan help organizations improve data center efficiency by centralizing their operations on a single, convergednetwork. It can also support new business models such as cloud and virtualization, enabling organizations toenhance their flexibility and agility while shifting costs to a more predictable, service-based approach. A converged,collaborative network can also promote phone and toll savings through Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunkingand more efficient session management.Balancing priorities and IT’s operational concerns requires a holistic approach to collaboration, with a commonarchitecture enabled by a single, comprehensive platform. The solution must deliver a rich, consistent experiencefor users, regardless of type of device or service they are using. At the same time, it must be efficient and simple todeploy and manage, supporting not just current mission needs, but future priorities as well.Unlocking the Full Potential of Cisco CollaborationCisco offers a complete portfolio of applications, solutions, and services that enable organizations to bring peopletogether for smooth, secure collaboration (Figure 2). At the heart of Cisco®Collaboration solutions is an intelligent,converged voice, video, and data network backed by a world-class services and support organization.© 2013 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 3 of 3
  4. 4. Figure 2. A Complete Portfolio for Secure, Transparent CollaborationThe Cisco Collaboration portfolio is built around four key categories:● Unified communications provides users with dependable, consistent communications capabilities nomatter where they are working or learning, with a complete suite of IP communications solutions andendpoints. Cisco Unified Communications provides a common network platform that enables organizationsto manage voice, video, mobility, and presence services between IP phones and other endpoints. It alsoprovides support for media-processing devices, voice-over-IP (VoIP) gateways, mobile devices, andmultimedia applications.● End-User collaboration lets organizations build the foundation to deliver a content-rich, user-centricexperience that is key to strengthening satisfaction, building loyalty, and fostering growth. A rich array ofcustomer care products enable groups to move beyond traditional call and support centers to engage moreproactively with end users. Cisco customer Collaboration products help connect people with the information,expertise, and support they need—when and where they need it most.● Cisco TelePresence®solutions enable organizations to support live, face-to-face communication with rich,high-definition (HD) video. Individual and multipoint meetings and lectures help scale knowledge, enhancetraining and education, extend expertise anywhere on demand, and provide a better work-life balance andlearn-your-way experience.● Collaboration applications provide a rich, contextual, interactive environment that focuses on peopleinstead of individual applications or devices. Cisco Collaboration applications help organizations stayconnected and productive with voice, video, web conferencing, messaging, mobile applications, andenterprise social software. Together, they enable people to stay productive anywhere, accelerateinnovation, and improve decision making.Anchored by a Transparent Approach to CollaborationCisco Unified Communications Manager Version 9.1 is the foundation that enables all of these collaborationexperiences, delivering the right collaboration experience to the right endpoint (Figure 3). Cisco UnifiedCommunications Manager Version 9.1 provides session and call control for video, voice, messaging, mobility, IM,and presence.© 2013 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 4 of 3
  5. 5. Figure 3. Cisco Unified Communications Manager: A Foundation for CollaborationThe latest release of this unified communications call-control platform lets organizations unleash the full potential ofcollaboration today and sets the stage for new services and applications as mission goals evolve.Bringing Together People and Processes for ProductivityCisco Unified Communications Manager lets public sector organizations dramatically improve productivity withcomprehensive unified communications that help workers and students communicate, work, and learn moreeffectively. It integrates smoothly with existing processes and applications, and is designed to transparentlyconnect people using the device or medium they prefer.With Cisco Collaboration solutions, people can communicate naturally using the web, voice, video, or IM sessions.And they can smoothly migrate from one method to another, regardless of how and where they are working.Figure 4. Collaboration—From a One-To-One IM to a Five-Person VideoconferenceFor example, an employee could send an IM to a colleague in another office to ask if she has a moment for a shortconference. If additional people are needed to resolve a problem, their short chat could escalate into an impromptufive-person videoconference or a Cisco WebEx®session—bringing in experts from multiple sites. Cisco Unified© 2013 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 5 of 3
  6. 6. Communications Manager is the enabling platform that lets organizations assemble effective virtual teams fromany location.Here are more examples of how public sector organizations used collaboration to improve communication andlower costs:• The National Institutes of Health (NIH) connected doctors and researchers using video, voice, andcollaboration tools to expedite the review of medical data and make collaborative decisions quickly, withoutthe need for travel. Citizen engagement improved with faster response times and access to expertise nototherwise available. These solutions have also helped improve employee morale and satisfaction.• The University of Virginia (UVA) and James Madison University (JMU) used Cisco TelePresence tooffer an expanded national security curriculum to students who would not have otherwise been able to takethe class. Students from JMU participated in lectures remotely and interacted with the teacher and otherstudents as if they were in the same room, when they were at a campus two hours from UVA.• North Carolina Army National Guard significantly reduced the operating costs of their voice platform byupgrading to a VoIP solution from Centrex. Management of the network was simplified, and costs formoves, additions, and changes were virtually eliminated, freeing up IT staff to work on other, more criticalprojects.Innovation Through AccessCisco Collaboration solutions enable organizations to become more agile and innovative by extending securecommunications beyond traditional boundaries to external groups, partners, consultants, and the community. WithCisco Unified Communications Manager Version 9.1, collaborative organizations can employ best-in-class voiceand videoconferencing to bring their students, faculty, and employees and their expertise—closer to colleaguesand other institutions. For example:• Wake Forest University implemented a university-wide collaboration infrastructure using Cisco JabberVideo™ and Cisco WebEx to extend learning to wherever students and teachers were located, maximizinginteraction and transforming learning by integrating mobility into daily campus life.• The Technical Colleges of Georgia upgraded to VoIP from Centrex to reduce monthly expenses by about80 percent while moving beyond dial tone to include voice, videoconferencing, multi-party voiceconferencing, unified messaging, presence, and fax services.• The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) implemented a formalized telework programby leveraging the Cisco Collaboration portfolio. USPTO has realized significant savings in real estateoverhead ($24 million/year) by managing the need for dedicated office space through teleworking.• Anoka-Hennepin School District needed to facilitate better communication between teachers andadministrators, while improving educational experience throughout the district. Cisco WebEx onlinemeeting applications enabled greater educational opportunities for students through video conferencingand improved teaching methods.Manageable and InteroperableCisco Unified Communications Manager Version 9.1 was designed to enable organizations to realize the richbenefits of network collaboration—without compromising IT priorities. The solution offers flexibility to work smoothly© 2013 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 6 of 3
  7. 7. with existing processes, applications, and services, together, with the scalability to grow and evolve as needschange.Cisco Unified Communications Manager Version 9.1 features a simplified, user-centric licensing approach thatenables organizations to easily manage licensing across multiple unified communications clusters and applicationsusing a single tool. Licensing is based on the way people and students work and learn, and the tools they need, tohelp quickly choose the approach that is right for them (Figure 5).Figure 5. Cisco Unified Communications Manager Version 9.1 Features a User-Centric Licensing ApproachTo help organizations deliver a consistent user experience, the current release of Cisco Unified CommunicationsManager also provides Cisco Jabber feature parity, with video support for all network endpoints. To facilitatesmooth connectivity between wired and wireless communication devices, Cisco Unified Communications Manageralso offers fixed mobile convergence using standards-based IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) technology.Cisco Unified Communications Manager is designed for smooth interoperability with other networks, devices, andservices. The solution features expanded video endpoint support, as well as call admission control (CAC) tosupport improved bandwidth and management. It also includes integrated IM and presence, to enableorganizations to deliver a full range of collaboration options under one simple, cost-effective management platform.To enable organizations to get the most from their existing technology, Cisco Unified Communications Manageroffers full investment protection, with support for incremental add-ons, without forcing users and administrators tochange the way they work. Simplified administration makes it easy to support device moves, additions, andchanges, and built-in assisted services, such as one-button recording, to help users save time and work moreproductively.© 2013 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 7 of 3
  8. 8. ConclusionIt is clear that effective collaboration can dramatically transform organizations of all sizes, to encourage improvedproductivity, innovation, and growth. But to take advantage of the promise of collaboration, organizations need toemploy a holistic strategy, looking beyond individual applications and devices to encompass the entire network andthe processes that employees use to collaborate.Cisco employs an architectural approach to collaboration by using the network as the platform for businesstransformation. The Cisco vision for collaboration not only focuses on hardware or software, it also considers bothelements, and how they work together and align with an organizations processes.As a global leader in networking, Cisco offers the most comprehensive, best-in-class collaboration portfolio andflexible delivery model offerings in the market. This rich portfolio is built on open standards to preserve existinginvestments while offering ease of management across their environment. The entire portfolio is backed by robustadvanced services and technical support to enable organizations to get the most value from their technologyinvestment.Cisco industry leadership and advanced technology play a vital role in all Cisco Collaboration solutions. Bydeploying a Cisco solution built around Cisco Unified Communications Manager Version 9.1, organizations takeadvantage of the latest collaboration tools and business models, and create a scalable foundation for newcapabilities in the years to come.For More InformationCollaboration in Government - in Education – in USA CXX-XXXXXX-XX 05/13© 2013 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 8 of 3