Cisco Collaboration Architecture: Enhance Employee Effectiveness for Greater Business Impact

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1 White Paper Cisco Collaboration Architecture: Enhance Employee Effectiveness for Greater Business Impact What You Will Learn The power to bring people together at critical moments can significantly enhance your ability to succeed. Collaboration is central to solving problems, innovating, and making your organization more competitive. In this paper, you will learn how the Cisco Collaboration Architecture enables you to address trends such as mobility, bring-your-own-device, and video, and create a flexible platform for collaboration. The Work Environment Is Changing Work is done differently today than it was just a few years ago. Today, employees are far more mobile, and they prefer to use their own communication and computing devices for work as well as personal use. Organizational teams frequently include members located on multiple campuses, across the country, or around the world. Bringing people together for effective collaboration is more important than ever, and connecting people, devices, and information requires a new approach to implementing collaboration technologies and networking architectures. Mobility Is a Major Trend Smartphones and tablets are invading the workplace. IT managers increasingly prefer to implement smartphones and tablets in the organization rather than laptop computers for many reasons, ranging from convenient form factors and compatibility with important enterprise applications to alignment with future plans. Many employees are familiar with smartphones or tablets and prefer the social interaction and applications that allow them to blog, subscribe to information, and work with colleagues in real time. Visual Communications Are Essential A second trend that organizations face is growing reliance on video and the accompanying network traffic growth. People are accustomed to video content, and they often prefer video as a way to access, learn, and share information. In addition, many employees work with colleagues around the world. The ability to see co-workers and partners in person helps improve team trust, collaboration effectiveness, and business relationships. Flexibility, Courtesy of Cloud With mobility comes the need for anytime, anywhere access to work tools and information. IT managers looking for ways to simplify service delivery are turning to flexible cloud deployments and services. Through the cloud, enterprise resources are easily delivered to a wide range of different devices across multiple environments. Flexible cloud models also make it easier for IT to securely support collaboration outside of the organization. Cloud-based capabilities not only change the way that services are deployed, they also make it possible to deliver many new services that can increase revenue; improve employee satisfaction; accelerate decision making; and improve relationships with customers, partners, and suppliers Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 1 of 10

2 Changing Business Requires a Changed Approach In the past, facilitating new business initiatives often required changes to network and communications infrastructures. For that reason, initiatives depended on and were promoted by the IT organization. Today, however, collaboration is essential to business leaders, and they often promote deployment and adoption of new collaboration services. For example, it is common for a single department to deploy a collaboration solution, such as a Cisco WebEx meeting application, to bring people in the department together. The Challenges of Standalone Systems Standalone collaboration deployments create a new set of challenges for IT. When a range of tools is deployed independently across the organization, the tools do not necessarily work together well. Even when IT intentionally pursues a best-of-class approach to deploying collaboration tools, the results can be disappointing. For example, can someone call from the videoconferencing room system to somebody s desk phone or unified communications client? If an executive or a home worker has a video device at home, can the campus videoconferencing room system address the at-home system? Can videoconferencing be accessed from remote locations, and does it require a dedicated client or other device? Before users initiate collaboration, do they have to think about which devices participants use or which addressing scheme to use? From IT s perspective, the challenges can be even more complex. For example, if they have deployed a unified communications solution to the desktop but it does not adhere to the same standards as the video system, the desktop client many not be able to call into video meetings. If a growing number of videoconferencing tools especially unmanaged desktop video clients begins to affect the performance of enterprise applications, IT will face business-critical troubleshooting and bandwidth challenges. Managing Device Proliferation Another challenge that can arise is managing the proliferation of devices. This year employees may use Apple iphones or Android devices, whereas next year they may use a variety of tablets. As IT thinks about deploying collaboration capabilities, it must be confident that solution vendors support the broad range of mobile devices that are entering the market. Motivating Adoption Regardless of the collaboration solution being used, the user experience is critical. A poor or inconsistent user experience typically results in poor adoption or abandonment of the solution. If the collaboration solutions are not adopted, they cannot improve the business. A Typical Siloed Approach It is natural for many organizations to use siloed approaches in deploying collaboration solutions. Often these solutions have grown up over time in response to different needs. Many organizations rely on a private branch exchange (PBX) or call server infrastructure for telephony. However, their video infrastructures and capabilities are often managed by a completely different part of the organization, such as a Facilities department. Meanwhile, a separate group such as the IT Desktop group might be considering deploying an instant messaging or unified communications capability. With such a siloed approach, users not only have a different experience with each technology used, they may also encounter significant interoperability limitations and complexity. The situation becomes even more complicated when the business wants to integrate collaboration into its business processes. For example, if a new corporate directory is supposed to provide access to everyone in the organization, will the click-to-call functions be designed for telephony, video, or unified communications? 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 2 of 10

3 Receiving the full benefit of collaboration solutions depends on making it easy for people to use and connect, without having to think about devices or technologies. As organizations move to a click-to-communicate environment, they require a flexible approach that gives everyone access to the right tools, in the right place, at the right time for their needs. Cisco Collaboration Architecture Creating the foundation for a click-to-communicate environment requires an architectural approach. Based on best practices and experience with thousands of customers, Cisco has developed the Cisco Collaboration Architecture a modular approach to breaking down barriers to collaboration that traditionally exist between different content formats, tools, devices, companies, and people working together (Figure 1). Cisco Collaboration Architecture provides an open, integrated foundation that works with new and existing technologies. It establishes the capabilities needed to provide: A consistent user experience on any device Delivery of video, voice, and data for immersive interaction Standards-based any-to-any communications Highly secure and reliable access from any location A collaboration environment based on Cisco Collaboration Architecture capabilities allows you to develop a collaboration plan that provides interoperability with your existing assets. As a result, you gain the flexibility and agility to quickly align collaboration solutions with your business. Figure 1. Cisco Collaboration Architecture Structure 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 3 of 10

4 The Cisco Collaboration Architecture is based on a set of collaboration services that run on a network and computing infrastructure to support applications and devices. Fundamental security, management, development, and other technologies provide additional resources to the architecture. Flexible deployment models enable IT to deploy the collaboration architecture in the ways that make the most sense for the business. The entire architecture is designed to deliver a superior, consistent user experience across a range of work environments. Network and Compute Layer Video changes the way networks must be built. In the Cisco Collaboration Architecture, the network layer provides transport, computing, and storage functions. Rich-media network services are built into Cisco routing, switching, voice, and video applications and endpoints. The Cisco Collaboration Architecture is also borderless, meaning that voice and video traffic runs over a single IP network rather than overlay networks. Network and computing resources can be virtualized to simplify deployment. As an example, the Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS ) platform enables collaboration services to become virtual machines deployed in a centralized data center with fully redundant capabilities. Cisco Medianet Architecture bridges applications, the network, and endpoints. Medianet makes rich-media applications easier to install and manage; these applications enable you to identify and prioritize voice and video traffic; and embedded smart diagnostics and monitoring tools help you troubleshoot and isolate problems. The network and compute layer is instrumental in delivering a rich collaboration experience (Figure 2). Validated richmedia architectures and design guidance help you deliver new media-aware services with built-in security. Figure 2. Network and Compute Layer 2012 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 4 of 10

5 Collaboration Services Collaboration services offer call-control and conferencing capabilities, which enable you to deploy a wide range of collaboration functions. Call-control capabilities, which are based on Cisco Unified Communications Manager, enable you to easily implement enterprise-grade telephony, videoconferencing, immersive telepresence, instant messaging, presence, and directory services uniquely on a single, proven, market-leading platform. Additionally, Cisco Unified Messaging capabilities can be added through Cisco Unity Connection, enabling you to easily access messages from any IP phone, video endpoint, desktop or mobile Jabber client, or a web browser. Collaboration services also provide standards-based edge services to support public switched telephone network (PSTN), ISDN, and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking interconnectivity. This critical connectivity enables standards-based, transparent, and secure collaboration across your firewall with customers, vendors, and partners. An important aspect of Cisco Collaboration Services is Cisco WebEx conferencing capabilities. Cisco WebEx meeting applications enable meetings between people both inside and outside of your organization. Participants can use PCs, Macs, tablets, or smartphones with voice, video, content sharing, and rosters available to all participants. Only Cisco Collaboration Architecture with Cisco TelePresence WebEx OneTouch enables a single meeting using videoconferencing, Cisco TelePresence systems, and web conferencing. Through collaboration services, you can add social outreach features, such as publishing content to a community, subscribing to content and activities, and following your colleagues (Figure 3). Figure 3. Collaboration Services Content management and media services further extend collaboration capabilities. In addition to creating an anyto-any meeting environment, you can capture meeting content, record video, change meeting formats, and publicize meetings to a broader audience. For example, you can stream a meeting to a group of employees or make it available offline. Cisco Pulse video analytics enable viewers to look inside a video, see who spoke, and identify key words used to quickly and easily navigate video content Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 5 of 10

6 Applications and Devices Unique to the Cisco Collaboration Architecture is its ability to support a broad range of endpoint devices and applications. Cisco Unified Communications Manager can bring together unmatched breadth in user experiences that range from basic IP phones to immersive telepresence conferencing and soft clients running on numerous operating systems. All Cisco Collaboration Architecture elements are standards-based to help ensure complete interoperability. In a mixed-vendor environment, you gain the assurance and the security of having standardsbased interoperability for voice and video capabilities (Figure 4). Figure 4. Application and Devices Part of delivering a superior user experience is enabling meeting attendees to use whatever device they have. A best-in-class collaboration experience supports desktop devices; room-based systems; videoconferencing; immersive telepresence conferencing; or client devices running on Windows, Macs, iphones, Android and BlackBerry phones, and tablets. The Cisco Collaboration Architecture removes the complexity traditionally associated with accommodating an ever-changing variety of devices while providing transparent access to collaboration across the organization. The Cisco Collaboration Architecture also provides a full set of customer collaboration and multimedia contact center capabilities. These features include unique abilities to monitor and proactively respond to social media activity and engage with remote video experts Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 6 of 10

7 Fundamental Technologies Fundamental management, security, application programming interfaces (APIs), standards, and medianet technologies permeate the collaboration architecture. Management and deployment are simplified with management technologies, and APIs and software development kits (SDKs) allow you to integrate collaboration capabilities with your business processes and applications. With the increasing adoption of new video and rich-media applications, medianet technologies become critically important to help ensure the predictability, performance, quality, and security of collaboration solutions. Cisco Medianet is an advanced, intelligent architecture built into Cisco switches, routers, and collaboration endpoints and applications to optimize delivery of rich-media experiences. With the ability to watch video flows in real time and anticipate bottlenecks, Cisco Medianet allows you to optimize the operation and deployment for your video solutions. It is: Media-aware: Can detect and optimize different media and application types (telepresence, video surveillance, desktop collaboration, and streaming media) to deliver the best experience Endpoint-aware: Automatically detects and configures media endpoints Network-aware: Can detect and respond to changes in devices, connections, and service availability Flexible Deployment Every organization needs deployment flexibility to optimize its collaboration return on investment (ROI). Cisco Collaboration Architecture gives you the choice of having a premises-based solution, subscription service, or a combination. User Experience The ultimate goal of Cisco Collaboration Architecture is to deliver simple, consistent, compelling user experiences. When people no longer work just at a desk, the architecture must support them reliably and consistently in a variety of environments. They might be in a home office, at a customer site, traveling, or in a branch-office location. They might use a feature phone, room system, smartphone, PC, or tablet. Wherever they are and whatever they need, they should be able to access media, find a colleague, have a quick conversation, share content, or meet a customer in a videoconference without worrying about connectivity, compatibility, or the quality of the experience. A Complete Cisco Collaboration Infrastructure Cisco Unified Communications Manager resides at the heart of a Cisco Collaboration Architecture, bringing together market-leading telephony, video, and unified communications solutions. It supports the broadest range of endpoints from basic IP phones to video phones, personal telepresence, and room-based conferencing systems to immersive telepresence systems. Our pervasive conferencing strategy enables customers to deploy voice, video, and web conferencing across a wide range of environments and operating systems (Figure 5) Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 7 of 10

8 Figure 5. Cisco Collaboration Solutions in the Cisco Collaboration Architecture Amplify Employees Effectiveness Cisco Collaboration Architecture underpins a comprehensive collaboration strategy. With extended reach across locations and a superior, consistent experience, Cisco Collaboration solutions let you support your employees wherever and however they work. Simplified operations and a strong ROI transform collaboration management as well. If collaboration is essential to achieving your business objectives, Cisco Collaboration Architecture makes it easier. Innovate for Growth Let collaboration capabilities fuel innovation in your organization. Save time, streamline workflows, and support innovation by integrating collaboration within primary applications. Users can use collaboration tools within business applications such as Web Apps, MS Outlook, or SharePoint, instead of having to switch between applications. Extend telephony with video to personalize communications and build trust between people in ways that traditional tools cannot. Busy executives can meet face-to-face without leaving their offices to improve the quality and speed of decisions. Support interactive, visual collaboration with external participants anywhere. Visual meetings build trust and understanding across time zones and help you effectively partner to expand into new geographic markets. Increase Productivity Use collaboration solutions for meetings with remote participants. Virtual meetings reduce travel and are ideal for telecommuters. Videoconferencing helps accelerate decision making by reducing communications delay. Video encourages participation, information sharing, and knowledge building while building trust and understanding among cross-functional teams Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 8 of 10

9 Cisco Collaboration Architecture is also essential for creating a platform for anytime, anywhere collaboration. Extend capabilities to mobile workers and allow everyone to work on the device of their choice to improve job satisfaction. Allowing employees to use and manage their own devices also reduces IT and capital costs. Improve Customer Satisfaction Collaboration solutions open the door to innovative customer service opportunities. Your customer success team can connect customers with remote experts for specialized assistance. They can monitor social media and respond quickly to earn customer loyalty and repeat business. With the ability to collaborate across channels and media, Cisco Collaboration helps you keep pace with your customers. Enhance Employee Engagement A collaboration architecture makes it much easier to support teleworkers and branch offices. With collaboration capabilities at their fingertips, employees can collaborate with anyone in your organization and feel connected to headquarters. Collaboration solutions are also ideal for delivering online events and training to keep everyone upto-speed. Control Costs Consolidating communications over a single network with centralized management, security, and other features can significantly reduce costs. Physical office space can be reduced to save real estate costs and allow employees to be mobile or work from home. When in the office, space can be repurposed across multiple employees, and collaboration capabilities are available anywhere to support meetings. By virtualizing desktops and delivering multimedia, company resources are available everywhere that employees need them. Protect Your Investment With Cisco Collaboration Architecture, you choose where to begin and add capabilities as you need them. Start with telephony and add directories, messaging, and presence features. If you have WebEx applications, you can upgrade to Cisco TelePresence systems for key sites and executives. Or extend conference room videoconferences to external partners and take intercompany collaboration to the next level. A Cisco Collaboration Architecture is a protected investment for the future that delivers unmatched flexibility and cost savings. The Market Leader Cisco has been the leader in enterprise telephony for several years. Whether videoconferencing, unified communications, or telephony, Cisco has earned the leadership position in every category. Cisco can help solve collaboration challenges through a comprehensive video portfolio that includes Cisco TelePresence, Cisco Jabber, Cisco WebEx web conferencing, and Enterprise Video Content Management. All of these offers are enhanced by Cisco market-leading network products and the Cisco Medianet Architecture. Make Your Business More Competitive Bringing people together to solve problems, generate new ideas, or provide assistance requires a foundation that supports collaboration anywhere, anytime, with any device. The Cisco Collaboration Architecture provides a foundation for building a flexible, agile collaboration environment that can keep your business responsive and more competitive. For More Information For more information about Cisco Collaboration solutions, visit Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 9 of 10

10 Printed in USA C / Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public. Page 10 of 10

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