Collaborate, CollaborateBy Stan Gibson | Posted 2009-09-29 Print
The ultimate goal of Cisco’s IT organization is to enable business growth and capabilities that range from faster time to market to identity management.
Collaboration technology will be critical to successfully execute Cisco’s new organizational structure, which bulldozes operational silos, replacing them with a matrix of committees, councils and boards. There are 12 councils and 47 boards, as well as working groups and small teams to work on individual projects. At the top of the food chain is the operating committee, which consists of Chambers and his direct reports, including Jacoby.
While the jury is still out on the new scheme, Jacoby is on board. “I’m a big believer in it,” she says. “If you have a large company and you get the entire talent of that company behind a decision, then you have a real advantage.”
Cisco is taking a broad approach to collaboration—one that runs the gamut from social networking to video. The company uses its own TelePresence videoconferencing system, but also employs IP TV, static video and PC-based video calls over the company’s unified communications network architecture. The employees connect with one another via a Facebook-like company directory, as well as a number of wikis for purposes that range from tracking new business ideas to organizing searchable videoclips.
With 500 installations across the company, TelePresence is “changing everything in terms of how we operate,” says Jacoby. For instance, she used the system last year to hire a vice president of IT in Bangalore, India. Neither Jacoby nor any of the candidates, including V.C. Gopalratnam, the executive hired, got on a plane.
“We’re bringing it all together in a single workplace for every individual in the organization,” Jacoby says. “We’re using technology to enhance both the formal network and the informal network that everyone uses to get things done. I think that is going to give us a gigantic competitive advantage.”
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