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Collaborate, Collaborate

By Stan Gibson  |  Posted 2009-09-29 Print this article 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.

Collaborate, Collaborate

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.”

Stan Gibson is Executive Editor of eWEEK. In addition to taking part in Ziff Davis eSeminars and taking charge of special editorial projects, his columns and editorials appear regularly in both the print and online editions of eWEEK. He is chairman of eWEEK's Editorial Board, which received the 1999 Jesse H. Neal Award of the American Business Press. In ten years at eWEEK, Gibson has served eWEEK (formerly PC Week) as Executive Editor/eBiz Strategies, Deputy News Editor, Networking Editor, Assignment Editor and Department Editor. His Webcast program, 'Take Down,' appeared on Zcast.tv. He has appeared on many radio and television programs including TechTV, CNBC, PBS, WBZ-Boston, WEVD New York and New England Cable News. Gibson has appeared as keynoter at many conferences, including CAMP Expo, Society for Information Management, and the Technology Managers Forum. A 19-year veteran covering information technology, he was previously News Editor at Communications Week and was Software Editor and Systems Editor at Computerworld.
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