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Cisco Spark: A Collaboration Platform That Puts the ‘Transformation’ in ‘Digital Transformation’

Have you heard the saying, “content is king?” Thanks to an evolving digital landscape paired with the unparalleled access provided by the spread of mobile technologies, there might be another word to add to success-driving workplace royalty: Collaboration. Our team at Broadsuite Media Group believes in the power of collaboration so strongly that we recently took a dive into Cisco Spark. (You can read what my colleague, Shelly Kramer, had to say about that experience here: Collaboration Tech: A First Look at Cisco Spark.) Now, let’s examine the big-picture value of collaboration tools in the workplace before diving into specific ways this platform can benefit your marketing team.

The Value of Collaboration: By the Numbers

Two types of people appreciate the productivity-boosting power of workplace collaboration: Executives and employees. In other words, basically everyone. According to a recent report from KPMG—Now or Never: 2016 Global CEO Outlook—CEOs are turning to collaboration as the top method of driving shareholder value within the next three years.

Many collaboration platforms have built-in video capabilities. In my experience, that’s a feature executives in particular crave because it allows them to be more authentic and forge stronger connections with employees, partners, and customers. The value of video collaboration as a tool for business leaders is only going to grow as digital transformation continues to dominate the enterprise tech conversation.

The value of collaboration is evident from an employee perspective as well, as data proves getting on board with rich connectivity tools is one way to boost employee satisfaction. Eighty-five percent of employees who consider their company technology adoption to be “ahead of the curve,” for example, report being happy at work, and one-third report the ability to collaborate effectively makes them more loyal.

These numbers are especially pertinent when you consider the influx of Millennials into the workforce, a group whose annual turnover costs about $30.5 billion in the U.S. alone. Studies show 33 percent—a low representation, if you ask me—of Millennials crave collaborative workspaces and are 25 times more likely to stay at a company long term if they enjoy the workplace.

Collaboration’s Intangible Benefits: Engagement, Engagement, and More Engagement

The business case for collaboration is compelling, but you probably didn’t need stats to determine that more connectivity means higher productivity. Such is true for businesses of all sizes. I mentioned above we just introduced Cisco Spark to our team of over 30—all remote—located across the U.S. We’re in different time zones, on different devices, and not willing to sacrifice communication because of any of it.

You can attach documents, send messages, integrate your calendar, and make calls from the platform. The interface is user-friendly and intuitive—no training required. Cisco Spark’s connection to WebEx has opened the door for video, too—a game changer for our team when it comes to recording training sessions and team meetings. Here’s why:

  • Meetings that used to average about an hour have turned into video chats lasting 20 to 40 minutes, and we frequently have 15-minute check-ins that boost everyone’s efficiency.
  • Video collaboration in particular forces an immediacy and a level of accountability not present on traditional phone conferences or email exchanges. Video encourages you to show up and lean in, sans distractions.
  • Recorded videos are archived and accessible for continued training or onboarding new hires, saving time and resources.

There’s a lot more to Cisco Spark than video meetings—although that’s a big one. Your marketing team can use the tool for lead gen, public relations sharing, and content creation initiatives, all in one spot. The intuitive nature of the program is important to remember, too. In general, employees want to be required to visit fewer environments to perform their work. Isn’t that the point of enterprise technology, after all—to empower us to do our jobs with greater skill and more efficiency?

We’ve only just started to experiment with Cisco Spark, and we’ve already experienced a transformation in how our team collaborates. What role does collaboration play within your organization? Do you use video communication often, or are you still dialing in? I’d love to hear about your experiences—both what’s working for you, and what you’re hoping to improve upon this year.

Photo Credit: kuro0417 Flickr via Compfight cc

Eric Vidal

Eric Vidal is the Senior VP of Marketing & Principal at BroadSuite Media Group (BMG), a strategic partner of V3B and The Marketing Scope. Eric heads up the lead generation services for brands both large and small, and is a recognized leader in start-ups, marketing, content marketing, lead generation, advertising, tracking behavior, PR, messaging, social media, online events and web collaboration.