Blog · 26 Sep 2018

Collaboration that bridges the generation gap

How can organisations stay ahead in the face of the growing generation gap?

September is the time when many organisations take on their graduate intake. This influx of young talent fresh from university brings opportunities for global organisations, but also challenges.

Used to communicating by Snapchat, Instagram and Kik, no longer are they satisfied with a locked down mobile phone and corporate laptop. From an IT point of view, that introduces security concerns, the risk of shadow IT and data control, not to mention lower productivity from your people.

We talk to Cisco’s Nicolette Philokyprou, Cisco Collaboration Service Creation & Portfolio Management, and Angie Mistretta, Senior Director of Cisco Collaboration Product Marketing, about some of the trends they’re seeing in the collaboration space, and how organisations can try to stay ahead in the face of the growing generational gap.

BT: What’s the impact of the consumerisation of IT on collaboration technology?

AM: The consumerisation of IT is being pushed by a younger, more mobile workforce, who grew up with the Internet and are less inclined to draw a line between corporate and personal technology.

At Cisco, we believe in creating a ‘delightful’ experience. The technology has got to be easy to use, offer a consistent experience and of course mobile is key. Consumer trends are bleeding into our business tools. For example, we’ve introduced the ability to send GIFs in Webex Teams.

The reason for doing that is because we know that user adoption plays a massive part in making the roll out of collaboration tools a success. Things like GIFs let people be fun and expressive, which increases the stickiness of the tool and therefore adoption. For the organisation, increased adoption means increased productivity and lower costs.

Consumer trends are bleeding into our business tools. For example, we’ve introduced the ability to send GIFs in Webex Teams. ”

Angie Mistretta

Sr. Director, Cisco Collaboration Product Marketing

BT: How can global organisations balance fun and security?

NP: Global organisations are faced with a challenge – to give their users a great experience but also protect their assets. They need to make sure their devices and data are secure and that there is governance in place, but at the same time, recognise that shadow IT is a real risk if the corporate tools aren’t easy to use.

That’s why we’ve focused so much on the experience side of our tools, to make sure that they work perfectly for a more mobile workforce and that they offer a consistent experience. And by offering cloud-based services, we can also ensure that the security side is built in, keeping users and IT departments happy.

How can organisations bridge the generational gap?

NP: One of the ways to bridge the gap is to design your collaboration services for the span of people you have in your workforce. By thinking about user adoption, what you want to achieve and how those people work now, you can get a better result. For example, video used to be something only executives used, whereas now it’s widely used by millennials. How can you make sure everyone in your organisation has access to video collaboration tools? How can you design your roll out and training plans to support groups who may embrace collaboration technologies at different speeds?

One of the really important things in bridging the generational gap is ease of use. We all like tools which are easy, no matter how young or old we are. So whether you use the Webex app on your mobile, on your desktop, or in a conference room, it should always be the same experience. You just press the green button.


We all like tools which are easy, no matter how young or old we are. ”

Nicolette Philokyprou

Cisco Collaboration Service Creation & Portfolio Management

What are you seeing on the horizon?

AM: One of the big shifts we’ve seen as consumers is the ability to talk to our devices. From Siri to Alexa and Google Home, we’re comfortable using such tools at home to check the weather, turn on the lights or set a reminder, just by using voice commands. So we’re applying that technology in business with an AI-powered collaboration solution. From starting, joining and leaving meetings to supporting sharing and whiteboards, we’re making it even easier to collaborate. Functionality like this would have been almost impossible without cloud technology.


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