Web 2.0 is a sexy little minx. While it attracts lots of lustful gazes from CIOs, most of them cling to their solid yet unspectacular communications tools because they fret that Web 2.0 might break their hearts and take them down a couple pegs with the other guys in the C-suite.
So whenever I can, I like to relate the experiences of organizations for whom Web 2.0 appears to be more than a "trophy" technology. Thus, I recently wrote about some of the benefits that Wachovia and the CIA are deriving from Web 2.0, along with their suggestions for encouraging adoption and getting funding for such initiatives.
Cisco is another company making good use of Web 2.0, often with some of its own products. Speaking at the recent Cisco Live conference in Florida, CEO John Chambers said the growing use of videoconferencing and Web 2.0 tools like wikis and blogs have helped Cisco double its sales calls, while cutting costly sales travel in half.
Thanks to its primary line of business, Cisco is working to marry networking and Web 2.0 whenever possible. WebEx Connect, a forthcoming product mentioned in a CRN article about Chambers' address, is a cool example.
It will allow folks to see co-workers working on a project team, log chat sessions between individuals so other team members can view them, create video blogs, and scour a corporate directory of user-created profiles to find employees with needed expertise. From the profile pages, users can initiate video calls with each other and/or digitally share information.
Cisco worked on WebEx Connect and five other major technology launches in its third quarter, a blazing pace Chambers says was possible due to its own Web 2.0 tech initiatives. He says:
That's more announcements than we'd normally make in a year.
According to the article, video usage also should help Cisco live up to its pledge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its global operations by 25 percent by 2012. Yet, oddly, in the next paragraph it quotes Chambers as saying that network loads at Cisco have grown 200 percent in the past year, thanks to internal use of 200 TelePresence high-def videoconferencing systems.
OK, I get that less travel will mean a smaller carbon footprint. But won't those kinds of loads also put quite a strain on the data center, which gobbles up plenty of energy, as a recent report from McKinsey & Co. and the Uptime Institute makes clear?