Small Business Collaboration eBook
Small Business Collaboration Essentials
Make teamwork your best work with Cisco
The Cisco Meeting and Team Collaboration Experience
The workplace has changed and today the most agile workforces outperform traditional set ups. But the reality of modern business life is, if you want a culture of innovation, you have to make it yourself.
Teams need a workplace that’s focussed on innovation and speed. Introducing Cisco Webex Teams, a platform that helps teams to do it all. Essential kit for forward-thinking small businesses.
The modern workplace is anywhere
Complex work. Specialised teams all over the place. They’re in offices, homes, hotels, cars and airports. It could hardly be any more different to the days when people sat in neat rows of desks. That’s the modern reality of business life—it’s happening everywhere at once.
Not only that, it’s happening on all kinds of devices, from desktop to mobile. And every generation of worker expects to have its workstyle accommodated.
Today, co- workers mingle flexibly in pairs and groups, and those teams thrive on exchanging creative energy. They meet up in spaces designed specifically to encourage the cross-pollination of ideas. Their disruptive new concepts are where the next big growth opportunities are. The modern workplace is one where ongoing innovation is valued above all else. And flexibility extends well beyond four walls.
Think about the way you work today and how it has evolved. Chances are it’s no longer 9 ‘til 5.
Mobile employees, contract workers, freelancers, working parents, and the growing army of crowdsourced employees in co-working spaces are often spread across the entire planet.
For them and for lots of young people (so-called ‘millennials’), connecting digitally to the workplace is the new normal. They now expect a flexible work-from-wherever experience. They expect to not let little things like hemispheres and time zones get in the way of good ideas, collaboration in real-time and in virtual work spaces is more important than ever.
Give your workplace the right formula
What Drives Agility and Effective Teamwork?
Agile businesses outperform
In today’s disruptive economy, it’s more important than ever to create and innovate. Fortune favours the brave. Start-ups can quickly become the next big global corporation.
Businesses with agile teams outperform on measures of productivity and financially.
1.7 times more productive 
1.5 times better financial performance 
 ‘Disruptive forces in the industrial sectors’ McKinsey&Company, March 2018, https://mck.co/2MrFyIA
Strong communication between team members drives the most successful teams and these teams determine how they want to communicate up front.
Focus on goals and results
Make work modular, with tangible deliverables replacing arbitrary office hours. Teams begin to align more around shared goals and delivering desired results. Keep everyone marching in the same direction.
Diverse teams have a mix of different types of characters, each with their own strengths and preferences. Thinking ‘Outside the box’ can sometimes literally mean working outside the walls of an organization. Within this diversity, there is a still individual accountability and shared expectations that everyone will contribute equally.
Organized for speed
Agile teams have regular rapid-fire meetings. Access to collaboration tools is critical and enables teams to quickly engage, ideate and share.
How the best new talent wants to work
A significant portion of Millennials expect to work from home and teleconference regularly. That work- life balance concept? They take it very seriously. Important to know, considering they’re now the majority of the workforce.
would take a pay cut of at least 3% to work for a company that offers flexible office hours 
place flexibility as a top priority while selecting workplaces 
would rather work from home 2-3 days per week than receive a 10% higher salary 
From everywhere, across assorted connected devices, and taking multi-generational workstyles into consideration, collaboration is absolutely essential. Yet when some companies try to bring their teams together, things can get complicated.
War for Talent
A recent Deloitte Insights study found nearly 80% of executives rated employee experience very important (42%) or somewhat important (38%) but only 22% reported their companies were excellent at building a differentiated employee experience.
Technology is enabling an on-demand workforce
Shifting to a more agile workforce is building momentum among employers of all sizes to better meet the need for on-demand, seasonal or temporary labour. Technology is impacting where we work, enabling us to work from any location.
 CNBC: The new generation would take a pay cut for these job perks. May 2017.
 The Future of Work Community, Future of Work, Make the Future Work for You, Oct. 6, 2015.
 Fast Forward 2030: The Future of Work and the Workplace, CBRE Genesis, Oct. 2014
Cultures of innovation only happen when you make them happen
If you aren’t taking risks, you aren’t disrupting anything
That means business leaders need to place a premium on creating opportunities to share concepts and opinions, to brainstorm, envision and dream, no matter how small or radical those dreams might seem. By creating the right environment, you get a stream of ideas that might turn out to be the next Uber or Airbnb.
While today’s technology is designed to keep us connected 24/7, it can actually place people and information in silos.
In a world of BYO tech, app and device incompatibility can throw a wrench into communication, and the snags get compounded when trying to integrate them.
As a result, instead of building stronger collaboration across teams, potentially valuable apps and services can create more complexity.
Work-from-anywhere innovators need a solution that starts with people, not technology. A solution focused on what it really takes to bring teams together in this new world of work. Technology designed to get technology out of the way. That integrates no matter what tools we use. That lets us connect, act and interact like the real people we are.
of employee time is spent in meetings 
of executives rated effective team communication and collaboration as key drivers of business success 
 “$37 billion per year in unnecessary meetings, what is your share?” MeetingKing, Oct. 21, 2013. http://meetingking.com/37-billion-per-year-unnecessary-meetings-share/
 Kim Austin, “Attention Leaders: Today’s Teams Need New Tools,” Cisco blog, Feb. 6, 2017. http://blogs.cisco.com/collaboration/todays-teams-need-new-tools
Innovate and work from anywhere
Innovate and execute from anywhere, with Cisco Webex
Now you can work better together, just like in person, on any device. With clear, crisp video meetings, everyone feels like they’re sitting at the same table. Everyone can contribute to creating and shaping ideas on a digital whiteboard in the room, on their devices, or on their own time. Team members can stay connected and keep working together as easily as if they could stop by each other’s desks, even if they’re thousands of miles away.
How does the very best collaboration come together? With Cisco Webex.
Cisco Webex Meetings
Cisco Webex Meetings is the industry’s most widely adopted and trusted meeting service. HD video and audio help team members feel like they’re sitting at the same table even when they’re oceans apart. Team members are free to fully participate from browsers, mobile or video room devices—even third-party devices. Joining a meeting is simple. Just press the big green button and you’re instantly connected. And it’s easy to keep teams engaged with technology that adapts to your environment – automatically detecting background noise to help remove distractions and zooming in on speakers so everyone with something to say is seen and heard – no matter their location or device.
Share ideas and get things done before, during, and after the meeting in one continuous work stream in your own virtual meeting room.
Try Webex Meetings now!
Unlimited HD video meetings with up to 200 participants, screen sharing, and your personal meeting room. Get a 30-day free trial here.
Cisco Webex Meetings is the most widely trusted and adopted meeting service on the market.
- 27+ million meetings hosted a month
- 5+ billion global meeting minutes a month
- 113+ million meeting attendees a month
5 reasons to replace your business phone system
Time for a Change
Although the reasons or timing may vary, every business will at some time need to consider replacing its current phone system. If you currently find yourself in this situation, don’t worry – you have plenty of company.
For most businesses, the need to replace a phone system is driven by a specific event. Although for a small percentage of companies this may take the form of an unrepairable system failure, the majority of businesses find themselves facing a replacement decision for one of five main reasons:
You’ve simply outgrown your current system
This trigger is one that most owners would welcome – the business is expanding and the existing phone system has simply run out of capacity, with no clear or affordable upgrade path. Whether the underlying driver is the addition of new employees, the opening of a branch office, or the integration of an acquisition, your phone system simply can’t support your current business needs.
Vendor support for the system has come to an end
You probably have enjoyed years of dependable service from your phone system, but the vendor and local support provider have alerted you that they are no longer able to provide service or replacement parts. Since your business absolutely depends on reliable, “always-on” communications with your customers, the possibility of system failure and resulting business disruption is a risk you can’t afford to take.
The capabilities of the system have fallen behind the times
When you talk with peers or your technology-savvy employees, you realize that while the system has delivered faithful service, there have been many advancements in technology that can help your employees be more productive and your overall business more competitive. Since your system vendor is no longer investing the R&D dollars to provide new features for your current system, you’re intrigued to learn more about new capabilities and see if they are a good fit for your company.
The system is consuming too much time or expense
Although there definitely are times when you need your local support provider to come on site, you’re tired of paying for expensive service calls to perform simple administrative tasks, such as adding a new phone or moving an employee from one part of the office to another. You find yourself thinking that there must be an easier, more affordable way to maintain your phone system.
The future of your system provider is increasingly uncertain
Few industries are experiencing change at the speed and magnitude of the business communications sector. It’s rare that a month goes by that one provider hasn’t bought another (or is rumored to have done so), or a provider finds itself with declining revenues due to hyperaggressive competition. You worry that your current system vendor may increasingly be on shaky financial ground or facing an uncertain future – prospects that raise questions about their ongoing ability to provide the stability and support you require.
Make working together intuitive
Cisco Webex Teams
Where meetings leave off, Cisco Webex Teams picks up and delivers a complete set of tools for teams to connect anytime, anywhere, and on any device. Team members share easy-to-use work spaces where they can develop ideas on a digital whiteboard, share messages and files, easily join meetings, make impromptu video calls, and work right in their favourite apps to help keep up the pace.
From small internal working groups to large teams of internal and external co-workers, Cisco Webex Teams accommodates them all without compromising security. Whether in meeting rooms, at their desks or using their mobile devices, team members enjoy a consistent experience with Webex Teams. No matter where they are, they can focus on next steps. Not on the steps to make things work.
Cisco Webex Teams spaces
One place for everything
Stay organized by creating a Cisco Webex Teams space for every project. Invite collaborators, message, share, and even start scheduled or impromptu meetings from within the space, providing high-quality video conferencing and advanced features such as whiteboarding.
Make the most of your time
Cisco Webex Teams meetings are powered by Cisco Webex, the global leader in web and video conferencing. You can schedule and attend meetings for up to 200 participants within the Cisco Webex Teams app or via Microsoft Outlook. Or join smaller meetings on the fly. Start the conversation before the meeting begins and keep it going after it ends as you share files and notes and address action items in your Webex Teams space.
You can even start a meeting using just your voice.
Get things done in real time
Always-on, secure team messaging and file sharing from any device makes it easy to share information and have real-time discussions that accelerate decision making. With Cisco Webex Teams, your messages and files live in the same space as where you start your meetings. You can also message privately with one person or start a group discussion.
Reach anyone from anywhere
Any time on any device, conversations are easy. Cisco Webex Teams includesa cloud-based phone system—integrated business phone with HD voice and video calling for desktop and mobile. Answer and make calls anywhere using the Cisco Webex Teams app or your desk phone. Your contact list and call history are synced across your devices, and your voicemail is accessible from anywhere.
Make it easy to share. And find
Securely share files and access them easily from any device. Team members can even review items and provide immediate feedback via Cisco Webex Teams messaging. Rather than tracking comments via multiple email responses, they are saved to one location in the Cisco Webex Teams space.
Cisco Webex Board
Cisco Webex Board makes it easier than ever to engage as a team and get things done. Cisco Webex Board is an optional device that enhances the Cisco Webex Teams experience by better enabling meeting rooms to provide a continuous workflow between physical and virtual spaces.
With Cisco Webex Teams proximity, Cisco Webex Board recognizes the Cisco Webex Teams users in the room and automatically connects them—eliminating the need for cables. The touch-based, all-in-one collaboration device combines wireless presentation, digital whiteboarding, and video conferencing. Users can draw simultaneously with their mouse or touchscreens, from any Cisco Webex Teams app and on the Cisco Webex Board, for ultimate flexibility and location choice.
Files and content live in team spaces, and the drawings can be saved for future discussions within that dedicated space. All of this fluidity is matched by highly secure, end-to-end encryption.
Let’s Huddle together!
Today, work is mobile. Knowledge workers bring their work from home to desktop to meeting room to coffee shop. Typical modes of working are being broken down and small teams are being empowered to work informally, with flexibility to make businesses more agile.
Traditional workspaces are not set up to support the workflow needs for fast-paced, informal team gatherings. Therefore, it’s no wonder then that ‘huddle’ working is on the rise, and office spaces and tools to accommodate these informal meetings are a hot topic.
We’re defining huddle spaces as small spaces that can accommodate up to five people. Recon Research reports that there are 20 million huddle and small offices, growing at double digits.
Cisco Huddle Space Solutions
A solution to empower agile teams
Cisco believe huddle spaces have only just begun to transform the modern workplace. So, we’re knocking down these barriers with a cohesive huddle portfolio that is easy to use and manage, with a solution to fit every budget. We’ve designed solutions for uses from effortless content sharing to clearly communicating and co-creating.
Share content with Cisco Webex Share
Have you ever crowded around a laptop while there is an idle screen in the background? We’ve solved that. The Cisco Webex Share turns any screen into a wireless content sharing device.
A Webex Share device plugs into a monitor, then pairs to your laptop with Webex Teams. Simply click to share a presentation, worksheet, or any content. You can also see when the room is in use and the upcoming bookings. Share is meetings-enabled; remote participants can also share content, joining in the meeting via Webex Meetings and Teams.
Communicate clearly with Cisco Webex Room Kit Mini
The Cisco Webex Room Kit Mini is the newest member of the Cisco Webex Room Series family for video collaboration. Unlike competitors, all that is needed is a monitor for the Mini to provide premium audio and video communication, improving the user experience and making it easy to set up.
The Mini for smaller spaces offers the same delightful user experience as the Room Kits for larger rooms. It’s powered by the same Nvidia processor as the Room Kits (meaning it has the same intelligence that enables Webex Assistant, face recognition, noise suppression). Designed specifically for huddle spaces, the 120-degree field of view and a beam-forming microphone array that picks up sounds from just the zone in front, which is ideal for open spaces.
Available for on-premise or cloud environments, when the Mini is used with the Cisco Webex Teams app, it provides a full premium experience, intelligence capabilities and detailed analytics for the huddle experience.
The Mini doesn’t just work for Cisco apps, either. This powerful device includes a USB interface that enables it to improve any video collaboration app that a meeting participant may want to use from their laptop, such as Skype for Business. In this case the Mini provides a subset of its advanced capabilities to make the experience better, like premium audio, beam-forming microphones, people count and best view.
Co-create with Webex Board
The Cisco Webex Board 55 is a whiteboard, presentation device and video system all-in-one sized for the huddle space. Sketch your ideas or edit drawings on the touchscreen, with a local or remote team. You can store your creations and share with participants in a Cisco Webex Teams space, ensuring the information is available and easily shareable. These features make the Board 55 ideal for small team meetings where co-creation is the primary focus.
Designed for your small business
Collaboration tools for any space, large or small, need to be easy, intuitive, and accessible or they won’t be adopted. Our huddle solutions are easy to use, with a green button for one-button-to-push rapid starts to meetings.
Experiences are consistent across our portfolio of solutions for small, rooms and across Cisco Webex apps, so that team members know just how to start a meeting in any physical or virtual space.
Now let’s huddle together and help you get to work!
Learn more about Cisco’s Huddle Space Solutions.
Make your business flexible
Give employees the choices they want while making purchase, deployment and management easy for IT
From a single admin console to devices that activate and connect within minutes—and update automatically—Webex Teams frees IT to focus on other priorities.
With prebuilt integrations, IT can easily bring existing calendars, schedulers and phone systems to Webex Teams. Users can get the files, notifications and documents they want without having to leave their Webex Team spaces.
And business decision makers can see real ROI, enhanced by a pay-as-you-go subscription model. Behind it all, the industry’s most advanced security architecture provides end-to-end encryption to help keep data private—not even Cisco can read it. Cisco’s global network supports powerful tools for compliance, even when guests are present.
Cisco Webex App Hub
Work smarter and faster
Cisco Webex App Hub is an ever-growing catalog of integrations and bots that can be added to Cisco Webex Teams to accelerate business outcomes for users and businesses of all sizes. Messaging and bots represent the next movement in communications technology. Cisco Webex App Hub is your hub to discover integrations and bots to customize your Cisco Webex Teams experience. You can take advantage of off-the-shelf integrations and bots within the platform, or you can create your own custom solutions with Cisco Webex for Developers.
Cisco Webex for Developers
Extend the Cisco Webex Teams experience
Cisco Webex for Developers provides powerful, open APIs so developers can create innovative and useful apps that extend the value of Cisco Webex Teams. No other solution brings together so many facets of collaboration into a single unified platform, and this creates many opportunities for developers. Our software development kits are available in common languages and platforms to speed up development, and more are on the way.
The best collaboration experience for today and the future
Technology’s role in the marketplace is to support and inspire big ideas and cultures of innovation. Cisco is committed to leading the collaboration revolution—now and into the future. Digital transformation will continue to drive new ways of working. Cisco will remain at the forefront of future breakthroughs, with a vision that extends beyond in- house innovations—because the best ideas can come from anywhere. No matter who is included or how many teams are working at once, they all get the same level of performance and security they need to focus, stay engaged, get inspired and innovate, without having to slow down or think twice. Collaboration, yes. Compromise, no.
Cisco Webex in action
Italian fashion manufacturing business, Del Brenta, has experienced amazing productivity gains using Cisco Webex Teams. Read the Del Brenta Cisco Collaboration story. Another small business who is redefining the way they work, meet and get things done with Cisco Collaboration technology is 10x Banking a successful UK FinTech. Watch 10x Banking story.
Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan
One easy plan that’s customized for all your collaboration needs:
The Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan allows you to choose the right subscription for your business, simplifying purchasing, enhancing flexibility, and streamlining budgets. There are two options available, and both include technical support.
- Employee-count subscriptions that give meeting, messaging, and calling services to all employees
- Shared meeting subscriptions for room and desk devices, to help you get started with video meetings
Cisco Webex Teams now comes with every Cisco Webex Meetings subscription. Before, during, and after the meeting, they work better together.
For the latest Cisco Small Business insight and innovation, visit: https://smbinsights.cisco.com or explore more Cisco Small Business resources and Cisco Collaboration technology that makes teamwork work.
Support for your small business at every step
Support for your small business at every step
When you’re investing in something as critical to your business as IT, you have to think about much more than just the technology products you’re buying. You’re buying into a vendor — and the way they look after you at every step of your project can make all the difference.
So let’s explore some of the resources Cisco offers to help your business and your people to be more successful. With our services, Customer Experience organisation and all of Cisco behind you, you can tackle your biggest challenges with confidence as you grow with your ambitions.
Help is always just a phone call away
Customers tell us that the quality of the technical support they receive is a critical factor in their choice of vendor. Skimping on support is a mistake you only make once: when a misconfiguration or obscure bug takes down your network, you need to know the right people are in your corner.
When something goes wrong, call the Technical Assistance Center (TAC)— Cisco’s technical support division. TAC’s thousands of engineers around the world have huge collective experience, not to mention cutting-edge tools and data at their disposal to diagnose and fix your problem, fast.
But TAC isn’t just there when things fall over — you can call for advice with configuration, software upgrades, or any other issue that concerns you.
Cisco’s TAC has won more awards for the quality of our support than literally any other company in the world. Is there anyone else you’d rather have at the end of the phone?
Training in action: when knowledge is power
The IT skills gap is hitting companies of all shapes and sizes. When the cutting edge of technology keeps moving, you need to be sure you can keep your team up to speed, without breaking the bank. We’ve got you covered.
Research shows that Cisco-certified staff are better respected and perform better at their jobs. Today we make our premium quality technical training available in all kinds of formats — including on-demand video training through the Technical Knowledge Library. You can check out our free webinars for a taster of the content available on the platform.
Across cisco.com you’ll find a wealth of information resources to get you in the know about industry trends and new technologies. From blogs to design guides and documentation, and the famous TechWise TV, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for. And if you want your content specific to small businesses, there’s no better place to start than Tech Connection.
Join the club
When you choose Cisco, you also get access to Cisco users all over the world. Check out our Communities for discussion on all our technologies, and join the exclusive customer community in The Gateway to feel right at home with a private community of people just like you. Prefer to get your insights in person? Our annual Cisco Live event brings thousands of customers and partners together for a week of hands-on learning.
Threat intelligence you can count on
Security is an ever-present concern, and you know full well that you can’t protect your business by throwing technology at the problem. Who’s got your back when things go south? We have.
Cisco sees more security threats than any other vendor. We use our threat intelligence to make our products — like Umbrella, Duo and Firepower — smarter. But we also keep our customers informed about the risks they should look out for. So do check out our extensive security podcasts, webinars, blogs and Cybersecurity Reports throughout the year.
Strengthening your readiness and response
Attackers are always looking for vulnerabilities in every vendors’ products. We take very seriously our commitment to patching our products to keep them as secure as possible. You’ll get software updates as part of your service contract with us, and we’ll alert you to vulnerabilities that affect you.
Visit our Trust Center to see how we build security into everything we do.
And for when that inevitable breach does happen, explore our Incident Response Services.
Always on hand for you
When you’re choosing a vendor, the quality of their products is only half the story. Will they be there for you after you’ve signed the contract?
At Cisco, our singular mission is to make sure you get the results you need from your investment, at every step from implementation through support to end of life.
For more than 30 years, businesses large and small have turned to us, and we’ve earned their trust both through the services that we and our community of partners provide, and through the efforts of every Cisco employee.
We’re always on hand. How can we help you?
See how our services are helping to keep business running around the world.
Finance options built with Small Business in mind
Finance options built with Small Business in mind
Get IT solutions more affordably, save valuable cash and make the most of your technology investments.
Technology investment is just one of many priorities competing for your budget. So why not free-up your valuable cash? Bundle your entire IT solution: hardware, software, services and subscriptions, including third-party. All with monthly, true interest-free payments.
With the option to add more solutions as your business grows, you have the flexibility to stay ahead of industry trends. But buying the right technology is only half the battle. You need to know that the technology supporting your business is working effectively every day. When the unexpected happens, who do you turn to for help? With the right support and advice, you can have the confidence that you won’t be held-back by downtime.
Build the business case
Financing any IT investment is always a balancing act. We can help you to fund your next project, minimise upfront costs and deliver the benefits you want. We’ll also help you build in the flexibility to scale or update outside of planned refresh cycles. Because who knows what the future holds?
What are your options?
You could purchase your new IT solution outright and pay in cash. However, a technology investment is likely to be one of many strategic investment priorities competing for your budget. In addition, equipment starts to depreciate and age as soon as it’s purchased, requiring ongoing maintenance and upkeep.
Alternatively, you could take a bank loan or similar financing options, but you will pay a higher interest rate that will inflate the actual cost. Plus, you won’t have the option to upgrade or refresh the technology.
Instead, there is an increasing trend of companies leasing IT solutions. According to a recent study by the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association, 8 out of 10 business now finance their IT equipment. Leasing delivers an almost cost-neutral technology refresh capability, but more importantly avoids technology obsolescence.
When assessing financing options, organisations say the most important factors are:
1. Reducing total cost of ownership (32%)
2. Flexibility to manage budgets (16%)
3. Accelerated technology adoption (15%)
Source: Forrester, “Financing in the Current Macroeconomic Environment”
The right investment for you
If you’re thinking of making an investment in a Cisco solution to help you grow your business, Cisco Capital is the best way to finance your IT. No one in the market provides better payment options, with the opportunity to bundle your entire IT purchase. That’s your hardware, software, subscriptions, services and third-party products – all in one contract.
Our easylease 0% has been specifically designed for small business. It allows you to spread the cost and pay for your entire solution in equal payments over 36 months at 0% interest. There is no upfront payment required and we offer a true 0% interest rate. This allows you to finance your whole IT purchase interest-free.
Who says you can’t predict the future?
Just imagine having a predictable cash flow for 3 years. Simply add up the total cost of your solutions, divide by 36 and that’s the amount you’ll pay every month. Allowing you the freedom to focus on other business priorities.
All as you benefit from the ongoing flexibility to add new solutions to the agreement as your business grows, moving further ahead of your competitors and in-line with your business needs.
Whether you are at the beginning of your journey, or looking to extend and improve existing investments – we can provide you with financing to suit your small business requirements.
Find out more about financing with Cisco Capital here.