Cisco Systems Chairman and CEO John Chambers said Tuesday that collaboration, powered by Web 2.0 technologies, will jump-start corporate productivity gains for the next several years.
Unified communications tools that enable users to connect "any device to any content over any combination of networks" will empower businesses and their employees to work faster than ever before, Chambers said in a keynote address at Interop Las Vegas 2007.
Chambers predicted that productivity gains could increase by 3 percent or more through the next several years, driven by collaboration tools. He said such a paradigm starts with the network as the foundational platform for all communications and IT, and it will be built through a combination of hardware, software and ASICs.
But it was "invented by our children," Chambers said, referring to the numerous social networking tools that are now popular with consumers. "What kids started with social networking will move into business," he said.
Chambers pointed to Cisco's internal operations as evidence of the productivity that can be gained through collaborative technology. Cisco's deal to acquire WebEx Communications earlier this year came together in just eight days, aided by tools such as videoconferencing, compared with 45 days for its purchase of Scientific-Atlanta last year, Chambers said.
The main hindrance will be people, who will have to get used to working together more closely, Chambers said, noting that it took Cisco's leadership team about four years to adapt to a more collaborative work environment.
Chambers said this vision will only come to fruition through a broad integration of technology, a statement that supports Cisco's wide technology portfolio, where it has stepped up integration over the last several years.
"Do not fall into the trap of doing it one step at a time," Chambers said. "You have to approach it architecturally, not with individual products."