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June 30, 2016updated 21 Oct 2016 4:36pm

IBM and Cisco join forces on analytics and productivity tools

IBM Watson and Cisco WebEx will combine to help get more done in less time

By Sam

IBM and Cisco will form a suite of cloud-based workplace tools and applications infused with IBM Watson.

The aim of the collaboration between the two tech giants is to improve worker collaboration by combining strengths in analytics and messaging, communications and productivity tools such as email.

As part of the transformation, the highly secure Cisco Spark and WebEx collaborative workspace platforms will be integrated with IBM’s leading cloud collaboration solutions, including Verse and Connections, and underpinned by IBM’s cognitive computing capabilities.

The companies aim to make collaboration simpler by combining IBM’s advanced analytics, Watson, and email and social offerings with Cisco’s collaboration solutions, including business messaging, meeting and calling offerings.

The two companies will design joint solutions that take advantage of all types of data to help people get more done, in less time. This will be achieved by providing the right insights in the right context – served up through the tools, apps, documents, or actions needed at any given moment based on an individual employee’s role, historical work patterns, and current work assignments.

With Watson powering a joint IBM-Cisco solution, backed by a robust partner ecosystem, new classes of solutions will emerge. For example, a financial advisor could meet with a high value investor over Cisco video with a Watson service offering real-time advice and handling tasks, while files would be securely stored and available in IBM Connections, shared through WebEx for a seamless transaction.

IBM and Cisco are working to address today’s fast-paced work environment. Currently, the average employee is distracted once every 11 minutes and needs an average of 25 minutes to refocus on tasks.1 People compensate by working faster (but not necessarily more effectively), and experience more stress, higher levels of frustration, and greater time pressures.2 By bringing the best of collaboration and cognitive tools together, IBM and Cisco plan to create a more inspiring, productive and data-driven workplace.

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"The irony of many workforce tools available today is that with because there are so many to choose from, they can reduce employee effectiveness," said Inhi Cho, General Manager, IBM Collaboration Solutions.

"With our combined technology strengths and understanding of how teams get work done, IBM and Cisco can deliver the next generation of collaboration tools needed to cultivate innovation and drive productivity. By incorporating analytics and cognitive technologies into these solutions, we expect them to be able to learn what is important, in context, and take the right actions on behalf of the user."

The goal is for the combined IBM and Cisco offerings to be integrated to connect seamlessly on behalf of users to complete mundane tasks such as scheduling and note-taking, and proactively bring people and content together in the context of specific tasks.

"At Cisco, we are constantly innovating to improve the collaboration experience and there has never been a better time to take our offerings to the next level," said Jens Meggers, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cisco Cloud Collaboration Technology. "That’s our goal here — to think exponentially and together with IBM create the next generation of collaboration. Now we can deliver amazing, next-generation "Intelligent Collaboration" that allows enterprises to compete in this fast moving digital world."

The new solutions will incorporate structured and unstructured data in any form, whether from on-premises, the desktop, or the cloud. With applications to handle hundreds of work-related tasks, they are built to seek, consume and analyze all types of data, uncover meaningful workflow patterns, and provide actionable insights through the course of daily activities and interactions.

The joint solutions will utilize IBM Watson and Connections APIs as well as Cisco Spark and WebEx APIs. This allows solutions to take action on routine tasks like prioritizing complex and chaotic collaboration and communication environments and connecting users to powerful cognitive sources of expertise in the moment they need them.

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