WWT's Joe Berger was amongst the experts interviewed by CRN as Cisco launched a slew of new features and updates to its collaboration platform.

by Gina Narcisi

Cisco recently hosted its second annual WebexOne virtual conference. Visit our event page for post-show content and related resources to help inform your digital workspace plans.

Cisco Systems is addressing the hybrid work trend in the best way it knows how: by strengthening its popular Webex collaboration to the tune of more than 1,000 new features and capabilities over the last 12 months.

Sixty-four percent of employees believe the ability to work remotely instead of coming into an office directly affects whether they stay or leave a job, according to Cisco's Hybrid Work Index, a report that the company plans on releasing quarterly. Many businesses agree that the future of work will be hybrid and are adjusting their policies and plans to reflect that, Jeetu Patel, Cisco's executive vice president and general manager, security and collaboration business units, told CRN.

"We have this tremendous opportunity in collaboration that continues to stay in front of us," Patel said. "This mixed mode of working will actually be harder to adjust to … in order for organizations to get the best talent, they're going to need to make sure they can provide a level of inclusivity so that everyone feels like they are equally participating, that they have a voice in the meeting, and that they're feeling supported as employees."

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Cisco's continuing investment into the Webex platform is a welcome sight for partners as competition heats up in the collaboration market, said Joe Berger, senior director of World Wide Technology's (WWT) digital workspace practice. "You've seen Microsoft get really good at Teams and some of the hardware vendors like Poly really amp up their product development innovation. Cisco is keeping up with that, while also looking further ahead and innovate in newer places," he said.

The long-term hybrid work trend opens a massive market opportunity for the channel, Berger said. "We saw people doing quick fixes in early 2020, and now, [they] have to have a forever hybrid work model. [It's about] how do you make sure you're set up at full scale and ready to go with the right tools in place, the right security postures, and understanding of your end user requirements," he said.

The "forever hybrid" model means video everywhere — not just in a couple of conference rooms, Berger said. Cisco's Hybrid Work Index found that 98 percent of meetings happening today have at least one person joining remotely. That's why WWT is outfitting its clients with video solutions that prioritize inclusivity for users both in the office and those working remotely.

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