[FT] When Cisco Systems held its annual summit this month for its top 3,100 executives, no one hopped on a plane to the group’s San Jose headquarters. Instead, staff in China, India and the UK gathered in front of high-definition screens in conference rooms and communicated via instant messaging.
As expected, the US maker of communications equipment saved millions of dollars that had been racked up on previous retreats. But more surprisingly, Cisco found that interaction improved.
Managers and directors responded live to some of the more than 10,000 questions posed electronically, while many more questions were archived for follow-up sessions.
The combination of expense cuts and increased productivity is driving a push towards a growing use of remote collaboration software and equipment at companies with far-flung operations. Nokia Siemens, IBM and Procter & Gamble have all made savings on travel costs. It seems the recession is finally bringing the virtual workplace within reach.
Virtual conference victory for Cisco Systems