Cisco, the global networking and communications technology company, generated extensive international media coverage for its communication and collaboration solutions as a result of research by Pearn Kandola. Two studies on how technology can enhance collaboration in virtual teams and improve the productivity of mobile workers were commissioned to support the marketing of Cisco’s Unified Communications and TelePresence solutions and reinforce the company’s reputation as a thought leader.
The first study, “The Psychology of Effective Business Communications in Geographically-Dispersed Teams” looked at the growing phenomena of virtual team working. Here the challenge for technology is making each person’s knowledge and experience flow to benefit overall business performance.
Cisco wanted to know how these teams behave and communicate. What is the impact of technology on their personal development and performance? How do they build relationships across geographic and cultural boundaries? Which communications technologies work best and in what mix?
Pearn Kandola’s report showed that using richer media, ie a combination of different communications methods which include audio and visual media, was important in helping virtual teams to become effective quickly. It highlighted problems that could occur if technology was used poorly and also set out new rules for communicating successfully.
“The study went beyond technology to bring alive the human issues involved in modern business communications. It’s been of great value for our sales and marketing activities around the world. We’ve used the findings in a wide range of content and some of the data have been used by our senior executives, including our CEO, in press interviews and keynote speeches,” explained JoAnne Hughes, PR Manager for Cisco Europe.
“The research generated thirty five pieces of coverage in nine countries, including BBC radio. The findings really struck a chord with journalists, but it was the excellent support from Pearn Kandola spokespeople in presenting to the media that added value to our campaign,” she said.
The second study, “Understanding and Managing the Mobile Workforce” focused on what makes a successful mobile worker, and how employers get the best out of people in these roles. In particular, Cisco was interested in how cultural influences and regional trends might impact readiness to adopt mobile working.
Based on interviews with Cisco customers from around the world and a review of best practice, the report attracted press coverage in countries throughout Europe and emerging markets and provided the basis of a guide to managing mobile workers published by Cisco.
“The research showed how recruiting the right people, managing them effectively and providing adequate communications resources can maximise the benefits of mobile working. It played to Cisco’s strength in educating customers so that they can get the greatest benefit from our technology,” said JoAnne.