The Role of People Insights in Collaboration


The power of context-rich experiences

Cisco
The Role of People Insights in Collaboration

The modern workplace is changing.

More often than not, teams aren’t necessarily located in the same office anymore. Your team members may not even be in the same country as you. Yet, this doesn’t change the fact that 75% of employers consider teamwork and collaboration to be crucial to business success.

People are at the heart of any thriving business. If your people can’t work together effectively to overcome challenges and get things done, then they’ll spend all their time struggling to understand their tasks at work, rather than accomplishing real results. The good news is that communication leads like Cisco have a strategy for overcoming this problem. It’s called cognitive collaboration.

Cognitive collaboration is a solution that combines people insights, artificial intelligence, relationship intelligence, and business processes to establish better teamwork and eliminate workplace silos. Here’s your guide to one of the major components of cognitive collaboration: People Insights.

What is People Insights?

“People Insights” is one of the most recent features announced by Cisco as part of their upgrade to the Webex experience. With this solution, Cisco hopes to help businesses foster better relationships between their employees, stronger collaboration, and enhanced engagement.

The soul of People Insights is the idea that contextually relevant, rich, and useful information can make conversations more effective. Cisco believes that when you’re working with other people on essential projects, it helps to know who those people are. Accessing details about that person’s background, their knowledge, and what they’ve achieved already can strengthen the way that people relate to their colleagues, as well as external contractors.

Intrado has built a robust platform of end-to-end communication and collaboration solutions for today’s businesses within the Cisco environment. Using the latest developments in artificial intelligence and tools like People Insights, Intrado can help companies of all sizes to create a more immersive and contextual collaboration experience.

People Insights is a tool built on the idea that successful collaboration hinges on the quality of the relationships that people have with their teams. However, often, building relationships takes time, particularly when individuals don’t know much about the people that they’re communicating with. Context is the catalyst for synergy in the workplace. People Insights delivers that context in a way that’s rich, immersive, and up-to-date. It helps with overcoming issues like:

  • Get-to-know-you meetings: These roundtable sessions were often complicated, embarrassing and nerve-wracking. People never knew how much to reveal about themselves, and often, the experience ended up being awkward rather than insightful
  • Searching through social profiles online: You’re not always guaranteed to get useful insights from the social media profiles that people keep online. There’s still a risk that these resources will be out of date
  • Googling information: Googling a person is a tricky process. There are plenty of people out there with the same name. You’re never totally sure whether the information that you’re collecting is on the right person

As Intrado notes, “In today’s workplace, it’s crucial for businesses to understand how people work. In both external and internal conversations, tools like People Insights can bring more relevant information to the conversation, and strengthen the relationships that businesses build.”

Overcoming Common Team Building Challenges

In a world where teams and the way that they work together is more essential than ever, People Insights is crucial. This technology offers an answer to the team-building challenges that have failed to deliver deep connections in the past. Cisco believes that up until now, the strategies that we’ve used to bring context to conversations have been cumbersome and impractical. More often than not, they take focus and attention away from the meeting, rather than improving the conversation.

For years, companies like Intrado have presented Cisco solutions as basic conferencing tools that help to keep people connected. However, with offerings like People Insights, there’s a new opportunity to strengthen the quality of each connection between the people in your teams and the individuals that they talk to. Cisco introduced People Insights by leveraging its expertise as a technology company, it’s AI insights, and its computing power, all blended with the new acquisition of Accompany. The Accompany app set the standard for collecting and consolidating useful information about meeting participants, inspiring a new age of conferencing for the Cisco landscape.

With People Insights, users in the modern collaboration space can quickly and easily access a profile tab that reveals the right kind of information that they need about each person. When working on a team project for instance, users can access immediate information about the people that they’re connecting with, so they know exactly who to message at the right time. For instance, a user looking for someone with a speciality in security and data management can look for those features in the People Insights tab of their group.

Additionally, because the People Insights solution is constantly updating, team members have a way to keep track of the new skills that their colleagues have, and the ice-breaking news stories they might be able to talk about at the beginning of their next meeting. Users can add information to their profiles like:

  • Skills and talents
  • Hobbies and expertise
  • Background and interests
  • Latest developments

People Insights doesn’t just add artificial intelligence to a meeting; it changes the face of communication by ensuring that people always have the information that they need to engage in the right conversations. What’s more, in the years to come, Cisco plans to build on the offerings available through People Insights to take the technology into the contact centre too. While in the meeting space, this solution helps to bring context to everyday conversations, in the contact centre, it will make conversations with customers more personal. With background information to guide them, agents will be able to deliver the meaningful interactions that today’s clients are searching for.

Using People Insights Throughout the Collaboration Lifecycle

Cisco designed People Insights to be an easy-to-use solution that companies can embrace throughout the entire collaboration lifecycle. For instance, before a meeting ever begins, individuals can use People Insights to better understand the responsibilities and background of people that they’re connecting with. This involves leveraging People Insights in Webex Teams and other tools to ensure that everyone knows each other better before the conversation starts.

When collaboration begins, team members can also use People Insights to ensure that they don’t have to do time-consuming research in the middle of a conversation. The less time a participant needs to spend on data gathering and introductions, the easier it is to jump straight into the heart of the conversation. What’s more, after the collaborative session has taken place, People Insights can encourage better follow-up. When you have context into who attended the meeting and what those people’s roles were, you’ll know exactly who you need to follow up with about specific issues and questions.

According to Cisco, it’s entirely up to business users how they plan to use the information that they access with People Insights. Use of data can be informal or formal depending on the needs of the conversation. For instance, you might find out where someone went to school to start building a deeper, more personal relationship with a coworker. Alternatively, you can find out who has experience with specific technology, so you know who to go to in search of subject matter expertise.

Importantly for business leaders looking to expand their Cisco portfolio through Intrado, People Insights and the complex Cisco Webex portfolio has also been built with a focus on security and privacy. Many companies interested in the potential of People Insights are likely to be worried about where the information that they are being presented is coming from. However, People Insights will only display information that is publicly available in user-designed profiles. What’s more, internal directory information won’t be available to people outside of the company either.

The People Insights database won’t look behind paywalls or logins, which means that profiles won’t be populated with the latest status updates that people make on their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles – even if links to those platforms appear in a profile. That’s because People Insights was designed to make working together easier and less stressful for everyone. Part of that journey to a more immersive collaboration environment means making sure that information remains secure. Cisco ensured that the information available on a People Insights profile is publicly accessible, to reduce your risk of issues with things like GDPR. Individuals using People Insights can also edit their profile to remove information that they don’t want to share.

Making the Most People Insights

It’s easier for people to connect each day when they can relate to each other on a more personal level. People Insights offers not just relevant insights that help you to determine who you need to talk to about a project, but also helpful information that assists people in connecting in a deeper way.

As a new initiative in the end-to-end solution that Intrado offers for Cisco users, People Insights is still a concept that’s finding its feet. We’re yet to see how this contextual approach to collaboration will help to strengthen the relationships between team members and support new opportunities for immersive conversations. However, People Insights and AI-infused concepts like it could represent huge potential for many companies.

Work gets done faster when people feel as though they already know each other and can therefore hit the ground running. Going forward, companies will be able to streamline the meeting experience by making sure that every team member knows who they’re interacting with and what their skills are before a project begins. In the contact centre, users will be able to access People Insights to collect information about previous interactions with customers and deliver more personalised experiences.

We’re excited to see what more contextual conversations will mean for the workplace of tomorrow.

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