Minhaj Zia, Director for Collaboration Sales, Cisco India & SAARC
Minhaj Zia, Director for Collaboration Sales, Cisco India & SAARC

Webex has proven to be an indispensable tool for businesses and organizations seeking to connect with partners, customers, and vendors through effective and impactful secure communication. 

“From supporting critical sectors such as, healthcare, education, legislation and other government services, Webex has helped customers and partners alike navigate the challenges of hybrid world.”

Minhaj Zia, Director for Collaboration Sales, Cisco India & SAARC 

The Collaboration Technology industry witnessed a significant uptick in demand due to the massive digital adoption triggered by the pandemic. The adoption of these Collaboration technologies has been hastened by the rising wave of remote working and distributed workforces across the globe. Companies are increasingly deploying various types of collaborative tools to cater to the demands of a hybrid workforce, while continuing to drive innovation to remain relevant, and to resolve issues more efficiently in order to meet evolving consumer expectations, maintain market share, and gain competitive advantage. 

Even as workers are returning to their offices, the pandemic, probably, brought in a permanent change in workforce structure that requires additional investment in technologies to facilitate, capture and organize open conversations and information sharing.  

Massive digitisation has forced bent the long-term curve of the social software and collaboration market upward, with double-digit growth projected through 2023.  

As part of our effort to gain actionable insights into the Collaboration technology market, SME Channels embarks upon making an incisive analysis of the Collaboration Technology landscape. 

Here, in an exclusive chat with SME Channels, Minhaj Zia, Director for Collaboration Sales, Cisco India & SAARC, reveals how Cisco has been leveraging the recent uptick in market demand for Collaboration Technology Solutions; his key predictions for the Collaboration solutions industry; how Cisco Webex is benefitting his clients as well as partners;  the key Product Differentiation that Webex brings onto the table; how his company is driving better traction for its channel partners; major challenges for the Collaboration tech sector; and much more. Edited Excerpts… 

How has your company been leveraging the significant uptick in the demand for Collaboration Technology Solutions triggered by massive digitization in recent years?   

Given the seismic shifts of the past few years, video conferencing has evolved from just a tool to a necessity, revolutionizing the way we do business, learn, and connect. It has transformed into the connective tissue within an organization’s culture, ensuring equal access to the global economy for everyone, regardless of location. At Cisco, we are dedicated to empowering the workforce and transforming workspaces with innovative technology. Cisco Webex has and continues to play a pivotal role in keeping people securely connected, and productive across sectors, with a global monthly participation of around 650 million. 

To accelerate the adoption of Webex and provide a seamless and secure hybrid work experience, Cisco recently invested in a dedicated India Webex infrastructure, including a dedicated data center and necessary regulatory licenses. This infrastructure offers a host of services to customers, facilitating a rich user experience and delivering industry-leading security and management across the Webex Suite while enabling India-specific pricing for customers. India is among the top countries outside of the US that consistently record the second-highest usage of Webex.

What key megatrends do you foresee in the Collaboration Technology Solutions market? 

As we move towards a more connected and hybrid world, the demand for collaboration solutions is set to skyrocket. Organizations are realizing the importance of virtual collaboration tools that not only enable remote work but also foster team collaboration, productivity, and innovation. 

In terms of trends, firstly, there will be a growing demand for secure collaboration platforms that provide end-to-end data security from device to device, especially as businesses adapt to a hybrid workforce. Secondly, employee well-being and inclusivity will be a priority, and collaboration platforms must ensure that every voice is heard and valued. Lastly, emerging technologies such as AI, virtual reality, and augmented reality will revolutionize digital interactions and make the experience more engaging and immersive. 

Cisco has updated Webex with over 1000 new features and a selection of new devices to provide users with an uninterrupted, immersive, and intelligent experience. Our AI-powered gestures capture body language and let participants interact more naturally, while our noise removal and speech enhancement technology ensure crystal-clear audio. As the way we work continues to evolve, we are committed to providing innovative solutions that empower the digital workforce and transform workspaces. 

What are your major Product/Services offerings?   

Cisco offers a comprehensive suite of collaboration solutions that help businesses and individuals to connect, communicate, and collaborate more effectively and securely. Our portfolio includes video conferencing solutions, unified communication platforms, team collaboration tools, and cloud-based collaboration services.  

Our collaboration technology Webex has AI-driven features widely used both within and outside our organization. A number of AI-powered features have been incorporated into Webex, including Webex Assistant, gesture recognition, and speech enhancement to further optimize collaboration, we have introduced new AI capabilities in the Webex Suite, including high-definition (HD) meetings, smart re-lighting, and automatic “be right back” updates. Webex is also expanding video-intelligence in devices through the conference room operating system Cisco Room OS. Users will benefit from the ability to automatically provide the most optimal views in any meeting, at any moment, in any space with new capabilities that deliver cinematic meeting experiences. Additionally, Cisco has introduced new AI capabilities for customer experience solutions, such as Webex Contact Center and Webex Connect, enabling businesses to deliver personalized and exceptional experiences for hybrid workers and customers. With these new capabilities, Cisco enables businesses to deliver personalized, remarkable experiences for hybrid workers and customers, meeting their demands for flexible, secure, and exceptional work experiences. 

Collaboration techs should provide the platform to connect with external partners, customers, and vendors through seamless, high-impact communication. How have your clients as well as partners been benefiting from them? 

Webex has proven to be an indispensable tool for businesses and organizations seeking to connect with partners, customers, and vendors through effective and impactful secure communication. From supporting critical sectors such as, healthcare, education, legislation and other government services, Webex has helped customers and partners alike navigate the challenges of hybrid world. 

We are continuing this momentum and helping the automobile manufacturer – Maruti Suzuki augment their offerings and reach a broader customer base across India. Maruti customers can come to their website and request a virtual tour of the showroom and the car they wish to explore from the comfort of their homes. It allows them to have a rich audio-video interaction with the ability to share the screen and co-create the car customizations through the 3D rendering of the cars. We are continually investing in our platform to align with changing customer needs to power hybrid work, enable a safe return to the office, and make their Webex experience 10x better than in-person interactions. 

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