Pocket Guide - Collaboration-as-a-Service

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Foreword from Cisco Today is the golden age of collaboration

It is now commonly known that through effective collaboration and teamwork, organizations can enhance productivity, drive creativity and make better decisions. Corporate buildings are now specifically designed with physical areas that facilitate dynamic collaboration. Given the new distributed and mobile workforce, it was only a matter of time before tools were developed that promote virtual collaboration.


Tools like Cisco’s WebEx not only provide the ability to collaborate effectively while removing the barrier of distance, but also give government a highly secure, FedRAMP-compliant environment in which to meet and share.

many tools and modes of documentation are required. The same types of tools that enable secure, collaboration rooms on-site must also support this experience virtually if they are to be adopted and effective. Therefore, all modes of communication must be available (i.e. audio, video, whiteboard and application sharing). Attending a virtual meeting must be as simple as walking into a room. A virtual meeting can be scheduled in the individual’s calendar and when it is time to attend, opening the door to the room is a mouse-click away. Simple, intuitive and instrumented with the appropriate tools to host one-to-one or many-to-many sessions is required to provide that true, secure collaboration virtual experience.

Real-time collaboration and teamwork can occur in several forms: from an intimate two-person session using nothing but a whiteboard, to a large group session where

Today’s collaboration tools are often delivered as “Software as a Service” (SaaS) offerings to organizations. This approach is a cost-effective way of getting the multimodal

“The same types of tools that enable secure, collaboration rooms on-site must also support this experience virtually if they are to be adopted and effective”. — Daniel Kent, CTO, US Public Sector Cisco Systems

capabilities mentioned above, while providing a platform for intra-organizational (as well as inter-organizational) collaboration. By leveraging SaaS offerings, the organization using the application does not have to worry about updating software code, maintaining operating systems and servers, or other operating concerns. Organizations are enabled to quickly, affordably, and – with FedRAMP-compliant solutions – securely integrate these services. Of course, the content created and shared in these real-time collaboration sessions will likely become part of the organization’s fabric. Depending on the specific session, documents, files shared and created, even the audio recording can range from being considered publicly available to highly confidential. Most likely, the content, at a minimum, would be considered company (or agency) confidential.

This implies that a certain level of security and confidentiality is inherent in these collaboration applications. In the cloud environment, the U.S. government has required cloud service providers to become FedRAMP-compliant in order to deliver these applications to government agencies. This compliance ensures that the application and the operation of the application meets the 300+ security controls defined by NIST, and assures that data will be secure in those environments. In this pocket guide, you will gain deeper visibility into the value of collaboration – tools which can be used today to support the virtual mobile workforce – and how to ensure your collaboration is secure. This is the golden age of collaboration and now is the time to increase your organization’s productivity and capabilities securely.


Don’t Risk IT Jack is frustrated. He wants to know something: Why can’t the people at his agency meet and collaborate on the web with anybody, anywhere, at a moment’s notice, without worrying about security? Jack’s agency doesn’t have FedRAMPSM-compliant collaboration services.

Learn more about Cisco FedRAMP-Comp Visit cisco.com/go/fedramp

T Look at Zach smile!

pliant Services.

His agency uses Cisco FedRAMP-compliant services, and his data is is constantly monitored and audited for security and safety. Zach’s people meet easily, work faster, travel less and don’t have to sweat their data’s security.





Executive Summary


What is Collaboration-as-a-Service?


Current State of Government Collaboration What’s working in collaboration? 3 steps to successfully implementing a collaboration tool Making the most of collaboration The evolution of collaboration Then and now: collaboration-as-a-service timeline The tools you need to know: collaboration tools index How to embrace simplicity in collaboration

10 10 13 15 16 18 20 22

Collaboration Tool Case Studies USPTO invests in collaboration Mini collaboration success stories: Idaho and California

23 23 25

Industry Spotlight: Securing the Future of Collaboration


What’s Next? The Future of Collaboration


Collaboration Tools Cheat Sheet Talking points Don’t forget about security Collaboration tool resources

30 31 32 33

Executive Summary Since Alexander Graham Bell ushered in the telephone in 1876, the ability to communicate across distances has become immediate. Passing notes in class is so passé. Why wait for a break to exchange messages? Do it now over a smartphone!

phone and the internal wiki doc you probably use are all collaboration tools.

However, figuring out how people like to collaborate best can be difficult. Do they prefer phone, email, text, online platforms, or a video conference? The possibilities seem Today we demand this instant communication endless. It’s enough to make you want to pull — both in our personal and professional out your pad and start penning a letter. lives. The power to find, explore and share But understanding how agencies and information is immediate, timely and relevant. employees like to collaborate is imperative And it’s this real-time access that’s especially to achieving mission goals. This is especially critical for governments, whose workforce is true given that the Office of Personnel often remote, siloed and stymied by traditional Management’s annual Federal Viewpoint collaboration methods. Survey found that engagement and collaboration were down across government New collaboration technologies let for the fifth year in a row in 2015. The tools are governments connect and cooperate with a there for government to achieve success, but click of the mouse or a swipe of the finger. barriers to using those tools persist. These technologies are more of a service than a tool; they are a true solution for achieving Let’s overcome them together. In this agency mission goals. GovLoop Pocket Guide, we’ll give you an overview of how the government currently At the most basic level, collaboration tools collaborates and best practices for improving are the instruments by which you and others collaboration. Additionally, we’ll examine case achieve a given task or objective together. In studies and how-tos that will help you get other words, if you use something to reach where you need to be today. out to someone or explain, demonstrate or spread a message, you’re using a So let’s get started. First up: understanding collaboration tool. For example, the pen in the concept of Collaboration-as-a-Service. your hand, the video messaging app on your


What is Colla as-a-Service When it comes to collaboration, it’s more than just the tools — it’s a piece of a larger puzzle. The phrase “as-a-service” has been bouncing around the information technology community for years. What it means is that agencies can buy a product — usually a software application — using a delivery model in which it’s licensed on a subscription basis and centrally located.


aboratione? In other words, you buy the amount of something you need, when you need it, and you can access it from a secured shared space at any time. For example, say you need a place to store your files at work. You also need that storage to be accessible to four other people at all times. But the number of files you will be storing will fluctuate over time. So you buy an as-a-service solution so that those people can access the documents and you pay to store only the amount of files in there at a given time. At its most basic level, that’s as-a-service. With the as-a-service

model, agencies are not responsible for managing or maintaining the solution. The responsibility shifts to the service provider. So how does this apply to collaboration? Simple. We are talking about incorporating collaboration tools and resources into your agency’s daily operations to make things easier, not to overburden the system. You use only what you need, when you need it, from anywhere. It’s a win-win for agencies because collaboration becomes the service and less of a tool.


Current State of Gov Collabo– ration In this section, we’ll discuss some of the most widely used and successful collaboration tools in government. We will briefly describe a few successes and set the context for how collaboration tools are impacting the way government works.


What is working in collaboration? To understand what is and what isn’t working in the field of collaboration, first you need to understand the different types of collaboration tools. Every agency or large enterprise should focus on four main types, according to a 2013 McKinsey report, Enterprise Collaboration and Collaboration Tools:






Team collaboration

Writing/ editing

Engaging/ networking

Tools that enable synchronous and asynchronous communication, including videoconferencing, instant messaging, whiteboarding and e-mail.

Tools that help teams organize their work and work product, including file sharing, project planning/ management, group calendaring and event scheduling.

Tools that help teams work together on documents and/or publish documents, including wikis and online document processing tools.

Sites and tools that enable social media, networking and blogging.

The most important thing to remember about collaboration tools is that they are a method to achieving a goal. The National Science Foundation defines collaboration tools as “technologies focused on helping agencies achieve mission and objective goals by increasing the ease and efficiency of communication and idea sharing.� Collaboration tools provide a way for agencies to better communicate internally and better serve their constituents externally.

In government, collaboration tools might include a General Services Administration working group whiteboarding ideas in a conference room, a Department of Transportation team leader setting up a videoconference with remote workers or a Department of State employee abroad filling out an internal department wiki page on international issues.


Many of these solutions are delivered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), or cloud solutions, and contain several capabilities within one platform. These types of collaboration tools bring engagement from one-to-one to many. They also allow us to work smarter and faster. Although organizing collaboration tools helps clarify which ones government needs, cultural and leadership barriers to implementation remain.


One of the reasons for the slow adoption of collaboration tools is the lack of hard data associated with their use. The benefits of collaboration are often hard to quantify fiscally, even when the C-Suite knows that the benefits are there. However, many leaders still go forward with these collaboration tools based on business cases built on “soft-” rather than “hard-dollar” benefits. Some of those benefits include:





Getting the WHOLE team involved:

Putting the HUMAN back in collaboration:

Finding the RIGHT resources:

Creating more TIME:

Collaboration tools increase productivity and unlock innovation by enabling virtual teams to work together across geographies, functions and organizations. This allows employees to participate and provide new and differing ideas.

Videoconferencing has been one of the most important enablers of human-to-human collaboration over distance. Seeing someone dramatically increases participation for remote workers.

There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to locate the right information when you need it. Search tools or collaboration tools’ search features are critical to finding the right information or the right person in large organizations. Without search tools, it is often difficult to bring together the right data and the right people for a productive working sessions.

The ability to collaborate from your desk whenever and wherever is a game changer. Now employees don’t need to leave homes to engage with coworkers. They can cut down on travel time, costs and continue to work efficiently even when they can’t be there in person for a meeting.

3 steps to successfully implementing a collaboration tool

Now that you know how to bucket collaboration tools, the next step is adopting collaboration tools. The best way to ensure collaboration tool adoption is to follow this 3-step process:




Focus on the Outcome

Discover Problem Areas

Make it Easy

Agencies should ask themselves this question: How does this help me do my job better and enable me to achieve my agency’s mission? If agencies just implement a shiny new technology without solving an actual problem, they won’t get the results they’re looking for. Before you invest in a solution, make sure you know how it will help you accomplish your agency’s mission.

Every department has roadblocks and stumbling points where productivity slows down. Agencies should focus on collaboration tools that can be applied most effectively to remove latency from processes, whether that’s latency in how employees collaborate internally or externally with the citizenry.

Adoption rates will suffer if a solution is too complicated. Collaboration tools should be easy to use and improve efficiency, not create another layer of complications. Often agencies will buy a solution only to find that implementation and adoption are very difficult to drive throughout an organization.


What does cloud computing have to do with collaboration?

You have probably heard of the cloud by now. And you probably know email services like Gmail are in the cloud. But do you know what the cloud is or how it works? If not, don’t worry! We have your back. The cloud is an internet-based computing platform that provides shared processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand. Or in other words, cloud computing enables agencies to buy access to hardware and software resources as a service, rather than owning and managing IT assets on their own. Cloud solutions allow for faster processing and more elasticity in computing in an on-demand, more efficient platform. Without that speed and agility, many collaboration tools couldn’t function. Yammer, WebEx and Trello all run their services through the cloud, which allows users to quickly update and send information from many locations.


To ensure that the information in the cloud is secure and protected, the government uses a framework called the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). FedRAMP provides agencies with a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. In addition, FedRAMP ensures that this monitored data is contained in U.S. data centers, which are accessible by U.S. citizens only.

Making the most of collaboration

The cloud and other sharing platforms allow for the use of collaboration tools on a whole new scale. GSA recently approved applications like Yammer to provide a venue for employees to collaborate through a social network — something similar to a private Facebook. And it’s not just socially that these collaboration tools are having an impact. Project management solutions such as Asana and Trello are making project and task management as easy as dragging and dropping. Both tools are cloud-based project management tools that can create cards that assign tasks to individuals and can be easily moved throughout a project’s process. The city of Philadelphia created an open Trello board in 2015 to help organize, update and track progress on open data initiatives.

On the video side, Naperville, Ill., trained more than 20,000 firefighters at 22 locations on new safety procedures by using WebEx to create video-enabled conferencing. The video conferencing reduced costs by $130,000 annually by saving on commuting costs for trainees, last-minute cancellations and late arrivals. Not only do collaboration tools save money, but they can also improve efficiency. According to a recent McKinsey report, office workers spend more than 28 hours a week writing emails, searching for information and collaborating internally. The report also found that 98 percent of executives cited a lack of collaboration as the reason for workplace failures. Collaboration tools help bridge the gap.


The evolution of collaboration

Government employees and the citizens they serve are far more tech-savvy than they were a decade ago, and the tools they use are much more intuitive than their predecessors. And it is that ease of application use that’s especially important ever since the White House mandated a much more effective government four years ago through the use of collaboration tools.


As part of the Obama Administration’s new Digital Government Initiative, the U.S. Digital Service drafted guidance on how agencies should focus government efficiency improvements. The mandate notes why now is the time to improve communications through collaboration tools. “Today’s amazing mix of cloud computing, eversmarter mobile devices, and collaboration tools is changing the consumer landscape and bleeding into government as both an opportunity and a challenge. New expectations require the Federal Government to be ready to deliver and receive digital information and services anytime, anywhere and on any device. It must do so safely, securely, and with fewer resources.” To meet those expectations, many agencies are raising their standards and changing the way they enable communication. The federal government, for example, has formed the Hub at GSA. The Hub is a centralized place where team members share project documentation

and more general information about how 18F works. The Hub has been so successful that GSA has opened the code that created it to any agency to use. According to the site, “we eagerly hope to see other teams launch their own Hubs, publish snippets, organize ad-hoc working groups/guilds/ grouplets, and share their own innovations with the world.� Similarly, State has created Open Opportunities, an online dashboard that allows coworkers to ask for help from the entire department on projects and challenges. With Open Opportunities, State has completed more than 100 projects. One that Open Opportunities helped was a map program State created called Imagery to the Crowd. The interactive map provides information to decision-makers and partners in preparation for and response to humanitarian emergencies worldwide and promotes innovative technologies and best practices for humanitarian information management.

State and local governments are also making huge strides to incorporate collaboration tools into their business processes. California launched the Situation Awareness and Collaboration Tool (SCOUT), which allows emergency personnel to communicate effectively during a disaster. SCOUT creates an information-sharing environment that facilitates operational and tactical collaboration among California emergency responders for small to extreme homeland security incidents, such as natural disasters, technological hazards, intentional attacks and human-caused emergencies. To understand even more, here’s a collaboration tool timeline, some principles of collaboration and a collaboration tool index.


Then and now: Collaboration-asa-Service timeline

2009 2011 The Obama Administration releases the Transparency and Openness Directive, which notes that, “Government should be collaborative. Collaboration actively engages Americans in the work of their Government. Executive departments and agencies should use innovative tools, methods, and systems to cooperate among themselves, across all levels of Government, and with nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals in the private sector.�


Former Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel issues a memorandum to agencies informing them of how to use FedRAMP to secure collaboration tools and other cloud services.

2012 2015 The White House creates the Building a 21st Century Digital Government initiative that empowers agencies to invest in new technologies to better share and cultivate innovative ideas and resources. Collaboration tools are specifically mentioned as drivers of innovation.

The GSA adds collaboration tools such as IFTTT, Stack Exchange and Trello to its approved vendors list. The collaboration tools joined others like Cisco’s WebEx videoconferencing, Google email and Google Docs.


The tools you need to know: collaboration tool index 5 government collaboration tools that connect gov to citizens Here are some of our favorite tools that are helping the government connect with citizens:


Open Town Hall

Citizen Space




Needing a way to get more residents involved in community planning while still maintaining control over the progress, Peak Democracy created online public comment forums that allow citizens to virtually attend town hall meetings.

Getting quality survey data from citizens can be a challenge, and figuring out how to synthesize that data can be an even bigger challenge. Citizen Space manages, publicizes and archives all public feedback activity.

Having started as a developer’s collaborative platform, GitHub is now the world’s largest online storage space of collaborative works. Government employees can use it to connect with the public to collaborate on code, data and policy.

Reporting potholes and other minor issues used to involve a tangled web of phone calls and online forms. But with the SeeClickFix app, residents can submit a report with a picture and track the government agency’s response.

Debating is one of the cornerstones of democracy. But creating a safe space to work through tense topics can be difficult for government to manage. Zilino helps governments create deliberative online forums and facilitate participatory meetings.

Collaboration tool spotlight: meet WebEx WebEx is an interoperable ecosystem that allows videoconferencing and screen sharing for large and small groups. What makes WebEx so powerful is that it not only connects internal government employees, but by using the WebEx Training Center and Events Center, government can use the tool to connect with citizens, too.

5 government collaboration tools that connects internal employees Here are some of our favorite tools that are helping government employees connect internally:




Internal Wikis


Is a great way to send agency wide notifications and share success stories to a large audience. Through the like and comment buttons, employees can actively engage with the notifications.

A web-based project management application that allows users to assign moveable cards to various tasks.

A cloud based text-based messaging application that is fully integrated with SharePoint.

An internal database that various authors may edit.

A file-hosting service operator that offers sharable cloud storage and file synchronization.


How to embrace simplicity in collaboration Employees and citizens become frustrated when things are overly complicated. When that happens, adoption rates suffer. Agencies

Here are three questions agencies should ask themselves to ensure simplicity in their collaboration tools:




How much training is needed to take full advantage of the collaboration tool?

Is this tool intuitive to even the most casual observer?

Does the tool actually make the process better?

If a user viewed the tool without any formal training, could they understand at a basic level how the tool should be used and leveraged for the agency?

A tool should get to the point where the user views it as a regular part of their job, not as an additional layer they have to navigate.

Some training will be necessary for users to understand functions, but it should be minimal.

Don’t forget about compliance Before implementing a new collaboration tool, agencies must consider 508 compliance and other regulations and adopt only solutions that are government-certified. Some regulations agencies should consider are: The Department of Defense’s Approved Product Lists The GSA’s 508 compliance mandates for accessibility


can either offer training on how to effectively use collaboration tools or adopt only solutions that are easy to use.

The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program The National Institute for Standards and Technology’s Federal Information Processing Standards Common Criteria for Security Evaluation Agencies should look for contractors that have personnel dedicated to implementing government security, accessibility and data protection mandates. This is especially true in the cloud, where contractors are tasked with creating data encryption at various endpoints.

Collabora– tion tool Case Studies Spotlight Case Study: USPTO Invests in Collaboration

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has one of the most dispersed workforces in the federal government. In fact, the agency has nearly 11,000 teleworkers in 47 states. The agency also has regional offices in Dallas, Denver, San Jose, and Detroit, in addition to their main office in Alexandria, Virginia. Approximately 84% percent of all USPTO’s employees telework anywhere between one and five days per week, compared to the government-wide figure of less than six percent who telework at least one day a week. However, despite the dispersed workforce, in 2013 the agency ranked #1 in Best Places to Work in the federal government. One of the reasons for the high employee satisfaction is the agency’s focus on collaboration and engagement despite their distributed workers.


“Employees and managers can leverage collaboration tools to create an inclusive, dynamic team environment,” Danette Campbell, Director, Telework Program Office, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said. “These tools allow employees to be successful when they are working from an on-campus office or at an alternate location.”

employees, USPTO uses a variety of different collaboration tools like instant messaging, document/desktop sharing and virtual meetings tools. Specially, the agency uses WebEx to host meetings and interviews with external customers. “Adding the visual of being able to see a person’s face really personalizes the meeting,” said Campbell.

To make things even better for USPTO, its full-time telework programs have helped the agency reduce its real estate footprint over the years. Currently the agency avoids more than $35 million in real estate costs annually. Additionally, telework enables continued production. During the inclement weather season of 2015, on average patent examiners maintained a 92 percent production rate, and attorneys maintained a 106 percent production rate, compared to a non-inclement weather day.

To create an environment that has embraced collaboration tools, Campbell said the PTO employed several tips:

One of the biggest challenges for teleworkers is staying connected, both in a professional and more personal sense. In order to maintain a culture of connected, engaged


• Use a top down approach and secure leadership buy-in and support
 • Communicate expectations of how and when it should be used 
 • Practice, practice, practice: Have several meetings and trainings conducted using WebEx 
 • Make sure that both in-person and online trainings are offered 
 Clearly, these approaches are working for the PTO – 73,000 WebEx meetings were held by the PTO in fiscal year 2015.

Mini Collaboration Success Stories: Idaho & California

State of Idaho

California Fire Dept.

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) monitors the highways, airports and Department of Motor Vehicles across more than 83,000 square miles with only 1,800 employees. Clear, efficient and quick communication is necessary for the very distributed workforce. However, the ITD did not have one singular communication tool to connect their workforce so employees were purchasing and deploying various communications tools as they needed them. The piecemeal strategy didn’t work. ITD realized they needed to create a standardized communications environment with a clear architecture approach. To determine which tools to use, the department launched a 90– day pilot program with 40 employees who beta tested various communications tools.

Los Angeles is home to 31 county fire departments that are tasked with protecting the more than 9.8 million residents over more than 4,000 square miles. It’s a big job, and one that requires constant training to stay in top physical and mental shape.

The chosen tool was Cisco's Unified Communications Solution, which allows users to make calls, send messages and join audio or videoconference easily and all from one operating system. With the better interaction between all the department’s collaboration tools, employees can stay connected at all times and simplifies the process. The solution is proving successful as ITD already surpassed their original adoption goal by more than 100 percent.

However, finding an in-person training facility for the county’s nearly 10,000 firefighters was a massive logistical problem. Many firefighters were spending hours on the road, traveling outside of their own jurisdiction to the training facility. The time away from the job also cost the city enormous amounts of money. The fire department needed to find a way to enhance firefighter training while still cutting costs. The answer was simple – go virtual. The department decided to use Cisco TelePresence, which allows the city’s trainers to create innovative, web-based videoconferencing classes designed specifically for the department. Now firefighters can take the training from the comfort of their own homes, saving the city on travel costs and time.


Industry Spotlight: Securing the future of collaboration An interview with Andy Campbell, Government Cloud Business Development Manager, Cisco

Collaboration tools (e.g., instant messaging and presence, web conferencing, voice and unified messaging, mobility, and pervasive video) provide organizations, teams, and individuals the ability to “labor together” to achieve common desired outcomes in a more effective manner. Public and hybrid cloud services provide agility and flexibility via a more on-demand consumption model. While this sounds like the perfect combination, where do concerns about data security and risk mitigation fit into the collaboration cloud model? For government users, and an increasing number of commercial enterprises, FedRAMP provides a tangible, standardized data security regimen for cloud-based collaboration tools.


“Without confidence in data security, the value to government users of cloudbased collaboration tools is diminished significantly,” said Andy Campbell, Government Cloud Business Development Manager at Cisco. “For more than 25 years, Cisco has consistently developed products to meet our customers’ security compliance regulations such as FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards), Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation, and the Department of Defense approved products list,” Campbell said. “Cisco is now applying these years of experience to our collaboration cloud SaaS offerings. As a trusted cloud service provider to the

Public Sector, achieving FedRAMP authorization is a top priority. Additionally, FedRAMP’s framework of security controls is being integrated systemically into all of Cisco’s development efforts.” Cisco’s web and video collaboration tool — WebEx — is a great example of this security focus, and is Cisco’s initial collaboration cloud SaaS authorization. WebEx FedRAMPcompliant services received FedRAMP Moderate authorization in January, 2016. “To achieve FedRAMP Moderate authorization,” Campbell noted, “Cisco invested in designing, implementing and operating new WebEx FedRAMP-compliant clusters in multiple U.S. data centers. With an established, robust web and video collaboration service such as WebEx, we committed a lot of resources to prepare this offer for FedRAMP authorization. Our public sector customers now have the exact same highly-acclaimed web and video collaboration functionality in the WebEx FedRAMP-compliant system as private sector customers have in the commercial WebEx system.” But Cisco isn’t stopping there. Later in 2016, the company will introduce a new group of collaboration tools for government to be known as Hosted Collaboration Solutions for Government (HCS-G). Leveraging its partnership with Apple Computer, HCS-G will bring the top collaboration tools (instant messaging and presence, voice and unified messaging, and mobility) to Cisco’s FedRAMP-compliant

cloud portfolio. Combined with WebEx FedRAMP, HCS-G services will deliver to government customers a feature-rich, FedRAMP compliant, unified collaboration system. Additionally, Cisco is working to make sure that all of its commercial SaaS solutions are available to its government customers. “FedRAMP gives us a means to systematically build broadly-accepted security controls into government-trusted SaaS offers,” Campbell said. Campbell likes to compare the evaluation of cloud collaboration tools to evaluating an automobile’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash rating. “Government CISOs and users are seeking confidence in data security controls in multi-tenant cloud systems. Similarly, automobile buyers are seeking confidence in the security of themselves and their passengers in the case of a crash. FedRAMP compliance is the government’s version of a five star IIHS crash rating. When it comes to cloud collaboration, data security, and risk management, government agencies want assurance that the cloud systems they rely on are continuously capable of withstanding significant threat impacts. They want the safest cloud system available to protect their data whether that data is in-transit or at rest.” Cisco’s FedRAMP-compliant cloud collaboration tools prove that data security, and bringing people together in an efficient, collaborative environment to achieve a common objective, do not have to be opposing forces — they can and do work together.


What’s Next Future of Co Already, more than half of professionals consider themselves accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days week, including three in 10 who are accessible by both email and phone, according to Cisco’s Connected World Technology Report. What those numbers prove is that the government workforce will only continue to be more mobile and connected, which means that to maintain collaboration, agencies will need tools to help cultivate the same level of engagement.

For example, Cisco is delivering software that lets you move among conference rooms while staying connected to a videoconference. A user might start the call on their mobile phone and the video system recognizes them when they walk down the hallway into another room. The video endpoint recognizes the application on the mobile phone and automatically transfers the call to a videoconferencing unit. The future of collaboration is about turning a tool into business-as-usual, where the tool becomes integral to what you do.

Internet of Everything landscape, it’s even more critical for organizations to empower employees to connect with peers, customers and managers worldwide.

the benefits of using the tool,” Campbell said.

Here, we’ll explain some key The future of collaboration is now. As we statistics about IT-as-a-Service, noted earlier, the rise of collaboration tool discuss whyonit’s adoption centers the become simplicity of use, “We want to avoid people saying, ‘Oh implementation and proved efficiencies. Tools my goodness, look at that complex popular and how it’s affecting need to be something that agency employees piece of equipment!’ We want to make government today. We’ll also want to interact with. Collaboration tools are it easy, visually appealing, and hide the discuss what needs guidecomplexity of what the service is actually key to business innovation. As should mobility, cloud and social media come together in today’s accomplishing. The users should just get your procurement process.


To get ready for the future of collaboration, agencies should prepare in three ways:

t? The ollaboration 1



Make cloud computing the norm for collaboration

Create a culture of collaboration

Security is the end game

More often than not, collaboration tools reside in the cloud. However, to take full advantage of their use, agencies must ensure that they understand cloud procurements, adoptions and best practices. That way, agencies can quickly take advantage of new tools that come on the market.

With more and more remote workers dominating the workplace, maintaining a culture of collaboration can be difficult. Collaboration tools help, but first agency leaders and employees at all levels need to embrace them. Agencies should push for collaboration to be baked into the work process.

Without security, government will never fully adopt or use collaboration tools. Agencies should look to collaboration tools that are FedRAMPcertified. As more industry partners take on FedRAMP certifications, this process will become easier for government.

Collaboration tools will come to define how we work in government. They will affect the way we communicate and share information.


Collabo– ration tools Cheat Sheet This takeaway section will give you steps for collaboration tool implementation plus tips and best practices for honing your collaboration tools.


Talking points

One of the first hurdles you may face is explaining the benefits of collaboration tools to skeptics whose support you might need to get started. Here are some talking points to help you move that conversation along.






Collaboration tools help agencies maps their work needs with their personnel. By aligning the collaboration tool with the right employees they can save time and money and work smarter toward achieving mission goals.

Collaboration tools help agencies overcome workplace roadblocks. The State Department’s disparate and remote staff makes finding enough expertise in one area difficult. Through Open Opportunities, diplomats abroad were able to tackle difficult IT projects by asking for help online from experts at different locations. The effort proved useful for both the person needing assistance and the person offering it.

Collaboration tools can be easily implemented to ensure adoption. Agencies that create metrics and policies to ensure adoption prior to deployment are much more successful. Before 18F brought the project management tool Trello into its offices, the team offered training and held discussions both in person and online where leaders could walk through how this solution would benefit the team.

Collaboration tools can help create a culture of career-minded employees. It might sound puzzling, but it’s true. Collaboration tools not only make workplaces more engaged and productive, they also boost an employee’s desire to work hard and achieve. According to Forbes, when workplaces integrated collaboration tools, employees were more willing to stay at an organization.

Collaboration tools create document libraries. In reality, agencies need a place to build, store and maintain digital document libraries, in many cases, across geographic boundaries and time zones. Collaboration tools allow those documents to be secured and easily accessible.


Don’t forget about security: ask these questions to determine if the tool is secure As we noted earlier, the tools agencies will use are only as secure as the questions you ask up front. The FedRAMP team created a solid framework for cloud-based applications to follow. But to ensure success agencies should ask:

• What type of security reports can you get from the system? • How am I notified when there is an update to the tool? • How does that update affect security controls? • How do I train my employees to properly operate the system? • Does the tool have multifactor authentication? • How does the tool perform various types of audits? • Does the system perform vulnerability scans? The FedRAMP framework gives agencies the confidence to invest in a new solution because they understand what the controls are there to do, and they can see that vendors met those controls.


Collaboration tool resources

Here are some links to get you up to speed on collaboration tools: Enterprise Collaboration and Collaboration Tools [McKinsey] “Let’s Get Digital! 50 Tools for Online Public Engagement” [Community Matters] Cisco Connected World Technology Report [Cisco] GSA’s Approved Applications List [GSA] Digital Government [White House] Cisco Government Case Studies List [Cisco] “5 Essential Tips for Picking the Perfect Online Collaboration Tool” [Smartsheet] Cisco Collaboration for Government Overview [Cisco] Cisco FedRamp.com [Cisco]


A special thanks to Cisco for Systems

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About GovLoop GovLoop’s mission is to inspire public sector professionals by serving as the knowledge network for government. GovLoop connects more than 250,000 members, fostering crossgovernment collaboration, solving common problems and advancing government careers. GovLoop is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with a team of dedicated professionals who share a commitment to the public sector. For more information about this report, please reach out to info@govloop.com.

Collaboration tools will come to define how we work in government. They will impact the way we communicate, share and pass information to one another. The collaboration tool movement is gaining strength every day, and the lessons pioneers learned are coming to the forefront. That means it’s more important than ever that you understand how collaboration tools could impact your agency and your job — and, most importantly, the citizens you serve. This guide help you better understand the issues at hand and set you on a path to embrace the future of collaboration.

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