Cisco 'Quad' Collaboration Software Focuses on Enterprises Results
Cisco Systems recently announced its Facebook-like collaboration platform. Cisco Quad aims at enterprises that want to boost productivity, stimulate innovation, and integrate distributed teams through secure social collaboration.
With Quad, Cisco distinguishes four forms of systems where people "live" at work: Content creation and documents, communicating, business transactions, and social systems like crowd sourcing, blogs, wikis and communities. Cisco is positioning its open social-media engine at the heart of these systems to integrate all four worlds.
Cisco's research shows social software for business is an $800 million market, but will grow to about $1.2 billion within a couple of years. There are also adjacent markets around enterprise social software, including content management, portals and search. Cisco predicts the unified communications market and the collaboration market will fuse. Quad is Cisco's early entrance into that market.
Cisco Quad in Action
Murali Sitaram, vice president and general manager for Cisco's Enterprise Collaboration Platform, said companies with as few as 500 employees can benefit from Quad because almost every company is about creating products or services -- and that requires people with different skill sets coming together. That said, Sitaram does see value for specific organizations.
"If you're in human resources, you're focused on retaining talent or making sure that retiring talent doesn't take the knowledge with them, and the whole employee life cycle is important," Sitaram said. "If you are a customer-service organization, you're always focused on customer satisfaction and success, so you're going to organize in teams that are focused on customers."
Sitaram added that product-development groups are organized in terms of different functions, from product management to engineering and manufacturing to services. And finance is focused on delivering on a certain result, whether it's a monthly, quarterly or yearly close, or a budget exercise. All of these involve teams coming together to make decisions, he said, and each of these use cases may be special variants of how people might use Cisco Quad.
Changing Our Workday Routine
Zeus Kerravala, a vice president at Yankee Group, called Quad an "interesting concept." As he sees it, social media has a permanent place in the enterprise and Quad is positioning Cisco to get out in front of a nascent market.
"We're reaching a point where e-mail is close to peaking. If you look at how the younger generation operates today, the first thing they do when they wake up in the morning or when they get home at night is log in to Facebook," Kerravala said.
"When we transitioned from e-mail, we migrated from an environment where the first thing you did when you went to work is check your voice mail to the first thing you did was to check your e-mail," he said. "There will come a day when the Quad type of interface is the thing that people want to log on to as soon as they get to the office."