Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
Read Full Bio >>

Zeus Kerravala | June 29, 2011 |


Can Cius and AppHQ Kick-Start Cisco Developer Network?

Can Cius and AppHQ Kick-Start Cisco Developer Network? Think of AppHQ as a business oriented Android marketplace.

Think of AppHQ as a business oriented Android marketplace.

Last year at Cisco Live, the company launched its Cius tablet (see "Zeus on Cius" blog). Today Cisco announced the AppHQ ecosystem, which provides the unique mobile experience for the tablet. AppHQ is an enterprise-focused repository for tablet-based applications. Think of AppHQ as a business oriented Android marketplace, which will have both a public and private element to it. I look at AppHQ as Cisco's best attempt to get the Cisco Developer Network (CDN) program finally going.

The reason I think CDN is so important to Cisco is that it moves Cisco from being an ecosystem-supported company to being an ecosystem-led company. For years now, Cisco has been surrounded by a huge ecosystem of companies that support Cisco. This includes management platforms, testing tools and other things that make deploying or managing Cisco environments easier. Cisco is the lead and the ecosystem supports it.

An ecosystem-led approach is where the ecosystem builds solutions that sits on top of the platform and pulls through infrastructure. Microsoft is a good example of this, where ISVs create applications that run on Windows. The value is in the application, and Windows gets pulled through as the underlying platform. The ecosystem-led approach embeds the infrastructure vendor in the solution, protecting it from low-cost providers that sell merely off price. Ecosystem-led versus ecosystem-supported.

As an analyst that's followed Cisco for many years, I've seen Cisco attempt to get CDN many times in the past. After the acquisition of Metreos, the company created a program called "Cisco Technology Developer Program" (CTDP), where it tried to build up an ecosystem of third party ISVs that would create applications for its VoIP phones. For those of you that know IPcelerate, they were one of the early CTDP members. Truth be told, CTDP wasn't a bad program, but Cisco continually changed the structure of the APIs, charged too much for the support and, in my opinion, really didn't have the desire to build a developer program.

Since then, the company has rolled out many other developer focused programs including the Application Exchange Program (AXP), WebEx Connect and Mobile Service Engine (MSE), as wall as many iterations of CTDP. All of these have had two things in common--they fell under the overall umbrella of CDN and they all failed to live up to the potential.

There's an expression that goes, "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me," so I might be getting fooled twice here, but I do think AppHQ will bear much more fruit than any of the other CDN initiatives did and here's why:

* Focus on Android. Building a developer community from scratch can be very expensive and require a lot of patience. Ask Avaya, which spent millions on building DevConnect, its own developer environment. DevConnect struggled for years, but Avaya's patience and the acquisition of Ubiquity created the environment that Avaya has now. Cisco certainly has the money to build its own community, but I'm not sure it has the patience to do so. The ability to tap into the Android community gives Cisco a huge number of developers to leverage. Only a small percentage of the current Android community will have an interest in corporate applications, but that's still likely to be bigger than anything Cisco could have built on its own in a short time.

* The people running AppHQ have a software background. The previous CDN initiatives were run by individuals that had hardware backgrounds. The Cius and AppHQ leadership team includes people like Tom Puorro (from Microsoft) that have software backgrounds and understand what it takes to build a developer ecosystem.

* Focus from Cisco. Even if the above things had been in place, I'm not sure Cisco was ready to move from being an ecosystem-supported model to an ecosystem led one. It changes the way you deal with partners and your customers and, in some cases, you have to be willing to share the spotlight. Buyers won't buy Cius because it's from Cisco. They'll buy it because it has unique, secure mobile applications on it that can make them more productive. I think the recent bludgeoning that Cisco has been receiving in the media has created a much more focused, aware Cisco that realizes it can't always go it alone.

* Competitive pressure from Microsoft. Competing with Microsoft at the desktop is tough, if not impossible for Cisco. Changing the UC game to be more mobile and video oriented tips the scales in Cisco's favor. Success with developers will lead to success with Cius, pushing customers further away from the desktop.

Cisco has talked the CDN talk for many years now but the results weren't there. Cius, AppHQ and Android give Cisco the product and market opportunity to make this shift, so now its time to not just talk but to go walk the walk.


Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem

Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

December 13, 2017

The two major vendors in the Unified Communications space, Cisco and Microsoft, are both strongly promoting their cloud UC deployments. If cloud UC is on your enterprises roadmap, but you dont want

November 29, 2017

As video conferencing use rises in the enterprise, businesses are looking for ways to bring this technology out of traditional conference room and make it more broadly accessible. That's made the h

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.