SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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 >>
SHARE



Zeus Kerravala | June 19, 2012 |

 
   

Cisco Quad Evolves to WebEx Social

Cisco Quad Evolves to WebEx Social Cisco is trying to lay the foundation for the transition to social as a primary work tool, displacing email.

Cisco is trying to lay the foundation for the transition to social as a primary work tool, displacing email.

Today at the Enterprise 2.0 event, Cisco announced a number of enhancements to WebEx Social, the product formerly known as Quad. The first, and most obvious change is the name--Quad goes away and Cisco will use the WebEx brand for its social networking product.

I was never a huge fan of the name "Quad"; I understand what Cisco was trying to do but it did highlight the fact that it was a separate and distinct product from WebEx and the other collaboration products. The WebEx brand is solid and is something Cisco can look to build on. This is pure speculation, but I'm guessing that the two products will eventually have a common foundation that Cisco develops from, which should give the two products the same look and feel. Additionally, (up on my soap box), a common set of APIs and development tools is important to fueling the Cisco Developer Network efforts (off soap box).

The next big change for Social is that it's been pushed out to the cloud. Customers can buy the traditional premise based solution if they want, or they can buy it as a hosted solution from a partner or from Cisco. The "cloudification" of this product makes a ton of sense since cloud delivery addresses the needs of the mobile worker better, and much of the company's differentiation over arch-rival Microsoft is in its lead in mobile. Cisco can argue it's even with Microsoft at the desktop and it may be, product-wise, but Microsoft dominates legacy PC mindshare so the faster the market moves to the cloud and goes post-PC, the better it is for Cisco, market-share-wise.

Cisco also announced a number of other enhancements to the product, including integration into Microsoft Office and Outlook. Customers can now edit and post Office documents into WebEx Social. Additionally, customers can create and post updates to WebEx Social directly from Outlook. I think these enhancements are significant because I firmly believe workers don't want more applications to flip between. Rather, it would be easier for workers to use more features within the applications they already use.

Cisco also beefed up the mobile aspect of WebEx Social. Users on Apple mobile devices now have the capability of shifting between social networking and communication tools such as chat, WebEx conferencing and voice. Shifting between modes isn't nearly as easy when the user is mobile as it is when the person is working on the desktop, so these improvements should add to the usability of WebEx Social as a key mobile tool.

This announcement may not seem as big as some of the other things that Cisco has released over the past year, but I do think there's a big end game at stake here for Cisco. Much of Cisco's growth over the years has been tied to their ability to catch market transitions at the right time: Circuit to packet, hubs to switches, TDM to VoIP, and the list goes on and on. With WebEx Social, Cisco is trying to lay the foundation for the transition to social as a primary work tool, displacing email. Some pundits guffaw at this thought, but I think there's merit to it.

Consider the early days of email, when our primary communications tool was the phone. The first thing people did back in the day was check your voice mail. When I got off a plane, I would have sometimes a dozen voice mails. Today, I never get voice mails; instead the first thing I do when I start my day is check email and then continue to check it all day long.

However, the younger generation doesn't do this. They check their social network and post status updates of what they're doing, they post pictures, videos and everything that keeps people updated on their lives. I can easily see a day when workers come to the office and the first thing they do is check their social tool and instead of posting pictures and play games, they post documents, presentations and videos related to work. Instead of posting status updates like "Hanging with the bff" they'll post status updates of when meetings are and what projects they're working on.

I have no doubt this transition will take place, so for Cisco, the questions are--do they have the right products, and is the timing right? As for functionality, I think Cisco's focus on mobile first makes all the sense in the world for the reasons I listed above. Not that Microsoft is the only competition in social, but they are the only competitor that has both social tools and unified communications, and is trying to integrate them. Timing will have a lot to do with how this market shakes out, but it appears that Cisco's well positioned for the shift to social as a primary work tool.





COMMENTS



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 BlogGeek.me 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.