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Cisco, EMC Team On Enterprise Social Content

Joint product will add EMC Documentum content and process management to Cisco Quad enterprise social networking.

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Cisco and EMC are teaming up to bring the content and business process management capabilities of EMC Documentum to Cisco Quad enterprise social networking software.

The companies said they expect the first version of the joint offering, including the content management capabilities, to ship in August, with a version including process management to follow. The product integration roadmap continues into next year.

In an interview prior to the announcement Tuesday at the EMC World conference in Las Vegas, Murali Sitaram, VP and general manager of the collaboration software group at Cisco, and Jeetu Patel, chief strategy officer with EMC, said they expect the product will appeal to organizations that value the security, governance, and compliance qualities of the Documentum platform.

"The choice of being social, or the choice of being safe, tend to be mutually exclusive--and they shouldn't be," Patel said.

Quad will continue to be sold separately. Like many other enterprise social networking products, Quad imitates the communication and collaboration style of consumer social networks, with user profiles and status feeds. Building on Cisco's strength in unified communications, Quad also lets users see who is online at any given moment and place voice or video calls.

When the products are used together, Documentum will function as content repository for all user posts in Quad, although post metadata and the Quad social graph model of user relationships will continue to be stored separately in an Oracle database. Patel said he also expects Documentum business process applications to tap into Quad capabilities.

"It's not that Quad will be the frontend and we will be the backend," Patel said. "Sometimes Quad will be the frontend, and sometimes we will be the frontend." As a potential application, he pointed to loan underwriting, a process that "tends to be pretty disjointed" and requires loan officers to switch between multiple applications. With a Quad-Documentum system, participants in that process could handle more of their communications, document management, and forms processing work within an integrated application, he said.

"New patterns of work are emerging, especially in companies that are widespread" where social communication boosts productivity, Sitaram said. But while social media, blogs, and wikis implemented within the enterprise may boost spontaneous communication, they often aren't as well integrated and managed as traditional enterprise applications, he said.

Cisco originally integrated Documentum with Quad on a custom basis, internally, as a way of convincing organizations within the company such as finance that they could use the tool while still meeting compliance requirements, Sitaram said.

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