On the heels of acquisitions of PostPath and Jabber, Cisco yesterday unveiled its broad roadmap and strategy around enterprise collaboration.
Cisco's strategy is based on a few different, interconnected components.
UC, led by the release of UC 7.0, the latest version of what used to be known as "Call Manager", this release further moves Cisco to a Unix-based environment, and adds more open application interfaces
Video, led by the release of new TelePresence tools for the contact center, and new presence-enabled features
Web 2.0, led by the re-introduction of WebEx Connect, a SaaS-based UC platform
The real power of Cisco's approach is in enabling services, through WebEx Connect, that span enterprise boundaries. Cisco's goal is to enable anyone to collaborate, regardless of which organization they belong to. Of course, they've introduced security and privacy controls to combat the threat of data leakage.
Cisco's SaaS offering, along with the recent acquisitions, will provide an interesting alternative for those companies considering or using Microsoft or IBM Lotus UC suites (as well as those leveraging platforms from any one of a number of traditional voice/VOIP/IPT vendors.
Will enterprises accept Cisco as an application vendor? The jury is out, and Cisco still needs to fill holes in content/document collaboration and third-party development. There's also the concern about system complexity. Cisco's approach has a lot of moving parts that enterprise IT architects may not be able to easily digest.
Still, the UC/collaboration space just got a major boost, and collaboration planners have a new vendor knocking on their door.
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