Cisco is introducing an application hosting option for its Cisco Quad enterprise collaboration platform, along with systems integration support for the technology from Capgemini.
Cisco said Monday at Enterprise 2.0, a UBM TechWeb event, that Quad will be offered in a hosted and managed deployment model to be delivered initially in the United States and Canada through ACS (a Xerox subsidiary), in Europe through Logicalis UK, and in Australia and New Zealand through AlphaWest. This will allow companies to take advantage of the Quad functionality without needing to deploy and manage the enterprise social software themselves.
In addition, Capgemini will consult with enterprises that want help implementing and customizing the technology, as well as defining business use cases and goals for social collaboration and addressing governance issues.
Cisco also announced the upcoming release of Quad 2.5, which will include pre-built integrations with leading content management and instant messaging platforms from EMC, Microsoft, and IBM, as well as a new mobile application for the Android-based Cisco Cius tablet. Cisco Quad is social software that competes with products like Jive, Yammer, and IBM Connections, but with a particular emphasis on integration with Cisco's voice and video collaboration technologies.
Nagesh Kunameni, vice president and chief technology officer of the ACS IT outsourcing business, said the hosted offering will be run on virtual servers, with a pool of licenses available to allow customers to scale up and down their usage of Quad, cloud computing style. Kunameni said the hosting relationship will be similar to Cisco's partnership with Verizon on hosted unified communications.
Lanny Cohen, CEO of Capgemini North America Technology Services, said he sees social media "fundamentally changing expectations for how people want to collaborate with each other." Still, many enterprises are looking for help figuring out how to translate this new mode of collaboration into practical, bottom-line results, he said.
One way Capgemini can help is by developing specific use cases--business scenarios showing how practical applications can be built on the technology. At the Cisco booth at the Enterprise 2.0 Expo Pavilion, Capgemini will be showing a sample use case of drug development at a pharmaceutical company, showing how all parties from medical and chemical scientists to marketing, advertisement, and management can collaborate more effectively around Quad.
That's just the kind of help Cisco is looking for, said Murali Sitaram, vice president of the collaboration software group. "I've been asking myself, could we have created this use case on our own? And I don't see how," he said, noting that the example was built on Capgemini's years of experience in that industry.
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