If choosing between Google and Microsoft gives you too much anxiety, but you still need an enterprise-level collaboration platform, Cisco (news, site) might have an answer. The company is prepping to release an online environment that includes key business apps, as well as everything we love about social networking.
Bits and pieces of Cisco Quad have been surfacing over the last few months, but the company will reportedly be discussing the Web-based collaboration platform in detail at the E2.0 Conference in Boston next week.
What we know as of today is that Quad (which is named after a college quad) is designed to connect employees safely and securely across an organization through popular social methods.
Here's a video of Cisco's own Vishnu Varna demonstrating the product at VoiceCon in Orlando:
As John Dix noted, you'll see three main areas of focus upon opening the tool:
This is the main, customizable landing page. From here users will be able to see which projects or people they're following, as well as review their calendar, RSS feeds, activities, etc. Real-time communication is also a big part of this section, as users can initiate voice and video calls, or instant messages with any colleague that shows up in this panel.
We're all pretty familiar with the way profiles work these days. This is a public space in which users can express their identity and communicate professionally via linked blog entries, outlined areas of expertise, lists of current work activities, uploaded documents, etc.
Communities can be set up for focused collaboration on say, product development or a presentation. They can be set as open to anyone, invitation-only, or completely hidden to everyone except those in the group.
No Software Required
The benefits that come with Web-based solutions such as this are widely known (for instance, all you need to get started with Cisco Quad is a PC with a camera and a mic). Some enterprise 2.0 folk, however, remain unsure that cloud computing is suitable for such sensitive information. Whether or not Cisco's solution will provide the assurance needed to sway the wary remains to be seen, but a company going up against giants like Google and Microsoft sure is interesting.
In any case, it's not a bad idea to follow how Quad does in the shark tank. For more information, check out the upcoming Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston.