Cisco Quad: A New Collaboration Platform for the Enterprise
Cisco (news, site) has officially unveiled its enterprise-level collaboration platform, Cisco Quad. Named after a college quad -- a place of learning -- Cisco's mixture of key business apps and the trappings of social networking goes up against the likes of Microsoft and Google with communal bravado.  

Safety First

Information about Quad has been leaking for quite some time now. We talked about some known areas of focus within the Web-based platform here (My View, My Profile & Communities) and included this video of a product demonstration from Cisco's own Vishnu Varna:

In a webinar last Friday, the VP and General Manager for Cisco's Enterprise Collaboration Platform (ECP), Murali Sitaram, highlighted the focus on security.

"The enterprise collaboration platform offers real-time social software capabilities for the enterprise," he said. "It's built on a bedrock of policy and security, and it's enabled through a unified communications fabric. If you really apply policy and security, that's what takes social software into the enterprise world."

Social Media Second

There focus on social computing is second in line. For example, users can microblog inside the platform and their posts will go out to the colleagues that follow them. The interesting twist though, is that these posts can also be pushed out to regular Twitter accounts if the user is interested in including a broader audience. But again, these features are backed with heavy security options. In this case, Quad allows users to set up rules that will limit an employee's ability to make posts outside the company about certain topics, or even on certain days.

Other social business-y features include a calendaring application, voicemail messages, a feed of updates from colleagues that users are following (much like Facebook), workgroup communities, instant messaging, and a storage location where everyone can go to house and collaborate on documents.


\Cisco Quad screenshot

"We've borrowed from the Web 2.0 world," added Sitaram, noting that Cisco has actually been working on Quad for roughly three years. "It's a manifestation of social capabilities."

Quad is CMS and Mobile-Friendly

Quad is slated to integrate with several content management systems, including EMC Documentum, Microsoft SharePoint, and Oracle. It is also built to work with Cisco's unified communications products, and WebEx. Support for Google's common API defining tool for social applications, OpenSocial, will also be included, leaving an unmistakable invite for businesses to eventually integrate some of their other systems with Quad.

Furthermore, the platform is also scheduled to be available as a native iPhone and iPad application this fall. Key features will reportedly include allowing users to write their own company profiles and create subscribable communities of specific areas of interest with searchable content.

Dukes Up, MS and Big G

There's no doubt that Microsoft and Google are the biggest players in the enterprise collaboration space, but both have been publicly burned for issues such as security and weaknesses when it comes to tools. Will Cisco's underdog prove to have learned from these mistakes with Quad? Check it out, and let us know what you think.