Cisco Quad offers up enterprise social networking gone mobile

Enterprise social networking seems like a good strategy to streamline business functions, but will Cisco Quad technology fit in the enterprise?

At Cisco Live 2011, Cisco demoed its new enterprise social networking app Cisco Quad, which the company hopes will be sold by partners to be used on the Cisco Cius tablet among other mobile devices.  

Cisco Quad will bring social networking, unified communications and collaboration together, enabling shared collaborative workspace, chat, blogs, wikis and more for corporate communities. Like other unified communications applications, Quad aims to enhance enterprise efficiency, setting it apart from consumer social networking technologies that are for catching up with old friends or posting pictures.

“If you think about the types of capabilities that any individual needs in the workplace to communicate with other people, we provide a full portfolio to take care of that. Everything from IP telephony, video conferencing like telepresence, WebEx, high-quality video, collaboration software and mobility—Quad fits neatly into that box of collaboration software,” said Leon Baranovsky, director of business development at Cisco.

“It’s software that enables people to work better together, both in a synchronous and asynchronous mode, he said. “We are taking the ability for people to create blogs, wikis and update their status, and combining that with an environment where they can share documents and interact with each other in real time.”

Quad’s enterprise social networking can be used from management to masses

As with consumer social networking applications, enterprise social networking aims to be a platform that can connect people from many different factions of life. In the enterprise world, that means creating a collaborative space where a C-level executive can share ideas with any employee.

“In any company, virtually every individual has more than one role. It can be hard for managers to figure out everything that people are doing, and it’s hard for people to interact with one another across the organization. So what we are doing is making it easier for people to work together and share information,” Baranovsky said.

Despite Cisco Quad technology hype, skepticism remains

Although Cisco preaches the wonder of Quad in the enterprise, Joe Rodella, president and CTO of RoData, a Cisco channel partner, questions whether the enterprise really needs social networking.

“With social networking, let’s not forget the key word being ‘social.’ I’m not sure what [role] the enterprise has in the in-and-out workings of people’s lives, but I think people will resist that,” Rodella said. “Don’t get me wrong, Quad is cool, but I don’t think the enterprise is the place for social networking.”

What's more, Quad isn't an easy sell or implementation, Rodella said. “Even if you want all these applications in one central portal, all the portal sites require significant amounts of customization to work in any enterprise, and I’m not sure Cisco are the specialists for that.”

Watch the video below to see a Cisco Quad demo led by Roberto D. De La Mora, senior director of IP communications, WorldWide Solutions Marketing–CMO for Cisco at Cisco Live 2011 in Las Vegas.

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