With over 6.8 million users of the WebEx platform to its credit, the second largest software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform on the market after Salesforce.com actually belongs to Cisco.
At the Cisco Collaboration Summit today Cisco is looking to not only gain recognition for its cloud computing efforts, it’s extending the reach of its collaboration offerings into the private cloud. The company today announced that it is making a private cloud version of Webex, called Cisco WebEx Meetings Server, available to both enterprise customers and business partners that want to host instances of WebEx.
In addition, Cisco is finally delivering on a much-anticipated integration between WebEx and its high-definition TelePresence videoconferencing offering, which should provide a more holistic approach to unifying communications across the enterprise. Cisco announced that it is extending the capabilities of the platform to be able to use high-definition Cisco TelePresence technology to more easily connect with both internal and external users, deploy a contact center software based on Cisco TelePresence, and invoke a “rendezvous conferencing” capability that allows users to create their own permanent bridge they can use any time versus having to make an appointment to use the service.
According to Eric Schoch, general manager of Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Business Unit, Cisco is essentially extending WebEx to not only take better advantage of Cisco TelePresence, the company is looking to create a federated unified communications experience that spans Cisco, third-party providers of unified communications service and the enterprise. Schoch says that with the advent of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, it’s becoming clearer that end users need access to unified communications services wherever they happen to be at any given moment. Servicing that need requires the creation of a larger WebEx ecosystem of services, says Schoch.
As interest in all-things collaboration continues to rise, IT organizations are being asked to find ways to increase productivity across the organization. By and large that means finding ways that allow employees to more broadly communicate with each other and customers in a way that ultimately reduces the time it takes to drive a particular business outcome. Given the fact that all business is personal, that ultimately means investing in a richer set of unified communications services.