Cisco Signals Intent to Deliver New Collaboration Platform

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One of the fundamental problems with enterprise software today is that all the data and information we need to work with resides in any number of silos that are difficult to integrate.

Although Cisco's primary core competency is in networking, the company during a TelePresence conference hosted in New York today signaled its intention to bring to market a new application platform for integrating enterprise applications, including messaging applications, ERP systems, Web 2.0 applications such as Webex and Salesforce.com, videoconferencing systems such as TelePresence and enterprise portal systems.

Cisco is testing this new application, which it intends to commercially roll out late this year, across more than 10,000 internal Cisco employees. At the core of the new collaboration application is a single sign-on (SSO) service that Cisco has created to simplify identity management across any applications linked to the Cisco collaboration platform.

Cisco has been slowly moving into the collaboration space since it rolled out its first unified communications offering, so this new collaboration platform could be seen as a natural extension of that effort.

But at the same time this new collaboration platform is being positioned as a replacement for existing corporate intranet systems that are expensive to deploy, manage, maintain and integrate. By delivering what amounts to a packaged intranet application designed to integrate any number of data sources, Cisco is looking to redefine the definition of collaboration in the enterprise.

Currently, companies such as Microsoft, IBM and Oracle market corporate portals systems designed to integrate multiple applications and files under a common framework. But the Cisco platform takes the portal concept to the next level by integrating unified communications and subsets of Web 2.0 applications under a common user interface.