"Companies are fascinated with the potential benefits associated with social networking," he said. "They want to get their employees engaged on a deeper level and interacting with a wider range of others. Social networking can certainly do this, but most companies are worried about it being too social and not enough business... This is along the lines of something Google is pitching with their Wave platform, but, to me at least, Wave seems to be quite a bit more social than business. Cisco's product, on the other hand, looks to be geared to support business tasks and make it easier for employees to do their jobs."
Cisco Quad is set up to meld various tools into one platform. For instance, Quad is designed to let users microblog inside the platform with posts going out to colleagues who follow them. However, Sitaram pointed out that with a click, the in-house microblogs also can be posted on Twitter, the site that made microblogging a household name.
And for companies that don't want employees posting updates about certain topics outside of company "confines," they can set up rules in Quad that will limit users' ability to make outside posts about certain topics or even on certain days, Sitaram added.
Quad also includes a calendaring application, along with integration of voicemail messages, a Facebook-like feed of updates from colleagues that users have "befriended," workgroup communities, and a place where documents can be stored and made available for collaborative work. The platform also includes live video, recorded video storage, instant messaging, and email.
So colleagues can see Sitaram's updated Facebook-like postings, microbloggings, shared documents, and the communities of employees with whom he is working to get a better sense of who he is and his role within the company. "You have a sense of who I am," Sitaram said. "You have a sense of my blogs, what I've been doing, and even my reporting structure. You have a sense here of me."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is email@example.com. Read more about enterprise web 2.0/collaboration in Computerworld's Enterprise Web 2.0/Collaboration Topic Center.