IT in Social Software

Thinking IT Through

IT in Social Software

By David H. Yedwab, Founding Partner

Market Strategy and Analytics Partners LLC  |  August 01, 2010

This article originally appeared in the August 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

At the public launch of Quad, Cisco (News - Alert) Systems’ new enterprise collaboration platform, I had the opportunity to discuss it and the development process with Jim Grubb, the company’s vice president of corporate communications. This discussion followed a presentation about how Cisco’s IT department participated in the genesis of Quad by developing a collaboration platform for Cisco’s internal use – across the company. Cisco has a long history of Cisco on Cisco – using its own technologies to power its own business.

Jim may be better known as Cisco’s chief demonstration officer, providing fascinating demos supporting John Chambers’ (News - Alert) keynotes. And, actually, Quad has a long history in Jim’s demos, which frequently feature new tools being developed, tested and deployed for use within Cisco.

After being incubated within the Cisco IT shop, the concept ultimately became productized. Quad is about linking people, information and communities with an individual’s “My View” at its center. It is an extensible enterprise collaboration portal providing communities, enterprise search, micro-blogging, contacts, news feeds and alerts, and connections to unified communications capabilities such as voice, video, messaging, mail and IM. 

Accessible via the Web through most popular browsers, Quad couples the Cisco mantra of Connect – Communicate – Collaborate with the need to continuously learn. Certainly, Quad will evolve as early customers provide feedback through the company’s sales and partner teams.

Interestingly, the theme of IT involvement in the selection, implementation, culture transformation and deployment (not necessarily in that sequence) of social software within enterprises was a subtle topic percolating across the Enterprise 2.0 Boston conference (where Quad was launched). There were several sessions and lots of informal discussions touching on the role of IT in social software – and that’s certainly very different than the geeky advanced studies in computer science that populated my graduate school program, which talked about IT being involved in the culture of organizations. This could become a major theme/issue in the continued rollout of UC and collaboration solutions: How active should IT be in this next transformation of business communications and operations? Expect more discussions about this in the future. If your IT organization isn’t involved, change your plans quickly so that IT is not only involved but at least a co-lead; otherwise, your future will be determined by others – and that never bodes well.

David Yedwab, a technology marketing industry veteran with more than 25 years experience providing business strategy advice to major tech firms, writes the Thinking It Through column for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi