News Analysis - Cisco Sets Aim at Collaboration Crown with New Product Launches


At the annual Cisco Collaboration Analyst and Consultant Summit in San Francisco, the vendor announced 61 new products and shared an ambitious vision for enterprise collaboration. Although this market is still in its infancy, Cisco’s key competitors will be hard pressed at this stage to present a similarly comprehensive end-to-end portfolio.

Beyond updating its core Unified Communications (UC) lineup, product additions include WebEx Mail, a hosted e-mail offering with full Outlook support, and WebEx Engage, a feature that allows Cisco TelePresence customers to include remote meeting participants via the hosted conferencing service. The vendor is also expanding into social networking, through products such as the Enterprise Collaboration Platform, a portal solution that helps manage user communities and information flow, and Cisco Pulse, a network-based social tagging and search engine.

Jayanth Angl, senior research analyst, notes that many of the emerging categories (including enterprise social software) that Cisco is investing in will still take time to gain traction with customers. However, he believes that the vendor’s efforts to push forward into new areas are consistent with a broader market strategy and that its objectives to lead the collaboration market will be greatly aided by its infrastructure strengths.

“Although Cisco is entering new territory, its networking products, experience, and market share will work to its benefit in the coming years,” said Angl. “In particular, its strong track record and positioning in enterprise IP communications, including voice and video, will support this rapidly growing collaboration portfolio.”

Angl adds that Cisco does face considerable competition in the enterprise UC and collaboration market, mostly notably from the likes of Microsoft, IBM, and Avaya. In addition, HP’s recently announced acquisition of 3Com threatens to put increased pressure on the vendor’s core networking business.

Nonetheless, Cisco’s strong financial standing in recent years has allowed it to continue the expansion of its solution portfolio, including through acquisition. Notable acquisitions in recent years include WebEx in 2007, and PostPath and Jabber Inc. in 2008. The vendor also has an outstanding acquisition offer for videoconferencing vendor TANDBERG, for which it has recently increased its bid to $3.4B and extended its acceptance deadline to December 1.

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