Cisco To Offer Quad Platform As Hosted Service Through Partners

Cisco is also updating the Quad software and debuting a mobile application for use with Cisco's Android-based Cius tablet. The networking leader will initially partner with Xerox-owned ACS in the United States and Canada, Logicalis UK in Europe, and Alphawest in Australia to deliver Quad as-a-service. Capgemini, which partners with Cisco as a systems integrator, will also offer consulting to customers on how to deploy Quad in their organizations.

Quad, which was officially unveiled in June 2010, is a software platform that includes various unified communications (UC) functions, as well as social networking tools for business to enable everything from microblogging to document sharing, video and policy controls. Cisco's argument, as explained to CRN last fall, is that many existing company intranets are static and inflexible, and that Cisco Quad takes collaboration beyond individual tools such as audioconferencing or telepresence to create a unified suite, while also extending those tools to mobile devices.

Cisco's Murali Sitaram, vice president and general manager for Cisco's enterprise collaboration platform, promised last fall that Cisco would promote Quad's use as part of private cloud infrastructure in the new year, as well as offer it in a "by-the-drink" model as part of hosted collaboration services.

As of Monday's announcement, Quad can now be offered as an on-premise deployment that customers control and manage themselves, or as a partner-hosted, partner-managed offering. According to Cisco, Quad's customer targets include midmarket companies with 1,000 employees and up, as well as larger enterprises.

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"Since we introduced Cisco Quad last year, we've taken many steps to make it the most flexible and adaptable social software platform on the market," Sitaram said in a statement Monday. "With proven global partners delivering hosted and implementation services, we will be able to help our customers accelerate adoption and realize business benefits more quickly."

Quad 2.5, the latest release of the software, includes pre-built integrations with a range of content management and instant messaging platforms from Cisco partners EMC, Microsoft and IBM, including EMC Documentum, Microsoft SharePoint and IBM Sametime. The mobile application works with Cius, the Cisco tablet that began sales through select channel partners in late March, as well as Apple's iPhone and iPad and other mobile devices.

The selection of ACS as Cisco's initial partner in the U.S. and Canada also means the relationship between Cisco and Xerox, ACS' parent company, continues to tighten. Cisco and Xerox last month formed an alliance to bring managed print, mobile print and cloud IT outsourcing services through the channel.

"Our clients will see immediate benefits from Quad," said Nagesh Kunamneni, chief technology officer, ITO Strategy & Service Management at ACS, in a statement. "There is a complex process involved in integrating systems into a collaboration platform and to shifting business culture to adopt new services."