If you’ve been following my blog, you are familiar with the collaboration journey that Cisco has been taking over the past three years. We launched our initial version of our collaboration platform, known then as the Integrated Workforce Experience powered by Cisco Quad, back in November 2010. Several releases have occurred since that time. But, this week, we believe we have truly crossed the threshold with our upgrade to WebEx Social – with a new name, new look and new experience for all Cisco employees globally.
A big part of the platform’s development has been employee feedback. Initial stages weren’t as fast, as usable or as simple as they could have been. So, we’ve responded to employees’ requests with WebEx Social—a platform we believe addresses many of the common issues and offers overall improvement to the user experience. Most importantly, we’ve created a single, unified, higher performing platform for communication and collaboration.
What’s equally fantastic is that WebEx Social also brings a new collaboration experience to customers. Cisco Quad, the platform powering IWE, has joined the WebEx product family and is now called WebEx Social, both internally and externally. The name WebEx Social reflects the convergence of Cisco collaboration solutions. All the products in the portfolio will have a common user interface and will work with each other to provide a powerful, unified experience for customers and employees.
One of the keys to WebEx Social’s enhanced performance is Cisco’s construction of a large content delivery network (CDN), which will enable the platform to distribute content more locally to users through multiple data centers located around the world. The CDN will continue to expand over the next year, resulting in even higher performance over time.
WebEx Social offers a number of new and enhanced capabilities—each designed to help employees do their jobs better and more efficiently. The platform’s key functionalities include:
- Email integration—Users can set personal preferences, create community posts and add comments to existing posts or community discussions – directly from their Outlook email.
- Posts—Three new templates have been added and users can post questions to experts based on expertise tags in profile.
- Search—Designed with a cleaner look and feel, users will see results for people, community and information above the fold.
- Communities—Managing community functions is easier and includes more capabilities.
- Application Changes—Application names are searchable and descriptions are available directly from the application ribbon.
- Self-Support Resources—WebEx Social Help offers improved navigation and an enhanced layout, as well as Chat Now support.
In addition, we’ve integrated even more transactional applications we call EasyApps @Work. Some examples of these apps are My Paid Time Off, My Expenses, My Approvals, “My Bugs” for Engineering and My Management Central for all managers.
For many of us, the movement of social networking into the workplace is uncharted territory—and a change that creates anxiety for some. But when you think about it, work really has become social. Which is why my advice is to start using these social technologies so that you can redefine your processes and allow greater social interaction, both internally across the enterprise and externally with your key constituents.