Eagle-eyed visitors to Cisco.com this weekend noticed a subtle but handy new enhancement: A new “My Cisco” button up at the top of almost every page. Click on this button, and it’ll unfurl into a useful toolkit that travels with you around the site. There’s a portable bookmarks feature that remembers your favorite Cisco.com locations across browsers and computers (handy in general and especially if you move from system to system a lot). And, there are some additional features you may see if you are working with a Cisco Partner (and, if you are a Cisco partner you’ll see even more interesting features).
Here’s a rundown: Features For Visitors or Customers Bookmarks: The bookmarks module lets you save helpful links and tools from Cisco.com, so you may access them from any computer anywhere. Why would you need this? Think about network administrators who travel from machine to machine and need to be able to quickly access frequented content on Cisco.com. Or anyone else who is constantly on the go. Customers and partners who’ve previewed this feature absolutely love it! All you need to save and edit bookmarks is a Cisco.com user ID. Partners: You may see a list here if you’ve been recently introduced to a partner via the “Let Us Help” chat function on Cisco.com. This is a feature that you’ll mostly see if you’re a small or medium-sized business. (Yes, it’s unusual for a small-business customer to have 4 different partners as shown in the picture, but this just illustrates how the function works. The names expand out into a kind of electronic business card.) Collaboration Spaces: If one of your Cisco Partners has invited you, you can join a private file sharing space with them. Features For Partners Bookmarks: This is the same functionality available to customers, but just as useful to those in partner organizations who are constantly on the go. Share Desktop: Partners can instantly share their desktops via WebEx technology right from the My Cisco module. Got a presentation to want to show to a customer now? Share it! Have a diagram where you really need to highlight and circle they key points? Share it! How cool is this?! Collaboration Spaces: This looks just like the customer’s collaboration list, but partners will usually have many more spaces since they can initiate invitations from the moment they log in. Collaboration Spaces are private and secure online storage locations for partners’ engagement-related files, templates, presentations, research papers, etc. As a partner, when you want to share files with customers or others in your extended project team, Collaboration Spaces enables you to invite others to join your space as members. All members can upload and download files, making it easy to organize, centralize, and collaborate with everyone involved with your or project. Why Web 3.0? Why the slightly hyperbolic headline? I think we’re on the verge of moving above Web 2.0 to something bigger: We’re about to experience a wealth of personalized, collaborative functions integrated (“mashed up” as in the case of My Cisco) into the existing web sites where most of us do most of our real work today (sites like Cisco.com). That collaboration, particularly in a private 1:1 business context, is something that brings new business value to the mashups, social networks, community, and connections that are the hallmarks of Web 2.0. I hate to think of Web 2.0 as something old and historic already, but I’m ready for Web 3.0 and the business collaboration it brings!