Cisco Blogs

Maximizing Unified Communications Investments through Enterprise Social Software

by Murali Sitaram, vice president and general manager, Cisco Enterprise Collaboration Platform

“Next generation workspace”, “desktop of the future”, the employee workbench”. These are the kinds of tems that we’re hearing customers, partners, and analysts talk about, and they all point to the rapid emergence of Enterprise Social Software as the next big collaboration market transition. For most organizations, when it comes to the adoption of ESS, the question isn’t if or when, but rather how. How will ESS integrate with their business processes? How will they get their people to change their behaviors and adopt a new way of getting work done? Above all, how will enterprise social software add value to (not replace) the collaborative tools and technologies in which they’ve already invested?

Most large enterprises have made significant investments in IP telephony systems, unified messaging, email, enterprise instant messaging, web, audio, and video conferencing, and even a number of standalone web 2.0 tools like wikis and blogs. Rather than adding yet another application to the list, Enterprise Social Software investments need to maximize the value of these investments by integrating them into a single experience for the end user, and augmenting them with social capabilities that will increase their usage.
The true business value of ESS in unlocked when it properly leverages investments in communications to make its discoveries actionable. As a simple example, an early use case for ESS is expertise location. Through a combination of network-driven capabilities like auto-tagging, search, and RSS feeds, a salesperson can automatically find the product specialist he or she needs to answer an important question for the customer. Once that expert is found, the ability to see their presence status, and instantly initiate a phone call, IM session, or web conference with them becomes incredibly powerful. Customers get answers to their questions in seconds versus days, sales cycles get reduced, and more business is generated for the company. It’s just one of the many examples of the kinds of things that are possible when you build your ESS strategy with existing UC investments in mind. As we’ve learned for ourselves at Cisco, strategic decisions in one area shouldn’t be made without the other area in mind, so as you think about where you’re headed with unified communications and/or enterprise social software, make sure you reach out to your collaboration counterparts to maximize the value of investments past, present, and future.

by Murali Sitaram, vice president and general manager, Cisco Enterprise Collaboration Platform

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.


  1. The ECP sounds very intriguing - what was not clear was whether it can be used to create intra-organizational networks of is it just for within organizations?I believe there is an enormous opportunity to develop private gated communities"" which borrow from social media capabilities and apply them to serious business communities - I would be interested in if ECP is capable of this type of functionality."