Cisco C-Scape - Day 1

Just wanted to get a quick post out about C-Scape 2011. Yesterday was an analyst-only session, so we were in our own world most of the day. The event kicks off in full form this morning, so I'll have more to say in my next post.

Our session yesterday was focused on collaboration, and more specifically the roles played by Jabber and WebEx. It was nice to devote this much time to collaboration, and it was great to hear - and discuss - their roadmap and vision about how these tools add value. Collaboration can mean a lot of things, and vendors tend to define it in terms of their offerings, but buyers already know that. In this forum, Cisco takes the network-centric view, so it's an inside-out approach, which makes IT happy. Contrasting that, though, is the struggle to meet rising expectations as employees keep bringing new personal devices to work and wanting to use them on the job.

We didn't drift too much over into social media - the focus was very much about enabling team work, often using video. Over the course of the sessions, we saw several on the fly demos using WebEx and demonstrating the Jabber interface, which incorporates just about everything you could ever need around presence and real time communications. The details were a bit much for me, but clearly, when all the pieces are integrated like this, the collaboration story becomes very strong.

Not surprsingly, the emphasis was on enterprise, so there wasn't much talk about this might play out for SMBs. That's fine - enterprise is Cisco's strong suit, and this is where the most money is spent. Inevitably, there was a lot of talk about Microsoft Office integration, and Android support with Cius, so it was impossible to avoid the other giants in the room. This leads me to another key takeaway, which was a repeated message about interoperability and open systems being key drivers for collaboration. Cisco has a lot riding on Cius gaining traction, and they know that no single vendor can truly do everything.

All told, the first day was well done, and it was great to get that much focus on an area that is so critical to Cisco's future. Time to go now, and get started on Day 2, which is where most of the activity will be during C-Scape. Back soon.