Cisco and IBM Join Forces to Offer Intelligent Workplace of the Future
By Jim Lundy
On June 30th, Cisco and IBM announced a new partnership that combines both of their Collaboration offerings into what Aragon is referring to as an Intelligent Workplace Platform, powered by IBM Watson. This is a major move that puts others on notice and signals to all players that the days of closed work tools are over. This new partnership is being highlighted this week at Cisco Live.
Dissonance Between Technologies
The problem in the workplace today is the explosion of new work tools, especially when it comes to collaboration. Many of them do not work together, or they work together partially. The other issue that persists is that many of the tools are not automating work. Switching between tasks causes continuous interruptions that hinder productivity, which means work does not get done.
Cisco Spark, Webex and Telepresence Meets IBM Verse, Connections, and Watson
The new partnership means that both Cisco and IBM’s respective flagship collaboration offerings can now work together, in part because each provider offers robust APIs. Cisco’s strengths are in Real-time Collaboration and Communications, also called UCC. IBM brings its Verse Email and its Connections Social Business Platform. Watson will also power this new Intelligent Work Platform and this means new levels of automation and productivity.
IBM and Cisco Partnership Signals a New Era of Work
The bigger part of this announcement is that it signals the potential for a new era of vendor cooperation and integration for work platforms. This has been a long time coming. For the last 20 years, it has been more of a winner takes all approach for Collaboration offerings. The reality is that every provider has strengths and weaknesses. The power of platforms is that these strengths can be combined to create better, more focused offerings.
The other part of this partnership is the re-engagement of these two tech titans. This announcement comes on the heels of the IBM Watson IoT and Cisco Edge Integration that was announced on June 2, 2016.
Google and Microsoft Are Put on Notice
While execution is always the metric that measures any partnership like this, the bigger story is that the days of enterprises buying multiple products that don’t work together could be winding down. Microsoft and Google both battle every day to win enterprise deals for Collaboration-related work. Their products do not work well together.
With Cisco and IBM, enterprises now have more choices, but they also will have smarter work. Adding IBM Watson to the equation is a game changer. While Google and Microsoft are both working on intelligent digital assistants, Watson is available now.
We expect to hear more about this partnership at Cisco Live this week. The great opportunity for both firms is to unleash their respective partner networks to develop more focused intelligent work platforms.