Cisco’s cloud focuses on ISV ecosystem

By : |January 26, 2009 0

BANGALORE, INDIA: Shared networks, common APIs and a standard user interface, is Cisco’s answer to the cloud computing buzz in the industry. Kiran Datar, Managing Director, Cisco WebEx Technology Group, details Cisco’s initiatives on cloud computing in an interview with CIOL. Excerpts:

CIOL: What are Cisco’s plans for the cloud computing space?

Kiran Datar: The combination of escalating customer demands for more powerful collaborative solutions, the availability of more dynamic web services and the success of partner ecosystems have inspired Cisco to create the WebEx Connect platform for multidimensional and cross-organizational collaboration.

WebEx Connect will enable an ecosystem of ISVs to create new, composite applications that can be delivered on-demand via the web to support collaboration across multiple organizations.

The applications will reside on a shared network, leverage common APIs, utilize a standard user interface, permit business process integration and allow secure data access.

WebEx Connect will enable ISVs and developers to leverage rich development services to create a comprehensive set of on-demand collaboration, workflow integration and cross-organizational data access services.

An important differentiator of the WebEx Connect ecosystem is that it will not confine the targets or sources of data, nor require that all applications are “on-demand”, unlike other platforms that require data migration to a proprietary source.

It will also extract relevant data and content from existing on-demand or on premises applications, such as CRM and ERP, to allow workers to collaborate across departments and organizations.

In addition to leveraging the WebEx global service delivery network, applications and development platform, Connect partners and developers will gain access to the WebEx customer base of over 25,000 companies and nearly 2 million registered users, as well as the approximately 3.5 million people who use WebEx services every month.

CIOL: Do you see organisations migrating to a cloud computing environment in the near future? When do you see it happening?

KD: Companies of all sizes are contending with a combination of market trends which are forcing them to seriously reevaluate how they do business. These forces include growing globalization, lower customer loyalty and widening dispersion of today’s workforce.

With increasing globalization and mobility, as well as escalating competitive forces and corporate productivity requirements, corporations of all sizes have started to re-think how they should operate. At the same time, a combination of rapidly changing customer expectations and radically different technological advancements is driving a new generation of on-demand services which are transforming the way organizations operate and innovate.

We are still in the preliminary phase and it is only when the organisations are fully aware about the concept and ready to adopt the same is when usage of solutions on cloud computing will actually pick up.

CIOL: How do you think this concept will impact enterprises on the business front apart from saving costs on IT infrastructure?

KD: On-demand services and SaaS solutions capitalize on the ubiquity and real-time availability of the Web to deliver a new breed of business applications that offer greater collaboration and productivity features via a ‘pay-as-you-go’ subscription fee structure. These solutions also eliminate the infrastructure, installation, maintenance and support costs of the past.

Organizations no longer have to acquire additional hardware or hire additional staff to support their business requirements. Instead, the SaaS provider assumes this responsibility as a part of guaranteeing the availability and performance of its solutions.

With the rapid evolution of the SaaS movement, the primary focus of individual SaaS providers has been on developing specific point solutions which can be combined into broader, transaction-oriented packages.

CIOL: Dont you think security concerns will be paramount in a cloud environment?

KD: Data security remains the highest priority at WebEx, enabling WebEx to achieve its goal of providing the most efficient and secure online real-time communication service.

WebEx assigns data security the highest priority in the design, deployment and maintenance of its network, platform and applications, and its offerings meet the most stringent security requirements of businesses and government agencies so they can use WebEx services effectively and routinely, secure in the knowledge that their sessions are safe and private.

CIOL: By when do you see standardization of cloud computing platforms?

KD: The process of standardization of cloud computing platforms is likely to be an evolution that will take place over several quarters and years.

CIOL: What are the likely applications that organisations can move to the cloud?

KD: Horizontal applications involving standard requirements such as collaboration, CRM, HRM etc. are likely to move the cloud first as they have to be deployed in large numbers and require little customization.

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