Enterprise 2.0 hit Boston this week and a number of announcements were made surrounding enterprise collaboration and the blurring of boundaries between the social and enterprise 2.0 environments.

Two announcements in particular caught my eye: Cisco’s unveiling of its much-anticipated Quad collaboration platform and Jive Software’s partnership with Twitter.

Cisco’s Quad is due to be launched in 2011 and the platform brings together voice, video and social networking into a single workspace that can be accessed via desktops, the iPhone or iPad. According to Derek Downs, INX VP of advanced integration services at Cisco:

“Cisco Quad allows us to work out of one environment that brings all of the other applications, tools and content to the forefront when they are relevant to a meeting or a business process. It enables workers within our company to have relevant content and resources pushed to them automatically versus having them spend so much time trying to find the right document, person or information.”

Now to Jive Software. The company is licensing the Twitter Firehose, giving Jive customers real-time access to more than 65 million tweets a day. The theory behind the new offering, accessed via Jive Market Engagement, is that companies can monitor all online conversations that could impact their brand.

So what should we make of these stories? At Huddle, we have long been vocal about the benefits of giving employees access to a fully integrated suite of collaborative tools in a single online space, so it’s great to see technology giant Cisco starting to agree and validating enterprise 2.0.

However, there is a vital element of collaboration that Quad and Jive appear to be missing: intercompany collaboration, the whitespace between businesses. While it’s important to break down the silos of communications that exist within a number of organizations, where people communicate solely with other people on their team or in their department, what about the barriers of communication that have formed between companies? We need to move away from focusing on just collaboration within a single business and look beyond the office walls. Organizations work with customers, partners and suppliers on a daily basis and can no longer afford to have communication and collaboration stop at the firewall.

Yes, monitoring conversations about your business online and keeping information flowing efficiently within your business are both extremely important, but it’s time companies started looking outwards…

Alastair Mitchell

Co-founder


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