Cisco Brings WebEx Online Apps to Broader Audience

With its acquisition of WebEx complete, Cisco looks to expand the WebEx online applications presence in multiple directions.

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With its acquisition of WebEx recently completed, Cisco is now considering how to expand the WebEx online applications presence in multiple directions.

To date WebEx has developed some 13 meeting-centric online applications aimed at improving collaboration among specific groups within and between organizations. The companys specialized application suites account for 70 percent of its revenues, pegged last year at $380 million.

Along with its Meeting Center, Sales Center, Support Center and Event Center collaboration applications, among others rolled out over the last seven years, WebEx in September introduced the WebEx Connect platform, which represents "a whole new line of collaboration applications integrating people, process and data into brand-new applications," said Chief Marketing Officer Rick Faulk, in Santa Clara, Calif.

WebEx Connect, still in beta testing, pulls together Unified Communications, Web meetings, presence, document management and other functions to allow individuals to integrate the applications they use on a daily basis. The app also integrates third party-products from some of WebExs 25 partners.

But while the company to date has some 60 percent market share in the online collaboration and meeting space—dominating competitors such as Microsoft with Live Meeting and Citrix with its GoToMeeting offerings—market penetration is still very small compared with the overall opportunity, according to Faulk.

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WebEx to date has some 29,000 customers, mostly among small and midsize businesses, and it is growing at about 20 percent a year. It has a very small presence outside the United States.

Thats where Cisco will play a major role in helping the business to expand, Faulk said. "Cisco has a much wider footprint outside the U.S. than we do. And Cisco has a very significant reach into the channel," which WebEx plans to exploit, according to Faulk.

WebEx also expects to leverage Ciscos direct sales organization to try to move into larger enterprises with its suite of online applications. To date the company has had little exposure among Fortune 500 companies.

WebEx will also be a key part of Ciscos overall Unified Communications strategy, although the details of that integration are only now being worked out.

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