So why did Cisco buy Versly?

Cisco CEO John Chambers.

Cisco Systems announced Monday that it was buying a little-known collaboration software company, Versly, for an undisclosed amount. Versly makes it easy to collaborate inside the Microsoft Office products, though it’s not clear who its customers are. The way I see it, this is more of a talent and knowledge acquisition vs a product/market focused acquisition.

Now, like Cisco, we have long been believers that broadband-based collaboration is a transformational idea for companies and individuals. The San Jose, Calif.-based routing giant made collaboration a big area of focus when it bought WebEx and a slew of other companies. However, its collaboration plans have fallen short of its target.

Many of Cisco’s competitors — for instance, Google and Salesforce — are pretty far along in their efforts, and Cisco needs to catch up. It seems Cisco is looking to jump-start its efforts, and for that, it needs a team with deep understanding of collaboration and software-as-a-service business model.

I would rate this acquisition a “B+” for Cisco. Versly seems to be a good start, thanks to a pretty good group of executives who will soon be joining Cisco. That said, I do think Cisco needs more than just this team.

Versly is roughly two years old and has received funding from the likes of 500 Startups and Accel Partners along with a group of angels.  It was originally called TaskDock. It had been building Atlasssian Confluence add-ons for a while before focusing on this new market.

Have you tried or used Versly? If yes, please share your thoughts with us.


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