Cisco Systems (s CSCO) 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 (s msft) 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 (s GOOG) and Salesforce (s crm) — 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.