Cisco Powers Ahead in Enterprise UC Rankings

Microsoft drops back a place as UC leader

Cisco Powers Ahead in Enterprise UC Rankings

Cisco Systems’ on-premises Unified Communications solutions have leapfrogged Microsoft to take top billing in an influential industry review.

Industry advisory specialist Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications report places Cisco’s UC offering number 1 for completeness of vision and ability to execute, overtaking last year’s leaders Microsoft.

This report specifically analyzed the on-premises enterprise UC solutions offered by leading providers in the US. Smaller providers and cloud UC solutions were dealt with in separate reports.

Movers and Shakers

The ‘Magic Quadrant’ ranks provision according to two key criteria, completeness of vision and ability to execute, which are plotted against two axes. The position plotted against these two criteria determines which of four quadrants a company appears in – Leaders, Challengers, Visionaries and Niche Players.

Although the four names appearing in the Leaders quadrant held steady from last year’s report – Cisco, Microsoft, Mittel and Avaya – the drop from top spot will be seen as mark against Microsoft’s heavy investment in enterprise UC this year. Not only has the Windows brand giant leveraged its ownership of Skype to launch Skype for Business in place of its Lync business comms platform, it has added Cloud PBX to plug the gap in its telephony offering.

Cisco, on the other hand, seem to have capitalised from the trend towards all-in-one team communications platforms based on the style of social media messaging with the launch of Cisco Spark. It has also this year acquired the video collaboration platform Acano, again staying on top of the trend curve for how people are choosing to communicate in business.

Enterprise Under Pressure

In other moves, one big omission from the report is IBM, whose enterprise UC products have not been deemed worthy of inclusion this time around. In IBM’s place, Chinese tech firm Huawei continues its rise to global prominence by going straight into the Challenger quadrant, scoring highly on its products’ ability to deliver to sit alongside NEC and ALE.

In prefacing its findings, Gartner’s authors also argue that signs of the enterprise UC market maturing and consolidating around the big names is also an indication of the pressure the market is facing. With cloud and hybrid, UCaaS, contact centre and work stream collaboration services all challenging enterprise UC products in areas like user experience, mobility, interoperability and broad solution appeal, it warns to expect more and more cross-over while innovation gets driven by smaller niche entrants emerging from beneath.

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