We speak to UCaaS market leaders about the MQ
The Gartner Magic Quadrant is one of the most well-respected reports in the communication and collaboration space. Every year, companies fight for a chance to be listed in one of the significant segments of the report, from leaders to challengers, niche players, and visionaries.
This year’s Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service was just as exciting as ever. In the latest report, Gartner even suggested that 40% of all telephony purchases by 2023 will be made through a cloud-based suite. As a result, various aspects of the MQ changed to focus on the new nature of the marketplace. For instance, up until recently, Cisco and Microsoft weren’t featured as front-runners of the UC market. However, this year, both companies have gained ground.
The question is, what does the changing Magic Quadrant report mean to the UCaaS industry and the vendors that excel in it? We spoke to some of the market leaders to be featured in the report this year from Dialpad, StarBlue, RingCentral, LogMeIn, and Fuze to find out more.
As the Magic Quadrant and its guidelines continue to transform, we were keen to find out whether businesses still give the same degree of weight to a position on Gartner’s report. For years, a spot on the MQ has been one of the most sought-after accolades in the UC market, but what does it mean to 2019’s featured brands?
The Senior Director for Product Marketing at RingCentral, Sunny Dhami, told us that RingCentral was “delighted” to appear as a leader in the Magic Quadrant for UCaaS for the fifth year in a row. “We see this annual recognition as a testament to our relentless focus on empowering businesses to better serve their customers while improving employee and business efficiency.”
According to Dhami, RingCentral saw a considerable jump to its position on the MQ this year, driven by things like the company’s expanded global footprint and the increased scale of sales the business has seen. “We are humbled and honored to receive this kind of recognition.”
The CEO of Dialpad, Craig Walker, told us that being in the UCaaS MQ is valuable for a lot of reasons. The accolade is a stamp of approval for the company’s leadership in the UCaaS industry, validating the team’s work and highlighting the innovation at the core of the brand. “The MQ lends credibility to everything we’ve already accomplished and what we’ve set our sights on.”
Walker also noted that Gartner is a well-regarded brand in the industry, with a name that corresponds to quality and trust. Additionally, Gartner analysts can now recommend Dialpad as a vendor of choice to prospective buyers, and Dialpad’s sales leaders can use the same accolade to stand out.
“Having Dialpad featured by Gartner lends itself to conversations with prospects and gives us a leg up. Prospects have even more trust in us to deliver high-quality audio, visual and voice intelligence across platform deployment, product ease of use, ROI, and more.”
Joe Roche Head of Marketing at Blueface (here representing StarBlue, comprising Star2Star and Blueface), noted that 6 years of being featured in the Gartner Magic Quadrant had given greater credibility and trust to the StarBlue business. The brand today can now really stand out among partners and customers. What’s more, the Magic Quadrant covers the full and saturated UCaaS industry. Being one of the only recognised businesses in the report positions Starblue as a market leader.
“In addition to industry credibility, the report provides self-auditing, industry analysis, competitive analysis and product outlay analysis, providing focus and strategic insights. In short, inclusion in the Gartner Magic Quadrant positions Starblue as a market-leader in Unified Communications in rarified air.”
Mark Strassman, Senior VP and General Manager of UCC for LogMeIn, said that in 2018 when the company acquired Jive Communications, the business was evolving with the goal of becoming a leader in the UCC space. Recognition from the Gartner UCaaS Magic Quadrant suggests that LogMeIn is making progress towards that goal. In just one year, the company has managed to earn the title of “Challenger.”
“This is our first year in the Magic Quadrant, and we believe that it will help get our new fully integrated UCC product, GoToConnect, in front of IT leaders”
LogMeIn feels that its position in the Magic Quadrant will help it to plant its flag squarely in the UCC space.
According to Eric Hansen, VP Product Marketing of Fuze, Gartner is still one of the leading information tech research and advisory companies in the world, with a team of expert industry analysts on board. The business has the potential to understand the enterprise space and have influence over the way the UCaaS environment evolves.
“As UCaaS goes mainstream with larger organisations, Gartner’s influence will also increase. Fuze values that expertise and closely collaborates with the UCaaS analyst team.”
Every year, the Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS changes and evolves, driven by the new demands in the marketplace, the ever-changing buyer journey, and the transformation of technology. That means that a position in the MQ one year won’t guarantee you a space in the years to come. Companies that want to hold onto their accolades will need to have a plan in place for improving on and maintaining their position in the Magic Quadrant every year.
We asked our market leaders how they plan to hold onto their position from 2019, and how they’ve maintained their space (were relevant) so far.
Sunny Dhami, Senior Director of Product Marketing and GTM for RingCentral:
According to Sunny, RingCentral believes that their solution is an industry-leading offering in a number of crucial categories. The scalable and robust UC application for calling, messaging, and meetings appeals to a wide variety of customers. Additionally, the strong developer ecosystem and ability to support large enterprises makes the RingCentral offering more accessible. What’s more, the API and SDK capabilities of RingCentral means that businesses can transform their offering however they see fit.
“As much as we are proud of what our product can do, it’s the overall customer experience that matters most. RingCentral empowers employees to Work as One from any location, on any device, and via any mode to better serve their customers, improving business efficiency and customer satisfaction.” Dhami noted that RingCentral’s ability to improve its MQ position, which means expanding on completeness of vision and ability to execute, is something the business continually strives for.
“It’s great to have an independent third party industry analyst firm that can assess vendors in these key areas and help shape the future direction of our industry”
Craig Walker, CEO of Dialpad:
Dialpad’s CEO said that the goals of the company haven’t changed in recent years, even as the marketplace evolves. Fortunately, Gartner examines the potential of companies in its Magic Quadrant on the critical aspects that Dialpad also prioritises.
“We’ll continue to show growth in our customer base — number of customers and users overall — as well as expand geographically. Importantly, we believe our product innovation will continue to lead, too”
When it comes to improving its position with Gartner specifically, Dialpad is looking forward to building new relationships with the analysts there and making sure they have first-hand access to everything that Dialpad’s products and services have to offer.
Joe Roche of StarBlue said that the merger of Star2Star and Blueface was a huge step forward for the brand. The combined entity created an fantastic technological and staffing synergy to pave the way for StarBlue’s incredible geographic expansion. Refining the design-driven self-service portal with a focus on UX and feature functionality for wholesalers and end customers has increased engagement too.
“Localisation features have been augmented to support global CSPs – such as Hutchison Global Communications (HGC) in AsiaPAC – to deliver White-label UCaaS services anywhere. This includes expansive numbering options, new data centre PoPs, new languages, multi-currency billing engine integration, and partner-channel management tiers.” Roche also pointed out that Starblue has reallocated its internal marketing staff from direct business to go-to-market agency for UCaaS entrants.
“Custom, branded sales, marketing, operational, and support white-label collateral branded collateral has expedited the client’s speed to market entry and overall product visibility.”
Mark Strassman of LogMeIn said that 2019 marks the first year that LogMeIn has appeared in the Magic Quadrant for its GoTo portfolio of collaboration products. The recent addition of the UCC platform “GoToConnect” is a great step forward for LogMeIn. “GoToConnect brings together the power and reliability of market-leading meeting solution, GoToMeeting, with Jive’s cloud telephony system to provide exceptional video, audio, web conferencing, as well as visual voicemail, messaging and more in one application.”
According to Strassman, in the short time since the GoToConnect solution has launched, the company has already made significant updates and improvements to it. Some of the items that Gartner addressed as “cautions” in their report have already been addressed. For instance, GoToConnect is expanding into the EMEA region next month.
Eric Hansen, VP Product Marketing at Fuze
Fuze’s Eric Hansen told us that the company is regularly recognised for its continued pace of innovation. To hold onto its position in the Magic Quadrant, Fuze will continue to invest in its UCaaS portfolio and the supporting services that it has to offer today’s consumers.
“Fuze is focused on growing the company in partnership with large organisations looking to move away from legacy solutions to digitally transforming their businesses, globally”
Accolades like the Gartner Magic Quadrant aren’t just there to make today’s UCaaS brands feel good about themselves. These reports can also be valuable sources of guidance for customers and companies in search of the right solution for their own UCaaS services. Today’s business leaders still turn to reports like the Magic Quadrant for help choosing the right tools.
We asked our market leaders how much of an impact they think that Gartner’s reports have on buyer’s and decision makers when it comes to choosing UCaaS services.
RingCentral told us that the Gartner Magic Quadrant is a trusted resource in the modern marketplace for IT leaders and CIOs. “Enterprise customers making strategic technology buying decisions rely on the Gartner Magic Quadrant to take the guesswork out of identifying the right vendors. What speaks volumes about the Magic Quadrant and UCaaS services is the fact that Gartner has decided to sunset their on-premises unified communications Magic Quadrant report. It’s a sign of the times, and it acknowledges that the market is moving to the cloud in this space. ”
According to Sunny, if you’re a business hoping to invest in the UCaaS space this year, then the Magic Quadrant is a great place to start doing your research. The analysts at Gartner thoroughly review the technology, vision, and roadmap associated with each product that they evaluate. What’s more, they also speak with customers to understand how businesses use each product. “Their combined insights allow prospective customers to see where vendors stand in comparison to others and assess if a certain vendor’s technology will work for them. ”
CEO of Dialpad, Craig Walker agrees with the idea that Gartner and the Magic Quadrant still have a massive impact on today’s buyer decisions. Walker told us that the Magic Quadrant brings gravitas to the sales conversation. The company is a respected name in the enterprise, and any association with the Magic Quadrant gives today’s businesses more credibility.
“As we continue to grow our enterprise customer base, this only serves as a positive. More specifically, we’re looking forward to wider access to formal RFP processes and channel deals this could bring, which we may not have been exposed to before. ”
StarBlue’s Joe Roche noted that the Gartner Magic Quadrant has an impact on buyer decisions in various ways. For instance, enterprise clients often seek out “GMQ UCaaS suppliers to ensure that they get a superlative offering. As the GMQ covers many metrics vital to enterprise IP communications – voice, video, oversight, collaboration tools – the GMQ is an excellent reference point for market-leading products.”
Additionally, as technology partners become a key differentiator in today’s communication world, channel partners also take the GMQ seriously when making their decisions. The Gartner Magic Quadrant measures reliability of support and voice service – points that are paramount to a delivery partner.
“As many partners deliver products from suppliers without exclusivity, accessibility to serve their customers is a key engagement tool. This is outlined with GMQ inclusion”
Joe also noted that CSPs large enough to add a white-labeled cloud comms platform will also refer to the GMQ. Because of this inclusion in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS is increasingly crucial.
LogMeIn told us that it’s still crucial for businesses to be included in the Magic Quadrant if they want to stand out from the crowd. Inclusion in the MQ signals that a business is operating at a scale that’s crucial to today’s enterprises. It also suggests that you have the functionality and feature requirements to match the demands of modern businesses.
“Enterprise IT leaders are looking at reports like the Magic Quadrant to evaluate vendors so that they can find a collaboration solution that offers a single-pane-of-glass management, and the ability to consolidate multiple tools (telephony, audio, video, web conferencing, messaging etc) with a single vendor, in a single solution for maximum ROI. This need is exactly why we built GoToConnect.”
Fuze noted that today, Gartner has more than 10,000 enterprise clients across over 100 countries. With each report that Gartner publishes, it helps those customers to enjoy a better, more informed buyer journey when choosing new technology. For some companies, UCaaS is still a confusing and uncharted territory, and Gartner can help to offer a useful education on the landscape.
Gartner’s MQ also provides “advice on key considerations for migrating from an organisation’s legacy state to a desired future state.”
As exciting and valuable as the Gartner Magic Quadrant might be, it’s important to note that many companies still don’t believe that this report is perfect. Everyone has a different approach to their UCaaS strategy, and Gartner’s report might reflect the buying requirements and considerations of every business.
We asked the leaders in our roundtable what they would change about the Magic Quadrant if they could alter just one thing.
Sunny Dhami of RingCentral told us that the product vision of the company is to provide a single cloud-based communications environment to support customer and employee engagement. RingCentral wants to develop an environment that least to increased profitability for businesses, and greater customer satisfaction. “This use case of combined UCaaS and CCaaS deployments from a single vendor is something we see more of. Particularly among our mid-market and large enterprise customers, there is considerable adoption of combined UCaaS and CCaaS because customers want a complete and best of breed solution.”
Dhami told us that RingCentral believes that those two worlds coming together is an important opportunity not just for companies like RingCentral, but for the MQ too. It’s a chance for the Magic Quadrant to look more closely at this emerging trend and show more examples of this use case in their report.
Dialpad’s CEO told us that Dialpad would like to see Gartner drilling more in-depth into the innovators in the marketplace today and highlighting some of the forward-thinking work that they do. “What new and interesting applications are brands exploring? What use cases could this open up? It’s valuable to focus on the future, what the state of the industry will be — not what trends dictated success and growth in the past. Enterprise businesses can be a bit set in their ways, but innovators are breaking up that status quo and it’s a good thing! ”
Similarly, Walker also said that it would be interesting to see the growth of a company weighted more heavily than it currently is. “Just because a company has been around longer and is larger, it doesn’t make them better. Those brands that are improving the customer experience and are shaping the future are the ones to watch. ”
StarBlue’s Joe Roche said that his company believes that technological agility is a crucial differentiator in the UCaaS space. Over the years, a failure to adapt a product to the needs of the marketplace has been seriously problematic to brands. “Starblue’s UCaaS Platform is built with feature-modularity and platform flexibility in mind. In the past year alone, Starblue has added Contact Centre, Video Conferencing, Screen Sharing, Analytics and myriad geographic delivery features to our offering.”
StarBlue believes that 2020 will be a time when it will be able to continue showing its product agility. According to Roche, “We believe product foresight and agility is a core tenet of market leading UCaaS.”
Senior VP from LogMeIn, Mark Strassman said that his company believes that the Magic Quadrant for UCaaS provided by Gartner this year is doing things correctly. “Gartner made the decision earlier this year to retire the Unified Communications Magic Quadrant in favor of the UCaaS Quadrant. As a company born in the cloud, we believe this shift was the right one given the rise of cloud and decline of on-premise solutions.”
Eric Hansen, VP Product Marketing at Fuze
Eric Hansen from Fuze agrees that the Magic Quadrant is moving in the right direction for UCaaS this year. The company told us that the decision to shift in the past year to focus on vendors that offer their own standalone UCaaS offerings was a positive development. Fuze believes that this step forward provides a clearer view of the UCaaS market for today’s buyers.
“While the request for business and technical information is detailed, Gartner’s process could benefit from a prescribed and in-depth technical demonstration that consistently measures the products evaluated in the UCaaS MQ. ”