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Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Unified Communications (UC) Emphasizes Keys to Competitiveness

Posted by Kevin Gulley

Aug 3, 2016

2016_Enterprise_UC_Magic_Quadrant.pngIn case you haven't checked it out yet, Gartner's 2016 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications came out recently and we wanted to give you a quick overview. The focus of this report is enterprise unified communications (UC) solutions that are intended for on-premises deployment.  MIdsize Enterprises, UCaaS and critical UC capabilities are covered in different reports.  

For those of you looking for the bottom line, there are no new additions or exits from the 'leaders' quadrant. The leaders hold steady with Cisco, Microsoft, Mitel and Avaya staying in place due to their completeness of vision and ability to execute. One major takeaway is that Cisco has overtaken Microsoft as the overall leader and exceeds them on both those fronts. This is impressive considering the major strides Microsoft has made since last year with the transition of Lync to Skype for Business, the addition of Cloud PBX (lack of telephony was the primary knock against them last year) and Cloud Connector for allowing for hybrid telephony deployments.   Adding to their mature UC platform, my guess is the recent additions of Cisco Spark and the acqusition of Acano and the video capability and scale that provides made the difference.  

Addtional movers and shakers: Mitel has overtaken Avaya for third.  Unify moved into the 'visionaries' quadrant, while Shortel fell back to 'niche player' status and IBM went from visionary to 'no longer in the report'.  Ouch.  ALE (Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise) and NEC are both still solidly in the 'challengers' quadrant, and Interactive Intelligence joins Shoretel in the niche player category. Newcomer Huawei rounds things out with an entrance into the 'challengers' quadrant.

How Enterprise UC Vendors are Remaining Compeitive 

It seems like the enterprise UC space is only for the big boys right these days.  As Gartner explains it:

... the stakes in the enterprise UC market are exceedingly high, because the market is mature and overall growth has slowed. As a result, vendors that do not perform well will experience negative growth and revenue losses, leading them to exit the market. The stakes for enterprise decision makers are also high, due to the significant cost, visibility and business impact of their choices.

With stakes high, customers are going to insist on capabilties in six key areas:  Telephony (fixed, mobile and soft telephony), conferencing (multiparty voice, video and web), messaging (email, voicemail, UM), IM / Presence, clients (thick, thin, mobile, embedded), communications-enabled business processes (basically API's).  

According to Gartner, there are four characteristics that will have an impact on user satisfaction and upon which vendors will be measured, including: User experience (intuitiveness, effectiveness, adoption), mobility (full uc capability, video), interoperability (federation, WebRTC), broad solution appeal (beyond IT to internal project teams).  

They also make the case that adjacent markets and solutions are influencing how UC is evolving and that enterprise UC vendors will need to deliver capabilities in these areas to succeed.  Some of the key ones include: Cloud and hybrid integration, contact center (more on how UC is merging with contact center), work stream collaboration (capabilites like Slack or Basecamp), video as a service (like Univago and CafeX's Chime), and megabundles (think UC as part of Office 365).

There's no doubt that enterprise UC is going to be around for awhile, but as we covered recently, UCaaS is quickly making inroads into the enterprise space.   What are your thoughts?  How long until even the enterprises are moving their entire communications stack to the cloud?  Let us know in the comments section below and check out the entire report here.


Topics: UC Industry, Cisco, Gartner, Avaya, Skype for Business

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