Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications 2011

August 11 2011 Gartner released the yearly Magic Quadrant for 2011 for the Unified Communications Segment. Here is a short summary of the report

The trend within Unified Communications (UC)

  • The Enterprise UC market has matured significantly since the previous report
  • The vendors now have
    – Seamless interoperability within the suite
    – The administration is more centralized
    – The deployment is even more easy than before
  • Gartner recommends to mix vendors for best-of-breed functionality
  • Single vendor still achieves acceptable functionality

The Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications 2011

Analysis: What has happened since last year?
Compare with last years post:

  1. Microsoft is still in the lead having the vision and being able to execute on it
    • Releasing Lync has strengthened their telephony offering
    • Office 365 with Lync Online have given them an edge in the UCaaS segment
    • The Skype acquisition will improve the Lync family offering even more
  2. Cisco is closer than ever
    • Got a more integrated approach with their UC 8.x release
    • Successfully integrated Tandberg with existing telepresence solution
  3. Avaya has the same position as last year
    • Improved on existing functionality
    • Added the Flare gesture oriented user interface
  4. Alcatel-Lucent have jumped from challenger to the leader quadrant
    • Advanced their portfolio and have to prove that they can deliver
  5. Siemens Enterprise Communications has taken a minor step from visionary to a visionary leader
    • Advanced their portfolio and have to prove that they can deliver

My take on this

As a Microsoft Unified Communications Architect it is good to see that the vendor of my primary focus is the market leader. I agree that Lync was a big step regarding voice and that Lync Online will be a good extension of Lync on-premise. Working in Atea we focus on vendor interoperability. Having even more vendors in the leader quadrant makes it equally more difficult for our customers to find the best solution.

Gartner says:“Using multiple vendors to offer users best-of-breed functionality in all UC areas, will also allow migration of existing investments”

This statement is very true and will demand an even broader vendor focus from the partners implementing UC. I am happy that Atea have this broad scope of competency and can design and deploy best-of-breed functionality based on Microsoft, Cisco and Avaya combined with third-party solutions.

Here is what Gartner says about Microsoft

Lync 2010 offers a full suite of UC functionality. Although the real-time functions in Lync — including voice, telephony, video and related conferencing — are not as mature as other functions (such as IM/P and Web conferencing, email and UM), they have improved significantly over the previous version, which was known as Office Communications Server 2007 R2. Microsoft has developed a strong
set of technology and service partners that offer a growing ecosystem.

Microsoft offers a visionary approach for addressing enterprise communication and collaboration requirements. Enterprises looking into UC should consider the Microsoft solution and, at a minimum, understand the vision and how solutions of this type might change their business processes. Enterprises considering deploying Lync telephony and video should understand its limitations and infrastructure requirements.

  • Microsoft has had an impressive and growing list of Lync and Exchange UM deployments, from small (fewer than 300) to midsize to very large (more than 10,000) enterprises, in both centralized and distributed configurations. Although a few of the deployments report that they have completely eliminated their PBXs, most current deployments use Lync for some employees, while other employees and functions remain on the PBX. Microsoft’s pending Skype acquisition offer, along with the Lync Online and the Office 365 cloud service offerings, suggest that Lync will mature as a comprehensive and hybrid UC product.
  • Companies report that, once deployed, Lync functions can be integrated into business processes and applications, providing new, different and effective ways to perform tasks. In some cases, these new functions are achieved by deploying Lync enhancements from a growing list of ecosystem partners.
  • Microsoft has better positioned Lync to compete in telephony markets by adding several partner telephone handsets, by bundling of basic Lync functions in the Core client access license (CAL) and by offering a specific Lync Voice CAL.
  • Enterprise planners should understand that Lync’s telephony and video functionality is new and has seen fewer deployments than traditional PBX vendors. As a result, in many cases, a phased or trial deployment approach may be an effective way to ensure that the system and the underlying network provide the needed functionality, quality and performance.
  • Most enterprises that integrate Lync with existing PBXs have done so via direct SIP trunking. Gartner research indicates that there are few reports of successful deployments based on a tight client-side or server-side integration. The difficulty is likely to result from the newness of the solution and the competitiveness of the UC market.
  • Although the bundling associated with Lync 2010 is positive for addressing basic users, Microsoft needs to support more integrations with front-office capabilities, such as contact center and switchboard functionality, to develop this product as an overall replacement for legacy communications infrastructures.

Read the full report here:
Also read a good review here:
Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications: UC integration improves:

7 thoughts on “Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications 2011

  1. Hi Ståle,

    This is a very nice and thorough analysis from the Microsoft point of view. I like you blog and find it useful. Very good work.

    I did an interview with a Cisco executive and asked for their comments on the Gartner MQ for UC 2011, if you want to take a look you can find it on my blog.

    Best regards, Kaijus

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