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Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications

Fuente: Gartner: Comunicaciones Unificadas

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Market Definition/Description

The convergence of all communications on Internet Protocol (IP) networks and open-software platforms is enabling a new paradigm for communications, and is changing how individuals, groups and organizations communicate and collaborate.
Gartner defines unified communications (UC) products (equipment, software and services) as those that facilitate the use of multiple enterprise communications methods. This can include the control, management and integration of these methods. UC products integrate communications channels (media), networks and systems, as well as IT business applications and, in some cases, consumer applications and devices.
UC offers the ability to significantly improve how individuals, groups and companies interact and perform. These products may be composed of a single-vendor (stand-alone) suite, or customers may deploy a portfolio of integrated applications and platforms spanning multiple vendors. In many cases, UC is deployed to extend and add functionality to established communications investments.
UC products are used by people to facilitate personal communications and by enterprises to support workgroup and collaborative communications. Some UC products may extend UC outside company boundaries to enhance communications among organizations, to support interactions among large public communities or for personal communications. UC applications are increasingly being integrated or offered in concert with collaboration applications to form unified communications and collaboration (UCC).
It is useful to divide UC into six broad communications product areas:
  • Voice and Telephony — This area includes fixed, mobile and soft telephony, as well as the evolution of PBXs and IP PBXs. It also includes live communications, such as video telephony.
  • Conferencing — This area includes voice conferencing, videoconferencing and Web conferencing capabilities, as various forms of unified conferencing capabilities.
  • Messaging — This area includes email, which has become an indispensable business tool, voice mail and various approaches to unified messaging (UM).
  • Presence and IM — These will play an increasingly central role in the next generation of communications. Presence services, in particular, are expanding to enable the aggregation and publication of presence and location information between (from and to) multiple sources. This enhanced functionality is sometimes called rich presence.
  • Clients — Unified clients enable access to multiple communications functions from a consistent interface. These may have different forms, including thick desktop clients, thin browser clients and clients for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, as well as specialized clients embedded within business applications.
  • Communications-Enabled Applications — This broad group of applications has directly integrated communications functionality. Key application areas include collaboration applications, contact center applications, notification applications, and consolidated administration, reporting and/or analytics tools. Eventually, other applications that support business processes will be communications-enabled; these might include integrating UC with hospital applications to improve doctor-nurse-patient coordination, or adding communications to purchasing/order-processing applications to improve the accuracy and speed of the process. When business applications are integrated with communications applications to improve operations, Gartner calls these communications-enabled business processes (CEBPs).
The stakes for vendors in the enterprise UC market are exceedingly high. The stakes for enterprise decision makers is also high. Four UC characteristics will have an important effect on the success of a UC product and the satisfaction of users:
  • Mobility — Users are demanding full UC functionality on mobile devices. In this year’s Magic Quadrant evaluation, particular weight was placed on support for mobile clients because this is increasingly a key differentiator. Users increasingly expect full UC functionality across all mobile platforms and operating systems.
  • Openness — Enterprises wish to avoid “closed gardens” and weak support for standards to ensure choice and control. Support for standards is a critical consideration, as enterprises wish to integrate their UC deployments with business partners, customers, business applications and third-party products. In particular, enterprises expect good-quality support for SIP, XMPP and H.323 integrations, as well as a clear longer-term commitment to intervendor interoperability and federation. Users will increasingly look beyond a closed partner ecosystem, seeking vendors that have open interoperability.
  • Cloud — Integration of on-premises UC with cloud and hybrid UC services will play an important role as unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solutions become more widely accepted. UCaaS solutions are reviewed in detail in the UCaaS Magic Quadrant. UCaaS is also introducing significant new vendors into the UC market, such as Google.
  • Broad solution appeal — Successful UC solutions depend on influencing a broad and diverse audience of enterprise decision makers. Success will require advancing a full set of UC capabilities within enterprises, which will result in the displacement of those long-term incumbents that lack broad appeal. The enterprise decision makers span such diverse groups as telecom, data communications, IT and the audio-visual video group, as well as business users with a range of bring your own device (BYOD) mobile requirements.


Cisco offers a full UC suite, as well as a broad range of additional communications functions. Key parts of the UC suite include Cisco Unified Communications Manager; Cisco Jabber, which includes the desktop client; Cisco Unity Connection; Cisco Unified Presence; Cisco TelePresence Conferencing Solutions (TelePresence Conductor, TelePresence Server, TelePresence MCUs, Gateways); and a broad range of fixed and mobile client and device options. Cisco offers significant portions of its software on VMware, which can now operate under the Cisco UCS servers and other qualified servers. Cisco integrates email options, like Gmail and Zimbra, via the Cisco Jabber Software Development Kit (SDK). Cisco offers several virtual desktop integration (VDI; client virtualization) options, and offers additional integrated communications and collaboration functionality, notably its contact center products and Cisco WebEx conferencing and WebEx Social (formerly Quad) products. Cisco leverages its UC software into a cloud portfolio branded Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), which allows Cisco HCS partners to create subscription-based as-a-service UC offerings. Evaluate the Cisco UC solutions when you have or plan to acquire Cisco for key voice, video and conferencing functions, or if you require full UC client support on Apple and Android products.
  • Cisco offers a fully integrated UC suite with strong, scalable support for IM/presence, video and telephony conferencing. It also supports full UC functionality, including video and telephony, on a broad range of clients, including Apple laptops, iPads and iPhones, as well as on Android platforms. The UC and contact center functions can also be integrated.
  • Cisco’s large telephony and data infrastructure client base, along with its strong global channel, services and system integration (SI) partners, position it well within enterprise UC buying and decision-making groups, including many IT and operations departments.
  • Cisco is advancing attractive hybrid on-premises and cloud options. The HCS is based on the same software as Cisco’s on-premises offering and both support the same Jabber client. Additionally, Cisco has agreements for transferring licenses from on-premises to hosted environments.
  • Cisco has made progress on simplifying, consolidating and unifying its massive communications portfolio; however, clients report that elements of its portfolio remain complex to understand and manage. One effect of the complexity is that obtaining accurate configuration and price quotes can be difficult, and final configurations and pricing may vary from initial quotes.
  • Gartner clients regularly report that they are strongly encouraged, or even required, to use Cisco data communications network infrastructure, and, in some cases, even the Cisco data center solution (UCS), to achieve an optimal UC deployment.
  • Cisco’s Unified Workspace Licensing (CUWL) is a useful package to profile user requirements and offers attractive discounting, compared with buying UC components separately; however, it’s important to size the requirement accurately, based on user need. Unless you have a clear road map for CUWL as your primary UC solution, Gartner advises against the five-year Cisco Unified Communications Software Subscription (CUCSS) term, because the three-year term better fits most enterprises’ planning and upgrade cycles.


Lync 2010 offers a full suite of UC functionality, and Microsoft continues to improve and evolve its offering with each release. The vendor offers integrations with Office, SharePoint, Exchange and Skype. It also offers a limited set of cloud-based Lync Online capabilities via Office 365. The Lync partner ecosystem continues to grow at a rapid pace. Enterprises that have Microsoft Exchange and other Microsoft products should consider the Lync solution and, at a minimum, understand how it might change their business processes and worker productivity. Enterprises considering deploying Lync telephony and video should understand its limitations and infrastructure requirements, how they will support branch offices, and how they will obtain global third-party support if they need it.
  • 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 network configurations. Although some Lync deployments report that they have completely eliminated their PBXs, many current deployments use Lync telephony and the full Lync suite of functions for some employees, while other employees use IM/presence and Web conferencing on Lync, but use the existing PBX for telephony.
  • Microsoft integration of Skype with Lync, along with the Lync Online offering (which will offer several public switched telephone network [PSTN] trunking options in the future), suggest that Lync will mature as a comprehensive and hybrid UC product.
  • Companies report that, once deployed, Lync functions can be readily 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.
  • Enterprise planners should understand that Lync’s telephony and video functionality are new and are deployed at fewer sites 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 requisite functionality, quality and performance.
  • Clients report that working with multiple Lync partners to obtain a complete solution can be difficult (e.g., different partners for telephones, gateways, servers and video multiprotocol conferencing units [MCUs]). This difficulty also extends to identifying, evaluating and obtaining pricing from Lync service and support partners, especially when an on-site support contract is desired.
  • Some enterprises express concern that Microsoft’s bundling, combined with proprietary protocols for SIP, will leave them locked in to a closed circle of choices and few options in the future. Bundling includes Exchange, Lync, SharePoint, Office, Skype and perhaps Yammer. A related area of concern is Microsoft’s longer-term commitment to supporting the same level of functionality of the Lync mobile client on non-Windows mobile platforms, such as Android and iOS.

Esto es un claro indicio que Microsoft se está introduciendo a pasos agigantados en el mundo de las Comunicaciones Unificadas, y que Lync es el producto estrella de la compañia.

2 comentarios en «Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications»

  1. Re: Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications

    Depende la solución a implementar y los servicios que se necesiten. Además, son soluciones que se licencian por usuarios y/o dispositivos, por lo que el importe final varía mucho. Pero a soluciones similares (aunque no lo son), si la red ya utiliza tecnología Microsoft, la solución ideal es Lync. Si lo que queremos es poder utilizar dispositivos móviles y disponer de VoIP la solución de Cisco es la ideal. De momento la solución “nativa” de Lync no da soporte a llamadas vía VoIP, solo IM y conferencias de audio. Se puede utilizar soluciones de Damaka ( para tener llamadas VoIP desde el servidor de Lync.

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