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Thoughts on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for UC 2012

September 10, 2012

I had been eagerly anticipating the Gartner Magic Quadrant for UC 2012 (MQ) and saw that it was released last week, so I thought I would put my thoughts down on paper (so to speak).  In general, I think that Gartner’s Magic Quadrant is a great concept and it presents complex information about a particular technology market sector in a very easily digestible format, i.e. the classic ‘MBA’ 2×2 matrix.  Of course, you can’t just look at the matrix, you have to read the report to understand how the various vendors places were calculated.  However, once you do that, you can get a great overview of that particular market.

I think that Bern Elliot and Steve Blood have done a great job with the UC MQ over the last 4 or 5 years and it is fun to compare the vendors’ movements around the matrix from year to year.  I am sure that the marketing departments plot their own product’s trajectory like hawks and take any downward or left-ward movements very personally.  However, I am sure that they view upward and right-ward movements with great satisfaction, depending on the degree of movement and the movement relative to their competitors.  Overall, I don’t pay much attention to pixel-by-pixel movements, but the movements from one quadrant to another are probably indicative of a shift in market perception, particularly if they have a consistent, year-over-year trend.

This year, the Leader’s Quadrant features only 4 companies: Cisco, Microsoft, Avaya and Siemens Enterprise.  Of particular note, Cisco moved slightly ahead of Microsoft for the first time and I could almost hear the slap of the ‘high fives’ echoing around Silicon Valley.  Reading between the lines on the report, Cisco’s strength in IP networking and enterprise telephony seemed to triumph over Microsoft’s strong integration at the application layer.  Avaya and Siemens have been hovering at (or sometimes over) the edge of the Leader’s Quadrant for as long as I have been paying attention, while Cisco and Microsoft move inexorably upwards and right-wards.

Quadrant moves this year include:

  • Alcatel-Lucent from Leader to Challenger
  • Huawei from Niche to Challenger
  • Teleware have exited the MQ altogether due to a repositioning of their product

I was particularly interested in the progress of Huawei as the only ‘positive’ quadrant movement; so I am going to do more research into their offering and will possibly comment in a later post.

Naturally, I always view UC products through my ‘federation lens’, and so was a little disappointed that federation wasn’t called out in the MQ as a key differentiator and that telephony was.  Having said that, the placement of Microsoft and Cisco in the lead position comes as no surprise because they are still the only providers of multi-media federation.  I participated in the federation panel at Enterprise Connect this year and shared the stage with both of these vendors, as well as Avaya.  Avaya continue to make forecasts about their support of federation, but I still haven’t seen a solid announcement.  Siemens has announced federation for instant messaging and presence and we will continue to monitor their progress and customer demand.

Of course, none of these four vendors (except maybe Avaya) have indicated their interest in or support of inter-vendor federation, so I am very happy to note that the NextPlane is continuing to add value to customers of the Gartner UC MQ Leaders.

  1. Hi Farzin.
    First of all great blog, pointing out the importance of interoperability of UC solutions, delivering UC across company borders and providing real value to our customers.
    Secondly I would like to add to your article, that OpenScape UC V7, released in July this year, has introduced several federation capabilities.
    With Version 7 of our UC Application we are able to Multi Media federate between OpenScape UC Clusters,
    federating IM, presence and voice presence, as well as voice, video and Web Collaboration conferences.
    Furthermore we have introduced IM and presence federation to any 3rd party XMPP provider.

    Btw. I case you are interested in further details I am happy to get in personal contact with you.

    Jan Hickisch, VP Portfolio Management UCC, Siemens Enterprise Communications

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