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The UC Cloud Wars – Microsoft and Cisco Clouds Rise to Top

December 4, 2013

The sound of clashing armies can be heard across corporate networks as Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Unify, Mitel, ShoreTel, Avaya and a lot of other UCaaS providers battle it out in intense competition for market supremacy.

Analysis from Gartner and other research firms shows that UCaaS is increasingly becoming an overcrowded area. Gartner’s 2013 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service examined 16 of the leading UCaaS providers in terms of richness of services, branding, experience and ability to scale. Gartner named Thinking Phone Networks as the “Leader” UCaaS Magic Quadrant– a company that did not exist a couple of years ago.

Our internal research study tracking the key trends in the Fortune 1000 (F1000) UC market between 2012 and 2013, revealed that there was a 188% growth rate in the number of enterprises moving from on-premises UC platforms to a hosted or UCaaS deployment. (Please see our November 22, 2013 blog, Reflections on the UC Market and the Second Law of Thermodynamics, for details about the NextPlane study.)

While the F1000 companies are collectively moving toward adopting UCaaS, a closer look at the trends revealed some clear winners and losers. Our research showed Microsoft and Cisco to be the most widely adopted UCaaS vendors among the F1000 between 2012 and 2013.  This clearly shows that F1000 enterprises are buying UCaaS offerings from well-established vendors instead of new entrants.

We foresee that this trend will continue well into the future because many UCaaS providers can successfully roll out a few enterprise deployments, but they lack the deep bench of Cisco and Microsoft to simultaneously support large F1000 deployments. We also believe that the landscape of corporate communication will continue to change in dramatic ways, but one constant will remain–the increasing demand for B2B UC collaboration.

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