Unified Communications Featured Article

UC Entering Early Mainstream Adoption Phase According to Gartner

September 05, 2013

Unified communications (UC) technology is gaining increased acceptance across many different industries around the world to consolidate the many ways in which organizations communicate. Today's business environment is a complex landscape tangled with many forms of communication between organizations, employees, customers, and other parties. Implementing the right UC platform can help an organization be more efficient by making employees more effective and saving costs.

The digital workplace requires collaboration tools, messaging capabilities, mobile interaction, and social media with a comprehensive communication solution. The market is expected to grow to $61.9 billion by 2018, growing at a compound annual growth rate of (CAGR) for 15.7 percent from 2012 to 2018. Although the UC market has been growing for some time, the recent Gartner "Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications" report said the technology has just now become mainstream.

The definition of UC has been amended by Gartner this year with a detailed explanation of the technology and what it offers, which in part says," The primary goal of unified communications (UC) is to improve user productivity and to enhance business processes. Gartner defines UC products (equipment, software and services) as those that facilitate the use of multiple enterprise communications methods to obtain that goal."

The report was authored by Bern Elliot and Steve Blood, leaders of UC at Gartner. The statement about the emergence of UC being in the mainstream didn't change the placing of the vendors within the quadrant compared to last year. The largest players still hold the best position with Cisco and Microsoft enjoying a large lead over Avaya followed by Siemens Enterprise communications.

Each magic quadrant was represented by:

  • Leaders - Cisco, Microsoft, Avaya, Siemens Enterprise Communications
  • Challengers - NEC, IBM, Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei
  • Visionaries - Mitel
  • Niche Players - Interactive Intelligence, ShoreTel, Aastra Technologies, Toshiba

The report divides UC into six broad communications product areas and the vendors must have offerings in these areas in order to be considered in the Magic Quadrant: voice and telephony, conferencing, messaging, presence and IM, clients, and communications-enabled applications. According to the report the success of the UC product will be based on five characteristic and user satisfaction which are user experience (UX), mobility, interoperability, cloud and hybrid, and broad solution appeal.

The report concludes by saying the market is maturing and some key factors will determine the success of the market in the future as it continues to grow and faces challenges in the form of adoption by enterprise users and product deficiencies in an increasingly more demanding environment.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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