It seems like just yesterday I was questioning the validity and value of the Gartner Magic Quadrant. My own opinion aside, executives and customers still value the information, and there aren’t many alternative sources of information so we are left discussing the Magic Quadrant out of necessity.
So, let’s dive a little deeper into the recent Unified Communications Magic Quadrant. Bern Elliot, a vice president and senior analyst at Gartner, and co-author of the UC Magic Quadrant noted “The vendors would like to broaden the footprint they have within their existing customers and expand into new markets, whereas users, in many cases, would like to have the vendors interoperate effectively so they can get a high degree of functionality, and preserve and migrate their existing investments.”
Bottom line, it is Elliot’s opinion that the major vendors are fighting to be the whole pie, but that customers gain more benefit from a buffet or cafeteria approach combining different vendor components and leveraging existing hardware/software investments.
Toward that end, Elliot suggests that vendors focus more on interoperability and playing well with others and less on trying to dominate and be the all-in-one end-to-end solution. Fair enough. I will extend that concept by saying that, among the major vendors, I believe Microsoft provides the superior balance betwen delivering an innovative and comprehensice unified communications experience, while integrating well with a variety of platforms and enabling customers to integrate Microsoft offerings with existing communications investments.