We thought we would provide some feedback on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications from a customer view (whether large enterprise, government, or a small business like FOX GROUP that uses various UC apps every day).
Listening to my fellow UC Experts during a recent podcast where we discussed the report, I agree that the report is really focused on the industry view of the UC offers, and views product maturity from a product development perspective, and certainly not from a client perspective. Most, if not all, of our enterprise, government and non-profit clients at FOX GROUP DO NOT consider the UC technology arena to be a mature technology environment. This is based on our discussions with them as part of their acquisition and deployment journey of UC solutions from many of the vendors listed.
As we all know, many VARs, system integrators and carriers throughout the world say and sincerely believe that they can successfully sell, implement and support UC solutions. I completely agree with my fellow UC experts' comments that it is very important for all potential UC customers to define both their technology requirements, as well as their business support expectations.
From the Trenches
From our client acquisition, implementation and integration experience, combined with our day-to-day use of various Cloud/hosted UC applications, the vendors certainly are NOT mature in any way shape or form, particularly if you have problems. When problems happen in trying to use the UC applications, there is always lots of finger pointing. More disappointing is the lack of ability and interest by the various vendors to work together to help clients troubleshoot all of the levels of technology, i.e. SIP trunks, Internet backbone, VLANs, desktop or laptop computer, soft clients, headsets, etc.
Advice to the Industry
All of the industry players need to help their sales, installation and project professionals develop the skills to sell, service and support multi-vendor solutions that make up ALL of the pieces of UC solutions before I will consider them mature. They also need to develop capabilities and best practices to help develop real world cost of ownership and ROI benefits on how these technologies have improved their customers' businesses. This would be another one of the customer-type factors I would consider in order to score UC technologies as being mature! Other technology applications have been able to do this for years, i.e. ERP solutions, HR solutions, manufacturing solutions, to name a few.
Customer Score of Vendors
If I was to score the UC leaders on their placements from a customer perspective on their ability to install, integrate and support integrated UC solutions, the visual would look very different from this year’s report. Maybe we should start to work with the end user customers who purchase and try to use these types of complex solutions, and do our own UC scoring from the customer viewpoint. I welcome hearing your thoughts on your UC vendor scoring.