The good folks at Gartner have got the crystal ball out again, this time with regard to the unified comms as a service (UCaaS) marketplace – and found 8×8, BT, Fuze, RingCentral, and West Unified Communications in the leaders’ zone.
The report arrives at a fascinating time in the space. Enterprise collaboration and productivity as a whole has been bolstered in the past month by an array of deals from the major vendors. Salesforce buying Quip earlier this month impacted content, document management, as well as communication. Cisco, continually duelling with Microsoft at the sharp end of collaboration, announced a service which aimed to break down some of the silos between Cicso and Skype houses.
For UCaaS, the biggest wave made in recent times has been the deal between Google and RingCentral in June. The companies stressed their target with the partnership was larger enterprises – traditionally more likely to be using Microsoft than Google.
Indeed, Gartner argues RingCentral is top of the pile across ‘multiple metrics’, while Micorosft, by comparison, is in the ‘challengers’ zone by a whisker – although considerably further ahead than the rest of the field in terms of ability to execute.
“Our mission is to empower global businesses with the most comprehensive cloud communications and collaboration solution that unifies all the capabilities they need to stay connected and be productive,” said Vlad Shmunis, RingCentral CEO and chairman in a statement. “We are honoured to receive this recognition once again from Gartner and to be placed in the leaders quadrant and furthest to the right on vision.
“This position validates our focus on innovation and the investments we’ve made in professional services and customer success.”
Gartner explains at the beginning of the report that the UCaaS market is maturing, from ‘early adopter’ to ‘early mainstream’ in terms of enterprise delivery. While this progress is good, plenty still needs to be done; enterprises still need to do their due diligence in terms of whether unified comms is right for them, never mind who to go for.
For Fuze, formerly ThinkingPhones, its growth across Europe and the Asia Pacific region – something which was considered one of the few cautions against RingCentral – was validated. “Collaboration and connectivity are at the heart of improving today’s business processes,” said Steve Kokinos, Fuze CEO. “We’ve seen an explosion of enterprises looking for tools that are simple to use, nurture productivity, and are reliable and secure.
“We believe our recognition as a leader in Gartner’s report reinforces the investment Fuze has made in enhancing the user experience for today’s modern, connected worker. Furthermore, we believe it validates our vision for rethinking enterprise communications, web collaboration, and video conferencing as we know it,” he added.
So where does this leave us? Research conducted on the subject this year gives us a few conclusions. A study from BroadSoft in January argued that by 2020 one in three small businesses expects to have mobile-only UCaaS solutions in place. Synergy Research, another analyst firm, around the same time asserted the market for UCaaS was a “force for change within the business communications market.”
The fact that there are 16 vendors in the quadrant, including some of the biggest names in tech, means there is still some compartmentalising to do. But so long as you get the correct business case across for whether you want UCaaS or not, the numbers seem to be going in the right direction.
You can read a copy of the Gartner UCaaS Magic Quadrant here.
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