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Kevin Kieller
Kevin Kieller is a partner with enableUC, a company that helps measure, monitor and improve UC and collaboration usage and...
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Kevin Kieller | August 26, 2011 |

 
   

Gartner Endorses Nest-of-Breed Strategy

Gartner Endorses Nest-of-Breed Strategy A near-best-of-breed solution gives you a solution that most often works, is supported (by a single vendor) and gets better as new software versions are released.

A near-best-of-breed solution gives you a solution that most often works, is supported (by a single vendor) and gets better as new software versions are released.

I recently wrote about a near-best-of-breed (or "nest-of-breed") unified communications strategy, as I have long contended that a "best of breed" for unified communications is the road to much pain and heartache.

In Gartner’s most recent Magic Quadrant for UC (August 22, 2011), I would suggest they endorse my nest-of-breed strategy when they write in the summary, "Gartner believes that acceptable functionality will be increasingly available for all UC functions from the leading vendors in the next several years, and enterprises that wish to pursue a single-vendor approach can start to evaluate which of the UC suites best matches their needs."

Choosing one vendor and living with the shortcomings of that vendor's offering is often better than trying to integrate solutions from multiple vendors. Gartner summarizes this struggle when they write:

"The conflict is that enterprises will need to choose between:

* Using multiple vendors to offer users best-of-breed functionality in all UC areas, which would also allow migration of existing investments
* Using a single vendor and sacrificing best-of-breed functionality in one or more areas, and potentially writing off some existing communication investments"

No organization wants to make this "Sophie’s choice" of technology and yet in the current environment they must. To help make this decision, in the Goldilocks Approach I described a detailed process to balance your specific requirements against the shortcomings of multiple existing solutions.

Consistent with the newly released Magic Quadrant that rates Microsoft as the leading UC provider, we continue to see increased interest in using Microsoft Lync and Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging as the basis for an organization's UC platform.

Many analysts and certainly many competitors argue that the Microsoft platform does not provide the most extensive list of voice features. This is certainly true and yet, increasingly, companies are voting with their dollars that Lync provides sufficient features to warrant investment. For many organizations Lync and Exchange UM are "good enough".

Nest-of-breed is not intended to be best-of-breed but instead, by selecting a near-best-of-breed solution, you end up with a solution that most often works, is supported (by a single vendor) and gets better as new software versions are released.

In contrast, pursuing the "theoretically elegant" best of breed solution often means you are subjecting your users to an ongoing "beta" deployment, you have difficulty soliciting vendor support and each software upgrade potentially causes the entire solution to stop working.

While "Gartner believes that acceptable functionality will be increasingly available for all UC functions from the leading vendors in the next several years", I would suggest that for many organizations, acceptable UC functionality is available from a few single vendors today. Simply choose your nest wisely and all your eggs will hatch sunny side up.



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