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Marty Parker
Marty Parker brings over three decades of experience in both computing solutions and communications technology. Marty has been a...
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Marty Parker | August 13, 2008 |

 
   

Microsoft Makes the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Corporate Telephony

Microsoft Makes the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Corporate Telephony Here's some breaking news! As of last Friday, August 8, Microsoft has entered the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Corporate Telephony. Based on the latest version of the Microsoft Unified Communications suite, Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 (OCS 2007), Gartner places Microsoft in the Visionaries quadrant - high scores on "completeness of vision" but yet with limitations and unproven factors relative to "ability to execute."

Here's some breaking news! As of last Friday, August 8, Microsoft has entered the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Corporate Telephony. Based on the latest version of the Microsoft Unified Communications suite, Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 (OCS 2007), Gartner places Microsoft in the Visionaries quadrant - high scores on "completeness of vision" but yet with limitations and unproven factors relative to "ability to execute."

Here's some breaking news! As of last Friday, August 8, Microsoft has entered the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Corporate Telephony. Based on the latest version of the Microsoft Unified Communications suite, Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 (OCS 2007), Gartner places Microsoft in the Visionaries quadrant - high scores on "completeness of vision" but yet with limitations and unproven factors relative to "ability to execute."No, this is not the Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications; it is the MQ for Corporate Telephony. Here are a few highlights from the report:

  • Gartner opens the MQ with this advice: "Although companies are still deploying PBX and IP Telephony, most should make the decision in the context of a broader unified communications strategy."
  • As to Microsoft's strengths, Gartner notes that Microsoft is encouraging enterprises to "look beyond enterprise telephony to different ways of working, especially for nomadic and knowledge workers." Gartner builds on this point with the advice that companies committed to Microsoft and with needs for internal collaboration, "will find OCS 2007 a viable extension of the existing enterprise PBX or IP PBX network, though not necessarily a replacement."
  • At the same time, Gartner cautions that OCS 2007 lacks some PBX-type functionality that takes it "out of the running as an all-out replacement for a PBX or IP PBX until at least 2010." This is reinforced by notes on the amount of development yet to be done to become a PBX replacement, the need to demonstrate scalability and resiliency over a period of time, and some comments on the overall cost of OCS 2007 for only telephony.

    Of course, the entire report is available to Gartner subscribers, and is another example of the value of the Gartner advisory services. Now, here's some commentary on this major milestone. First, it seems that Microsoft is just where they would want to be. Of course, Microsoft has been making main-stage appearances at VoiceCon for the past two years, and they have promoted Unified Communications very effectively, perhaps seeming to pursue the telephony market. Yet, it seems to me that Microsoft would want even more to focus on the new applications in communications and the ways that their software and their powerful VAR and ISV Partner network can bring out the full promise of Unified Communications as, "Communications integrated to optimize business processes," our definition at UCStrategies.com. So long as Microsoft is not "necessarily a replacement" but is "a viable extension of" the PBX or IP PBX, Microsoft will focus their attention on finding new and different ways to add business value. In fact, most of the 200 OCS 2007 case studies on the Microsoft website show some version of applying communications in new ways, rather than as a replacement for a PBX or IP PBX.

    Second, it is very representative of how new solutions come into established markets. Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen has a series of three excellent books, starting with "The Innovator's Dilemma," that illustrate that disruptive technologies are always seen as "not sufficient" to meet the needs of the established providers. But since the new entrants enable new approaches and address un-served markets, the disrupters carve out an ever-expanding niche, until they are the new leaders. The books are a must read. Now, we see Microsoft in exactly that position in the Gartner MQ for Corporate Telephony.

    Third, this only reinforces the message that software solutions are acceptable in Telephony. Digium, with the open-source Asterisk solution, is also in the Visionaries quadrant. And, in the Leaders quadrant, you will see that Nortel and Siemens, both of whom have embraced the software model for their own products as well as in alliances with Microsoft and IBM, are the highest ranked for "completeness of vision" amongst the Leaders. That Microsoft solutions are so well integrated into all the ways we work is only another lever they have for the disruptive innovation mentioned above.

    The opening of the 2008 Olympics will compete in my memory with this new Gartner Magic Quadrant for the importance of August 8, 2008. In one case, we saw a very impressive statement by the world's largest nation; in the other, we saw the emergence of the world's leader of PC and desktop software into the realm of corporate telephony. I think I'll enjoy the Microsoft show just as much as I'm enjoying these record-setting Olympics. What do you think? Please do let me know at mparker@unicommconsulting.com.



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