Kevin Kieller
Kevin Kieller is a partner with enableUC, a company that helps measure, monitor and improve UC and collaboration usage and...
Read Full Bio >>

Kevin Kieller | February 19, 2013 |


Cisco versus Microsoft: The Battle Intensifies

Cisco versus Microsoft: The Battle Intensifies Cisco fires a broadside at Microsoft over collaboration as the Lync conference opens.

Cisco fires a broadside at Microsoft over collaboration as the Lync conference opens.

As I write this, the Welcome Reception at the first ever Microsoft Lync Conference in San Diego is taking place. Given the sold out attendance, all indications are that this first Lync conference will not be the last.

For many Lync supporters, Monday was a travel day; however, instead of traveling, Cisco was up bright and early launching a new "Why Cisco for Collaboration" microsite along with supporting blog posts from Cisco executives Rowan Trollope and Carl Wiese.

Referencing a survey of 3,320 global IT leaders in nine countries that was commissioned by Cisco and conducted by Redshift Research, Cisco wants to focus attention on the broad areas of mobility, quality, and cloud. Based on the survey results, not surprisingly, Cisco concludes that its tools are better suited to Enterprise Collaboration than is Microsoft's Lync.

I explore the survey results in more detail in my UC Strategies article "What People Want in Collaboration" but here I wanted to explore the motivation behind this attack, Cisco's most direct to date, on the Microsoft Lync solution. Some have suggested that Cisco is "afraid" of the increased success Microsoft Lync is having. The Cisco survey results suggest less than half of the Lync deployments are currently using Lync for external communications; this is either very good or very bad news for Cisco. One Microsoft partner recently tweeted that previously only 10% of Lync deployments were using Enterprise Voice (the ability to place and receive calls externally) but now it was 50% of deployments.

Perhaps Cisco is simply engaged in good marketing, ensuring that customers and technology professionals are aware of their options, balancing the press the Lync Conference is likely to garner.

If you are looking for only a voice solution, it seems to me that Cisco beats out Microsoft. Cisco's history is voice and Cisco voice is reliable, proven, cost effective and well supported. The current Gartner Magic Quadrant on Corporate Telephony seems to support my view.

If you are looking to avoid the more complex UC and collaboration decision and simply continue with voice today, I would suggest you consider that "Voice is Not the Path to UC". Whether you like it or not, building on your current voice platform constrains and sometimes curtails your future UC and collaboration efforts--both from a technological and also from an organizational perspective (who will lead your UC project--Telecom or IT?)

If you are hoping to combine an existing Cisco voice platform with a Microsoft Lync platform, Marty Parker provides some thoughts related to "Interoperation" in his insightful article. Cisco has previously brought to market CuciMoc and CuciLync integration offerings with limited customer acceptance. And on a cautionary note, I still contend that most vendors are pursuing the "Market Dominance as a Path to Interoperability" approach. Choosing the fewest number of vendors to meet your business requirements, or the "near best of breed" methodology is the path to success.

And if you are looking to implement a true UC and collaboration system, perhaps the Cisco survey causes you to pause, or perhaps it reinforces your views that Lync is too complex, or perhaps it angers you and solidifies your excitement related to the new 2013 version of Lync. Gartner rates Cisco and Microsoft UC as too close to call, a virtual Magic Quadrant photo finish.

Given the strong influences of mobility and cloud that are driving and fueling changing requirements, and given the increased focus on quality and support, it is not surprising that Cisco wants to ensure a large, and hopefully increasing, portion of future UC and Collaboration deployments.

The battle lines may be drawn; however I see the increased competition bringing more innovation and information to customers. For customers this is a war they cannot lose.

Do you share allegiance to one side of this battle? Please comment below or spar with me on twitter >@kkieller

Follow Kevin Kieller on Twitter and Google+!
Kevin Kieller on Google+


May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

April 5, 2017

Its no secret that the cloud offers significant benefits to enterprises - including cost reduction, scalability, higher efficiency, and more flexibility. If your phone system and contact center are

June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.