SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Jim Allen
Jim Allen has over 30 years of experience helping enterprises with strategy, architecture and deployment of Unifying Information Technologies. As...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Jim Allen | February 24, 2014 |

 
   

Lync vs. Jabber: Do You Really Have to Choose?

Lync vs. Jabber: Do You Really Have to Choose? Your goal may be to standardize on a single vendor, but it may not be practical to do so in the near term.

Your goal may be to standardize on a single vendor, but it may not be practical to do so in the near term.

Overview
There has been much debate about which vendor products offer the best collaborative technology solution suite. Microsoft and Cisco are the leaders in this space, and each is encouraging enterprises to align on a single vendor. Aligning on one of the leading vendor solutions like Microsoft Lync or Cisco Jabber for your collaboration suite will drive simplicity in the architecture and deployment, but is it a good idea or a necessary move at this point?

The Collaborative Technology market is going through substantial transformation, and aligning to a single vendor may not be the best near-term approach. Increasing competition through "freemium" pricing models as well as new and innovative alternatives entering the market may make it a smart decision to take a wait, see, and dabble strategy. Many organizations have significant existing investments with both Cisco and Microsoft, and doing a wholesale migration to a single vendor may simply not be cost effective or practical. The good news is there are several options for deploying and maintaining a multi-vendor environment that can provide a full-featured and crisp collaborative technology suite of capabilities.

In this article we'll explore a few of the options for delivering the full suite of collaborative technology capabilities while maintaining a multivendor environment using both Cisco and Microsoft solutions.

Collaborative Technologies Definition
Before we jump into the details, it's worth reviewing some definitions. There are several collaborative technology definitions that have emerged over the past few years, and they vary dramatically. For the purpose of this article we define collaborative technology as:

Software and supporting platforms that enable multi-user, real-time communications and content sharing across multiple media channels and devices.

"Media channels" refer to the mode of communication (i.e. voice vs. video). These modes or channels can be delivered and consumed on multiple and diverse devices, including mobile (Apple iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, etc.), hard phones, as well as group and immersive video rooms.

As we review and discuss Microsoft Lync and Cisco Jabber, the communication channels we'll focus on include Instant Messaging, Presence, Voice, Video, and content sharing:

portable

Cisco and Microsoft have introduced mobile clients for Windows Mobile, Android and Apple iOS devices, which has helped enterprises begin to realize the promise of collaboration anywhere, anytime on any device.

Vendor Client Alignment by Channel One of the easiest collaborative technology strategies for deploying in a multivendor environment is aligning each channel by single vendor. In this case, multiple vendor clients would be deployed, but only specific channels enabled for each vendor.

The key to keeping it simple is to make sure there are no overlapping channels between vendors. This is one of the bigger mistakes multivendor enterprises make. The process of enabling a specific channel within a vendor's product suite is simple, and many organizations simply turn on everything. When the same channel is enabled on more than one vendor's client, end-user confusion ensues.

Consider what happens when video is enabled using Cisco Jabber as well as Microsoft Lync. Things will work fine as long as Lync users call Lync users and Jabber users call Jabber users, but it breaks when a Lync user tries to call a Jabber user. Unless you've integrated the two vendor environments, you end up with isolated user communities.

Another challenge in this case is headset and camera contention. The biggest challenge with a desktop voice and video deployment is getting the headset and camera configured and working properly. The challenge increases exponentially when multiple clients are configured to use the same headsets and cameras, and this is the most common problem reported to Service Desks in a multivendor environment. In either case, the end users' experience suffers and Service Desk calls increase.

Choosing which vendor to use per channel can be driven by a couple of simple factors. Most enterprises that utilize both vendors have initially deployed Cisco for IP Telephony and Microsoft OCS or Lync for messaging and presence. If this is your environment, then look at your IP Video room standard as the driver for the rest of your strategy.

If Cisco Tandberg is your group video room standard, then consider using Jabber as the desktop and mobile client for voice and video and WebEx for content sharing. In turn, disable voice and video within the Lync environment and your deployment will be clean and simple. The biggest advantage with this approach is you only have one desktop client contending for the headset and camera on the desktop or laptop.

portable

If Polycom or Lifesize is your group video room standard instead, then use Lync as the desktop and mobile client for video and content sharing. Microsoft has strong partnerships with LifeSize and Polycom, and both offer virtually seamless integration and interoperability with Lync. In this case, Microsoft Lync would be used for all channels except voice. The voice channel would continue to be supported by Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) and Cisco IP desk phones.

portable

Usage Case
One of the main benefits of a single vendor solution is the ability to escalate a communication session across different modes, or "channel hopping." In this case, a user can start with an IM session and escalate to a voice or video call with a few mouse clicks. This capability is attractive, but is the benefit worth the effort and cost of migrating if you currently have a multivendor environment?

Consider how channel hopping occurs today. Most users are accustomed to changing technology when moving from one channel to another. For instance, when moving from an IM session to a phone call, most people simply type "call me at xxx.xxx.xxxx" and then pick up the desk phone. The IM session may continue while one user picks up the desk phone and calls the second user. Given this current behavior, weigh the benefits of being able to escalate channels within a client against the cost and effort to migrate to a single vendor solution.

The second aspect to take into consideration is the usage requirements between channels. Using video and collaboration is dramatically different than voice, messaging and presence. Using different clients to deliver these capabilities can be natural and logical if implemented and supported correctly.

Deploying a Collaboration Technology strategy by aligning channels according to vendor can be simple and offer considerable value. On the downside, this approach will limit your ability to escalate communications across channels and may have a higher licensing cost if sustained for the long-term. On the upside, you avoid the complexity and cost of multivendor integration. You are able to maintain your current technology investment, drive a competitive landscape and are not locked into a single vendor migration.

Next Page: Vendor integration by Channel





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

September 20, 2017

Customer experience can make or break your business. But how do you achieve outstanding customer service when you're dealing with outdated organizational structure, lagging technology, dated proces

September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
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.