Dave Michels
Dave Michels is a Principal Analyst at TalkingPointz. His unique perspective on unified communications comes from a career involving telecommunications...
Read Full Bio >>

Dave Michels | June 17, 2014 |


Degrees of Presence

Degrees of Presence The UC system vendors today that are increasing their market presence are Cisco, Microsoft, and Mitel, according to a recent Wainhouse Research study.

The UC system vendors today that are increasing their market presence are Cisco, Microsoft, and Mitel, according to a recent Wainhouse Research study.

Presence, at least in the UC context, is the fairly simple indication of availability. Of course, presence and availability are not synonymous. Even worse, many systems loosely associate availability with keyboard activity, which makes little sense--but that's for a separate post.

Presence typically relates to the condition of being present, but there's also denotations around one's carriage, air, and effectiveness. This is why some people are more present than others. Presence can imply gravitas and command respect. Or presence can be barely detectable; sometimes one's degree of presence is insufficient for being noticed.

The notion of presence can be applied to companies, and goes by multiple names, including influence and mindshare. Presence is often associated with market share, but the two are independent, which explains why some young and small vendors are consistently invited to bid. Vendors with strong presence influence the market--prospects call, competitors imitate, and media covers.

Every vendor has some degree of presence, though it's hard to quantify. Wainhouse Research recently attempted to measure the trajectory of a vendor's presence--that is, to determine which firms are increasing in presence: Which firms are on course to have a greater impact on the industry tomorrow--or which are seeing their influence decrease. Presence is something that can be waxing, waning, or holding--and it's not always within the vendor's control, as market shifts and competitor actions are factors as well.

Most of today's measures of vendor performance are seen from the rear-view mirror, based on recent performance such as market share. Think of the infamous disclaimer: "Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results." Being in front is a difficult thing to maintain. Then, there's various side-by-side scorecards, quadrants, and comparisons, but these look at current offerings--not necessarily what's in the labs.

To examine the trajectory of 10 UC vendors, Wainhouse considered several factors with past, present, and future considerations. The study evaluated:

• Current momentum (based on recent performance).
• Current UC portfolio (specifically looking for transitions that align with industry shifts)
• Management track record and experience
• Financial health and the ability to invest
• Research and development spend and focus
• Channel momentum and loyalty

With all of these and more factors scored and weighted, Wainhouse determined that only three of 10 of the UC vendors evaluated are likely to increase their market presence. In other words, 70% of the major incumbents--some highly influential today--are expected to either hold or decrease in their market presence.

Only Cisco, Microsoft, and Mitel are expected to realize increases in their impact, mindshare, and overall presence over the next few years.

Wainhouse grouped the 10 vendors into three final categories: increasing presence (3 companies), neutral (4 companies), and decreasing presence (3 companies). The exercise captured and consolidates many elements and factors that Wainhouse Research evaluates; the single-category outcome summarizes many complex considerations.

Cisco: With its management upheaval well behind it, Cisco's collaboration team is embracing consumerization, with a focus on experience. The company has a huge installed base that it intends to upgrade to more intuitive technology. Cisco also intends to expand share in a broader market with new types of solutions, new consumption models, and lower price points. Wainhouse expects Cisco to build on its momentum in interfaces and improved experiences across its applications and devices.

Microsoft disrupted the industry more than any other UC vendor over the last 10 years, gaining significant growth, customer interest, and reactions from competitors. Microsoft Lync represents a robust platform delivered through an established, yet unconventional channel. The division's leadership team is strong, and Its partner ecosystem continues to strengthen. Microsoft is expected to continue building momentum in the enterprise, and its SMB story as a hosted model is expected to improve. It's hard to find near-term threats to Microsoft's ongoing march.

Mitel has successfully been ahead of several megatrends within the industry, including hardware to software, virtualization, mobility, and the growing demand for services-based solutions. Mitel is currently offering highly flexible models that enable customers to migrate their deployment models as their needs and technical requirements shift. Mitel has multiple cloud angles including wholesale, SaaS, PaaS, and private cloud, and sells platforms to third-party providers. The recent acquisition of Aastra expanded the company's global position.

Although the Wainhouse presence study looks ahead five years, predictions are always a messy business. Numerous factors can and will impact the trajectories identified. These include new technologies, mergers and acquisitions, economic shifts, management changes, and many others.

The goal wasn't necessarily to predict the future, but to assess and capture many elements of the present. Some vendors, products, and solutions are more prepared for the expected future than others.

Dave Michels is a Contributing Editor and Analyst at TalkingPointz. He is also a Senior Analyst with Wainhouse Research.

Follow Dave Michels on Twitter and Google+!
Dave Michels on Google+


July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

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

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 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.