SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Irwin Lazar
Irwin Lazar is the Vice President and Service Director at Nemertes Research, where he manages research operations, develops and manages...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Irwin Lazar | October 24, 2017 |

 
   

Cisco Buys BroadSoft, Now What?

Cisco Buys BroadSoft, Now What? BroadSoft acquisition accelerates Cisco’s cloud strategy, creating intriguing possibilities but also raising some long-term questions.

BroadSoft acquisition accelerates Cisco’s cloud strategy, creating intriguing possibilities but also raising some long-term questions.

As you likely saw elsewhere on No Jitter, Cisco yesterday announced its intent to acquire BroadSoft for approximately $1.9 billion in a bid to accelerate its cloud communications efforts. The deal instantly makes Cisco the market leader in the UCaaS space, as BroadSoft's BroadWorks and BroadCloud offerings are used by the majority of service providers delivering UCaaS.

Cisco's move raises some interesting questions, and potentially creates some market disruptions. Cisco had been in the middle of its own cloud transformation, based on Spark, its team collaboration application. Spark, fully hosted by Cisco, is available as a SaaS offering providing team messaging, meeting, and UC functionality, including the ability to leverage Cisco's hybrid services to integrate it with existing on-premises or hosted deployments of Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM) or Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS). In addition, Cisco HCS partners are able to build contact center solutions based on HCS. Over the last year Cisco has built out the telephony and video offerings to turn Spark into a robust UCaaS offering. Now, with the acquisition of BroadSoft, Cisco adds two new platforms, with lots of overlapping features, to its portfolio.

BroadSoft's white-labeled BroadCloud and packaged BroadWorks software offerings deliver a similar set of features compared with what's currently offered by Cisco. It includes unified communications, meetings, team messaging, and contact center. The primary difference is in terms of focus. BroadSoft sells its wares to service providers who use it to deliver their own UCaaS offerings, whereas Cisco sells direct to enterprises, or enables service provider partners to build custom hosted solutions via HCS.

As UC analyst Dave Michels noted in previous coverage, the primary synergy is one of markets. BroadSoft partners typically sell to the SMB market, whereas Cisco has primarily focused on the larger enterprise. Still, questions remain over product overlap, partnerships, and future direction...

Will Cisco maintain BroadWorks and BroadCloud?
Cisco hasn't exactly ignored the SMB market; its Spark-based telephony and video offerings are well suited for that market segment. Now, with the acquisition of BroadSoft, will Cisco cede the SMB market to service provider partners and continue to develop the BroadSoft product suite? Or does it see BroadSoft's customers as future channels for Spark? How will partners who already sell both BroadSoft and HCS-based offerings react?

What's the integration strategy?
One area where BroadSoft lacks competing products is video and digital whiteboards. Will Cisco integrate its video and Spark Board products into BroadWorks and BroadCloud? If so, how, given the tight integration between Spark and Spark Board?

How will the combined companies compete with over-the-top providers?
UCaaS providers like 8x8, Dialpad, RingCentral, and Vonage, continue to grow by selling direct to enterprises. Cisco and BroadSoft's strategy is to sell through partners. Will they be able to match the pace of innovation, compete on cost, and maintain market share against an ever-increasing array of competitors selling direct to SMBs and larger enterprises? Or will Cisco need to develop a direct sales model, potentially competing against its partners? How will Cisco overcome the inherent advantage that a provider that controls its own platform, and can rapidly deliver new features, maintains over a UCaaS provider who bases its service on a third-party platform?

What happens to Polycom?
Polycom and BroadSoft currently partner to integrate Polycom phones and video endpoints into BroadWorks and BroadCloud. Cisco obviously sees potential revenues from bundling its own phones and video conferencing systems with BroadSoft software and is likely to aggressively work to shift partners away from Polycom.

Is there a large enterprise opportunity?
Nemertes' research continually shows growth of UCaaS adoption. While most of that growth has been in the SMB market, even larger enterprises are eying the cloud to improve agility, gain access to new features, and enable IT to focus on more strategic roles. Cisco's cloud story for the large enterprise today revolves around HCS. Could Cisco look to leverage BroadCloud as a potential alternative solution? And if so, again, what's the impact on partners?

We're only 24 hours past the official announcement, but Cisco has already turned the UC world on its ear. It's not just Mitel anymore that's consolidating the UC market.

Follow Irwin Lazar on Twitter!
@imlazar





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 29, 2017

As video conferencing use rises in the enterprise, businesses are looking for ways to bring this technology out of traditional conference room and make it more broadly accessible. That's made the h

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

October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
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.