Eric Krapf
Eric Krapf is General Manager and Program Co-Chair for Enterprise Connect, the leading conference/exhibition and online events brand in the...
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Eric Krapf | June 25, 2015 |


Cisco vs. Microsoft: Survey Says...

Cisco vs. Microsoft: Survey Says... While about half of enterprises are inclined to choose both Cisco and Microsoft for UC, of those picking one or the other, the latter has a slight edge.

While about half of enterprises are inclined to choose both Cisco and Microsoft for UC, of those picking one or the other, the latter has a slight edge.

One of the issues we were dying to learn more about from our recent audience survey on Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business was our respondents' attitudes on the eternal question of Cisco vs. Microsoft. Our survey found that of 246 respondents, 35% currently run Microsoft Lync (for at least one function) and also run Cisco Unified Communications.

Furthermore, almost half of the enterprise users who run both Lync and Cisco UC expect this situation to continue into the future. When we asked these respondents to characterize their situation regarding Cisco vs. Microsoft, 48% chose the response, "We can and must run both." The second-highest response, at 24%, was, "We plan to standardize on Microsoft or already have done so." In comparison, 11% said they plan to standardize on Cisco or already have done so. Eighteen percent said they don't see this as a decision they face.

On our next attitude question, 40% of those who currently have both Microsoft and Cisco UC agreed with the statement, "We run Microsoft desktops and messaging, so Microsoft is or will be our leading UC provider." On the other hand, 31% agreed with the statement, "We're a Cisco data shop, so Cisco is or will be our leading UC provider." Twenty-nine percent chose the response, "Neither."

Register now and attend a one-day workshop on implementing Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business in your enterprise, coming soon to a city near you:

  • Aug. 27: San Francisco
  • Sept. 10: New York
  • Sept. 17: Anaheim, Calif.
  • Sept. 24: Chicago
So, at least based on this survey, the bottom line on the main "Cisco or Microsoft?" question seems to be that about half of enterprises are inclined to choose both, and that of those picking one or the other for UC, Microsoft has a slight edge. This seems to resonate with most of what we see anecdotally. Our most popular post on No Jitter, going back more than a year and still pulling strongly every day, is Jim Allen's article, "Lync vs. Jabber: Do You Really Have to Choose?" Brent Kelly and Phil Edholm elaborated on the "choose both" option in their Microsoft-vs.-Cisco session at Enterprise Connect Orlando last March, and in this post on No Jitter.

Here are a few other interesting findings from our respondents who said they're currently running Cisco UC and also some amount of Lync:

  • Among this sub-group, the rate of Lync voice adoption is slightly higher than among the overall survey base. While 27% of our overall group of Lync adopters have started to roll out Enterprise Voice, the adoption rate among the subset that are also Cisco UC users is 33%.

  • Current Cisco UC users are projecting a slower rate for ongoing Lync/Skype for Business Enterprise Voice rollouts. In the overall population of those who have begun rolling out Lync Voice, 52% of respondents say they've deployed Lync Voice to replace more than half their legacy capacity. By comparison, among the subset who have Cisco UC, this figure is just under 40%. Then we asked where the rollouts are expected to stand two years from now: Within the overall population, 69% of respondents expect more than half their voice capacity to be delivered by Microsoft within two years. Among those using Cisco UC, only 54% of the respondents say that Microsoft voice will have displaced more than half their legacy capacity in that time.

  • Lync Federation is more popular with Cisco UC users than it is with the overall survey population. Overall, 26% of the Lync adopters in our survey said they have federated Lync with an enterprise outside their own; among Cisco UC users, 39% say they've done so. Similarly, 34% of the overall population said that such federation is either "important" or "very important" to their enterprise; slightly over 50% of Cisco UC users consider Lync federation important or very important.

So the survey seems to validate what we see at a high level: Cisco UC and Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business are likely to co-exist in the enterprise for some time to come, and enterprises will continue to grapple with the implications of this co-existence.

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