Magic Quadrant for Corporate Telephony
Corporate telephony vendors struggle to grow share in a mature market. The IT organization must satisfy new requirements for voice and unified communications while staying within budget. This research can help IT personnel select the best vendors that meet short- and long-term objectives.
In this Magic Quadrant research, we review technology vendors that design, manufacture and distribute a combination of hardware and software solutions for corporate telephony requirements, and that have at least 800 users. These architectures focus on centralized or distributed on-premises-based platforms dedicated for use by a single company, whether provisioned as stand-alone or as part of a unified communications (UC) suite. The corporate telephony market is evolving from a model focused on producing innovations in proprietary hardware to one that uses standards-based hardware and software. However, vendors' strategies continue to focus on protecting their market share by maintaining the differentiation of their respective product portfolios to lock out competitors. This reality underscores the need for IT leaders to align a voice platform with an overall UC strategy. Decision criteria for corporate telephony should focus on scalable solutions that support Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), desired levels of resiliency, desktop and mobile functionality, and the ability to integrate with enterprise IT applications while delivering the performance and voice quality demanded by users.1
Source: Gartner (September 2013)
MX-One is Aastra Technologies' (Aastra's) global corporate telephony product. It can be configured as a centralized high-capacity server, a distributed single system over a large geographical area or a combination of both. MX-One supports a VMware virtualized environment with applications as virtual machines residing on a single host. Aastra MX-One enhancements include integrated mobility solutions and two-way seamless handover between Internet Protocol (IP) and cellular networks. The platform scales up to 15,000 SIP endpoints and 15 gateways per server. Aastra also serves the U.S. market with Clearspan, an enterprise version of the BroadSoft platform that many service providers use in their central offices. Aastra's acquisition of Comdasys gives it direct control of its mobility strategy and demonstrates its intent to continue to add value to its product portfolio. Like other corporate telephony vendors, Aastra has been challenged with the market downturn in Europe, but its financial results have suffered less than many of its competitors due to prudent management. Aastra has a strong footprint in Europe, with less coverage in Latin America and Asia, and emerging MX-One and Clearspan businesses in North America.
Aastra customers using the MD110, the forerunner of the MX-One, as well as other private-sector and public-sector organizations, should consider Aastra based on the availability of certified MX-One sales and support capabilities.
- The MX-One is a proven telephony system with very good high-availability options, system management tools, a migration path to UC and support for mobile applications. MX-One includes integrated mobility solutions and two-way seamless handover between IP and cellular networks, as well as multiendpoint licensing for SIP user extensions.
- Aastra has a strong history in delivering competitive telephony products, with a reputation for providing investment protection and total cost of ownership (TCO) that is one of the lowest for corporate telephony.
- Aastra's BluStar product line offers HD desktop video functionality using the H.264 standard, which enables interoperability with third-party video solutions based on multipoint control units. The portfolio supports room-based conferencing and video capabilities for PCs, smartphones and tablets. Video streams can be delivered directly to endpoints that are registered to the MX-One.
- Aastra's investment in R&D (approximately 10% of sales) is much lower than many of its competitors, both as a percentage of sales and in actual dollars. This investment level limits the extent to which it can innovate, especially for telephony in the UC market.
- As a Canadian-based business with the majority of its revenue derived in Europe, Aastra's financial performance is affected not only by the challenging market conditions, but also by the weakening of the euro exchange rate to the Canadian dollar.
- In North America, distribution and support for the MX-One and Clearspan are limited, compared with other vendors in this market.
The Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX Enterprise is the vendor's leading platform for corporate telephony. It supports analog, digital and IP endpoints, and can scale to 25,000 IP terminations per server and 100,000 endpoints per single-system image. The platform provides centralized intelligence, network management and user applications delivered across single or multiple site deployments, and with a virtualized deployment requiring less space, coupled with a lower TCO. Alcatel-Lucent markets the OmniPCX Enterprise platform as a stand-alone telephony system and as part of its OpenTouch UC suite. For businesses with up to 1,500 employees, the full OpenTouch UC suite is a single-server solution. The OmniPCX product line is a proven telephony system with a UC road map and strong support for wireless and mobile applications.
Enterprises should consider the vendor based on the availability of Alcatel-Lucent certified sales and support capabilities in their respective regions. Customers and prospects should seek clear strategic plans for the enterprise group from Alcatel-Lucent's new CEO and the management team to satisfy their concerns about investment protection.
- The OmniPCX is a proven telephony system with competitive TCO, very good high-availability options and system management tools.
- Alcatel-Lucent has a strong product development strategy and direction for migrating its OmniPCX customers to UC with the OpenTouch platform.
- Architecturally and commercially, the OmniPCX Enterprise can be offered as an on-premises-based perpetual license or in a scalable, hosted and cloud-based utility model from selected service provider channel partners.
- With Alcatel-Lucent's planned cost cutting, job reductions and asset sales designed to raise at least €2 billion or $2.7 billion by the end of 2015, there remains uncertainty about the future ownership and structure of the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Division.
- The limited availability of capital could make it challenging for the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Division to maintain its level in R&D investment, as well as grow market share, especially outside Europe.
- In North America, distribution and support for the OmniPCX and OpenTouch are limited compared with Alcatel-Lucent's competitors that have better global coverage in this market.
Avaya Aura is a highly scalable telephony platform with local and enterprisewide failover options that extend to SIP and time division multiplexing (TDM) trunks, or a combination of both. The Aura platform supports a migration plan to UC, and real-time processing of SIP sessions for emerging multimedia business applications. Avaya has made progress in simplifying the software and hardware upgrades for Communication Server (CS) 1000, which also enables continued use of certain Nortel Enterprise Solutions telephones. Organizations can draw on Avaya's full range of networking, contact center, security, video, UC and collaboration products. Avaya has complete product portfolios for telephony, contact center and UC, as well as the ability to meet the requirements of globally situated enterprises. Through the acquisition of Radvision, Persony and Sipera Systems, Avaya gained video and Web-conferencing capabilities, and a session border controller.
Consider Avaya Aura if you need to bring together heterogeneous environments; require a contact center as part of UC; need video, mobility and business application integration, or have significant investments in Avaya. The Avaya Aura Solution for Midsize Enterprise (Avaya Aura ME) includes virtualized capabilities such as call center, messaging, conferencing, centralized management and an application development interface, all running on a single server. In addition, IP Office is cost-effective for small or midsize businesses (SMBs). All Avaya telephony platforms support smooth transitions to a comprehensive UC suite.
- Telephony and contact center remain cornerstones in Avaya's portfolio, as the company maintains brand recognition in these areas while continuing to strengthen its overall UC portfolio. Avaya also supports strong integration with Microsoft Lync.
- Avaya Aura System Manager provides a single management interface for administrators to manage the Avaya Aura core, Communication Manager, CS 1000 and related applications, including messaging, conferencing, contact center, data networking and branch gateways.
- Avaya has a large dealer network qualified to support global deployments of the Avaya Aura product line.
- Gartner clients report variable quality regarding Avaya's technical support. Another complaint is the high fee Avaya has been charging to interconnect non-Avaya gear to the Aura platform —notably for competitive session border controllers.
- Avaya's first release of a virtualized Aura option only became available in December 2012, and does not yet support virtualized messaging.
- Avaya continues to receive a caution rating, according to the Gartner financial rating methodology due to revenue declines (see "Vendor Rating: Avaya"). Margins have remained relatively stable, as the vendor has reduced costs to maintain profitability ratios. Despite refinancing that moved maturity dates to 2017, Avaya's debt level is $6.1 billion. Consequently, closely monitor Avaya's financial performance.
Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Unified CM) is Cisco's core telephony platform that has evolved to manage multimodal UC as organizations migrate their communications platforms to support a broader set of collaboration capabilities from Cisco. Unified CM is highly scalable, and by leveraging virtualization, organizations are able to architect communications solutions for distributed survivability and data centers, as well as cloud environments. The vendor's communications offer benefits from its leadership position in data networking. It is expanding its relationships with IT professionals by offering UC solutions that include data center virtualization and cloud-based deployment options. Cisco offers significant portions of its software on VMware, which can operate under Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers and other qualified servers.
With its global distribution network and comprehensive product portfolios, Cisco is a strong contender for large organizations' voice communications infrastructure, especially those inclined toward using Cisco for end-to-end solutions that include network gear, video and collaboration requirements, as well as requirements for UC client support across a range of devices, including iOS and Android platforms.
- Cisco's virtualized version of Cisco Unified CM runs in a VMware environment and can reduce the need for dedicated servers. The server options include Cisco UCS, as well as third-party servers that comply with Cisco's published requirements. Cisco's virtualized data center environment leverages many of the customer's data center infrastructure components, such as data center management tools and storage and facilities, and supports georedundancy and high-availability requirements.
- Despite global market challenges in the communications market, Cisco continues to maintain a global leadership position in telephony, and continued mind share with IT buyers in the networking and telecommunications market.
- While the unified communications as a service (UCaaS) market is just emerging, Cisco has one of the more mature cloud propositions of its traditional competitors, offering customers and channel partners more choices in how they procure telephony.
- Cisco's value-based licensing can represent good value when investing in Unified CM for UC, but it may increase TCO when organizations are looking for telephony-only solutions.
- Gartner clients report that choosing Cisco as their sole-source provider for IP telephony, UC, the data network, Web conferencing, video and other Cisco products can lead to reduced negotiating leverage and higher costs.
Huawei's enterprise networking division has incrementally increased the breadth and depth of its portfolio of corporate communications products and services, including telephony. Its telephony and UC infrastructure and applications, branded as eSpace, are based on its U1900 and U2900 series of hardware and software communications platforms. Its solutions offer IP-PBX and IP telephony functionality, conferencing, soft clients, and unified messaging (UM), as well as contact center functionality and integration options with popular UC applications like Microsoft Lync. In 2013, Huawei added a unified session manager and a unified management platform for its eSpace enterprise networking products, taking it closer to its necessary goal of a more tightly integrated solution suite.
Consider Huawei for telephony solutions in regions where its carrier and large enterprise business resources are significant enough to provide capable support. These locations are primarily China; emerging economies in Asia/Pacific and the Indian subcontinent (10 countries); Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (18 countries); and the Americas (five countries).
- In 2012, Huawei grew approximately 10% over 2011, including telephony and UC licenses and collaboration product revenue, and transferring more than 10,000 of its 150,000 staff into the new enterprise business group. Huawei has vertical solutions for companies to achieve a consistent user experience with devices ranging from mobile phones and desktop telephony handsets, tablets, laptop PCs, gateways, routers and switches, telepresence, servers and data centers with the necessary soft clients.
- Huawei's telephony product portfolio supports UC solutions for large enterprise and SMB markets. Huawei's architecture can scale to very large enterprise deployments with multiple 30,000-user switches.
- Countries such as the U.S., the U.K. and Australia have stated concerns about the potential risks of Chinese cyberespionage. The company has to overcome these regulatory and security barriers to gain the confidence of potential customers and regulators.
- Growth for Huawei in North American and Western European enterprise telephony markets has been difficult, despite growing the number of its global channel partners to 4,400 since 2012.
- Huawei needs to expand its global support model and logistics capability for managing and delivering spare parts, as well as its ecosystem for hardware and software upgrades.
Microsoft Lync 2013 (Lync) continues to develop as a corporate telephony solution, although organizations generally select it primarily to meet their UC needs first, and then evaluate it as a replacement for legacy PBX and IP-PBX platforms. The architecture for Lync, like other leading telephony platforms, is highly scalable; however, reference ability of IP-PBX replacement is typically in the 2,000- to 4,000-user range currently. Lync 2013 was an important step to adding voice, video and content sharing functionality to Lync Mobile clients on Windows Phone, iOS and Android OSs. Session management enables organizations to integrate Lync with existing communications environments and to evolve toward PBX replacement. Microsoft's partner network continues to grow. The addition of communications competency in the partner program will help users validate partner competencies, specifically for telephony and UC. There are more than 130 certified Lync support partners worldwide, from the large telecom operators and system integrations to regional or country-specific value-added resellers.
Lync is a strategic UC choice for many organizations, and potentially an alternative to replace a legacy PBX installation. When evaluating legacy PBX, organizations need to pay close attention to the network architecture required not only to ensure high-quality multimodal communications and satisfy the user experience, but also to confirm that Lync technology or a Microsoft partner can meet all users' requirements.
- Microsoft has strong brand awareness for UC with midsize and large organizations, deploying Lync for IM, voice, video and Web conferencing. The company is building a strong global portfolio of Lync partners to help clients execute on telephony and UC strategies.
- Microsoft's collaboration-centric approach and deep integration with the Office portfolios give it credibility as a solution for top-level business process issues.
- Microsoft's vision for an integrated multimodal platform and UC UI is bringing to market Skype integration and mobile client updates, which have stimulated market interest for what Microsoft will further deliver for Lync-Skype video and public switched telephone network (PSTN) connectivity in Lync Online and Office 365.
- Without a volume licensing agreement, organizations indicate that Lync is not financially competitive compared with other telephony solutions, especially for basic telephony needs.
- Gartner clients report that Microsoft Lync functions best in environments with Windows-based PCs and Exchange Server for Outlook email.
- Availability of Microsoft Lync telephony features is dependent on which third-party is supplying the desk phones. Clients report limitations associated with features such as music on hold, multiple appearances of the same directory number on the same phone, and local intercom calling between managers and their staff.
Mitel is an established corporate telephony vendor. Shipment growth in 2012 was 11.7%, the highest among corporate telephony providers. To support its goals, and to eliminate competition with its dealers, Mitel has been shifting to indirect sales via channel partners in the global telephony market. Mitel was an early adopter of VMware and virtualized communications solutions. It has extended its collaboration in virtualization with VMware and delivery of IP telephony and UC as a virtual appliance to simplify installations. The Mitel Communications Director (rebranded Mitel MiVoice) enterprise licensing package, which is targeted at customers that require resiliency and high-availability features with failover, includes redundancy. In keeping with its established product architecture for deploying advanced applications, Mitel enables users to access Mitel UC functionality through the Mitel Applications Suite (now Mitel MiCollab), which supports a UC client for desktops and mobile devices. Mitel MiVoice and its associated components can be deployed on-premises, hosted, cloud or in a combination of the three, as well as in a VMware virtualized environment.
Consider Mitel when you are looking for software that can run as a self-contained stand-alone system, on industry-standard servers or in a virtualized environment. Mitel offers a UC suite or the option to interoperate with Microsoft Lync. With Mitel's purchase of its former supplier, prairieFyre, Mitel is positioned to provide a contact center platform that is fully compatible with all versions of Mitel MiVoice.
- Mitel's experience supporting virtualized environments can streamline communications infrastructure costs, simplify implementation and reduce ongoing operating costs.
- Mitel offers MiCloud for the delivery of cloud-based solutions that support telephony, UC and videoconferencing, which can also complement on-premises MiVoice deployments. Service providers and Mitel dealers can build and deploy capabilities using the same software that supports Mitel's on-premises enterprise platform. Mitel can also build and operate the core platform for integration with a service provider's product portfolio.
- Highlights of Mitel's financial performance include four consecutive years of profitability and five consecutive years of debt reduction.
- Mitel's global brand awareness lags that of other vendors in the large business segment.
- Although improving, many Mitel dealers have not yet developed experience installing and supporting Mitel solutions in a virtualized environment.
- Prospects should confirm that Mitel channel partner references match their geographical requirements, and also should verify that support personnel have been trained and certified on current product releases.
NEC provides national and multinational corporations with telephony and related enterprise communications solutions. Its two main approaches to the corporate telephony market are based on its traditional appliances and a pure software solution. The software-based approach, Univerge 3C, appeals to enterprises of all sizes, particularly in North America. The appliance-based approach uses Univerge SV8000 series hybrid TDM and IP telephony platforms. Both options provide migration to a common road map endpoint based on Univerge 3C. NEC's Univerge 3C softswitch is intended for new telephony and UC installations, but can bring a broad range of capabilities to Univerge SV8000 users.
Consider NEC when large scalability, high availability and multiple levels of redundancy with a good migration path to UC are strategic requirements. Users in particular industry verticals may also be attracted to NEC's specific sectoral solutions.
- NEC is a large, diversified, global supplier of information and communication technology (ICT) products and solutions, including corporate telephony. It has significant financial strength, extensive internal resources, and established channel partners in North America, EMEA, Latin America and Asia/Pacific, including master distributors, customer service providers (CSPs) and dealers. NEC Financial Services has been proactive in facilitating subscription-based payment solutions for any of NEC's technical deployment options.
- NEC has sustained its strengths in selected vertical markets, such as hospitality, healthcare, government and education, with standardized solutions. It provides appropriately customized and scalable telephony solutions based on Univerge SV Series appliances or Univerge 3C software.
- NEC uses multiple servers and virtualization for Univerge 3C software solutions deployed in various network locations for dynamic load balancing. Its range of media gateways reliably provides remote site survivability. NEC's SIP implementations are certified with major CSPs.
- Not all of NEC's dealers offer comprehensive support for NEC's full array of on-premises, hosted, distributed, centralized or cloud telephony solutions.
- NEC's extensive product lines are targeted at SMBs, as well as large enterprises. Thus, not all dealers have experience designing, installing and supporting requirements for large system deployments.
Although ShoreTel's technology has been particularly well-suited for SMBs with distributed communications requirements, the vendor continues to make progress among enterprises with more than 1,000 users who are centralized or enterprises that have many branch offices and remote sites. ShoreTel scales up to 20,000 users on a single platform. The acquisition of M5 Networks in March 2012 has given ShoreTel an opportunity to offer a portfolio of cloud-based voice services and other applications, while growing its U.S. presence. The ShoreTel architecture is particularly well-known for its simplicity of installation and administration. Survivability is provided via ShoreTel's N+1 switch failover capability; a switch can fail over to another switch anywhere in the network. ShoreTel also supports a full set of mobile options. ShoreTel 14 supports video connectivity with room-based systems supported by video providers, such as Polycom and LifeSize, a division of Logitech.
Consider ShoreTel if your company is distributed and is looking for telephony and mobility capabilities that are easy to install, have intuitive management and UIs, and have UC functions that can integrate with Microsoft Lync or utilize ShoreTel's UC client.
- ShoreTel's focus on customer satisfaction throughout the implementation cycle and beyond translates to consistently high satisfaction ratings from its channel partners and customers.
- Enterprises can expand ShoreTel system capacity for software, trunks and users by adding switch modules that can be administered from a centralized interface, regardless of where the modules are physically located.
- ShoreTel's five-year trend of year-over-year growth has been steady, with revenue growing 27% from FY12 to FY13. In FY13, the public company continued to be cash-flow positive and generated a non-generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) operating income of $0.2 million for the second consecutive year, despite investing in ShoreTel's Sky cloud solution (formerly M5). The growth in new user licenses was up sharply, as was the number of new customers and those with at least 1,000 employees.
- ShoreTel 14 includes support for VMware for administration, UM and contact center; however, the solution currently requires use of ShoreTel appliances for telephony call control, which feature native failover capabilities.
- ShoreTel products are sold primarily through dealers, and some may not have experience with users' requirements that include VMware expertise.
- ShoreTel's market share is a lot smaller, with fewer resources outside North America, compared with other vendors in the market. Organizations should evaluate geographic coverage and local support capabilities early in the sales process.
Siemens Enterprise Communications
Siemens Enterprise Communications' large enterprise portfolio is marketed under OpenScape Enterprise, which consists of highly scalable platforms. OpenScape Enterprise is the flagship platform, scaling to 100,000 users in a single node configuration and 500,000 in a network. OpenScape Enterprise supports private, hybrid or public cloud deployments, and may be virtualized with VMware or any open virtualization, format-compliant hypervisor. Siemens Enterprise Communications also offers OpenScape Enterprise Express, for up to 1,000 users with preconfigured applications, which include UC, contact center, session border controller and management. Siemens Enterprise Communications maintains a strong presence in Europe and Latin America, and is working to improve coverage in North America. In September 2013 Siemens Enterprise Communications announced it is planning an imminent name change to focus on media and marketing awareness.
OpenScape Enterprise solutions support midsize to very large enterprise requirements, and are obvious choices for customers that want to upgrade older HiPath 4000 and Hicom 300 installations. Large organizations should consider OpenScape Enterprise for its ability to be deployed globally as a single, highly resilient system that customers can manage centrally from different locations. The OpenScape Enterprise portfolio offers investment protection as customers transition to UC.
- Siemens Enterprise Communications has successfully made the transition to a software-oriented supplier and is well-placed to offer competitive licensing formats, such as perpetual right to use, as well as subscription-based licenses, allowing the solution to grow with customers' needs.
- Siemens Enterprise Communications maintained its market share for 2012, while most of its main competitors' market share declined.
- The company offers vertical specific solutions. OpenScape Xpert is targeted at financial services organizations and includes trading turrets. The solution enables customers to benefit from the networking capabilities of OpenScape Enterprise.
- Siemens Enterprise Communications has been operating as a joint partnership between the private equity firm The Gores Group and Siemens AG, with the latter having a minority position. Since Siemens AG is planning to reduce costs over the next year by €6 billion ($8.1 billion), the intentions of Siemens AG are uncertain about maintaining this relationship, which could affect Siemens Enterprise Communications' future ownership structure.
- Some Siemens Enterprise Communications customers report variable response times for product and technical support in regions where coverage needs improvement.
- Despite a market-leading portfolio of products and services, Siemens Enterprise Communications' sales and channels to market are slow to grasp the opportunity to meet customers' and prospects' requirements with the full OpenScape portfolio. In North America, distribution and support are limited, compared with the company's main competitors in that region.
The Toshiba Strata CIX Series and IPedge telephony platforms support up to 1,000 users, with the latter built on a Linux-based platform that includes telephony, voice mail, UM, IM/presence and SIP trunking capabilities in a single-server architecture. Although the Strata CIX and IPedge solutions are positioned to customers in the same size segments, the Strata CIX solution supports digital and IP devices, while IPedge is a pure IP-based solution. The solutions can be networked together as necessary. Toshiba offers a VIPedge cloud-based voice over IP (VoIP) service; the same dealers in Toshiba's distribution network sell Toshiba on-premises and cloud solutions.
Toshiba products appeal to organizations with centralized requirements or that need to support remote sites in vertical markets (such as retail, automotive, banking, financial services and government), including locations that cross geographic boundaries. The company offers a unique, centrally managed national accounts program that includes uniform pricing for multisite deployments in multiple regions.
- All Toshiba Strata CIX Series systems use the same applications, endpoints, cabinets and interfaces, with the capability to support a wide range of wired and wireless devices, as well as softphones.
- Toshiba has IPedge-certified dealers in every major and secondary market in the U.S. and Canada, as well as distribution in Mexico.
- Toshiba offers a seven-year manufacturer's warranty that is unique in the industry.
- For cloud-based communications, Toshiba positions the VIPedge solution as a virtualized version of the IPedge product that provides similar capabilities to IPedge, but with users acquiring functionality through a monthly service-based subscription fee.
- Although Toshiba is a large diversified manufacturer and marketer of electronics and electrical products, the communications business does not have any presence in the large enterprise market in EMEA, nor does it have a global strategy that focuses on IP telephony requirements outside the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K., parts of the Asia/Pacific region and Japan.
- Toshiba's installed base is comprised mainly of midsize organizations with less than 1,000 users per organization.
- In the event of a failure, an AudioCodes gateway is required to automatically reroute incoming calls to an alternative Strata CIX or IPedge system.
We review and adjust our inclusion criteria for Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes as markets change. As a result of these adjustments, the mix of vendors in any Magic Quadrant or MarketScope may change over time. A vendor's appearance in a Magic Quadrant or MarketScope one year and not the next does not necessarily indicate that we have changed our opinion of that vendor. It may be a reflection of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or of a change of focus by that vendor.
Digium was dropped from the Magic Quadrant this year because the company does not meet the minimum revenue requirement of $150 million from enterprise communications.
To be included in the corporate telephony Magic Quadrant, solution providers must meet the following minimum criteria:
- Demonstrate an IP-based corporate telephony application that provides enterprisewide call routing and management for enterprises with more than 800 voice users, including switchboard operations across multiple wired and wireless networks.
- Have a product that includes the management of legacy telephony environments, including media gateways; the connection of IP with circuit-switched-based networks; and functions such as call admission control, survivability, codec management, echo cancellation, and access to emergency services and agencies. The systems must integrate with UC functionality, not only telephony, but also conferencing (including audio, Web and video); IM and presence; messaging; and UC end-user clients for multiple environments.
- Have a significant market presence in telephony that can be demonstrated by significant market share or differentiating innovation. Vendors must have minimum annual revenue from enterprise communications of $150 million.
- Offer systems in multiple global market regions, including North America, Europe, Central America, Latin America and Asia.
- Provide evidence of sales, revenue and operational investments that support market objectives. This research focuses on the large and very large enterprise markets. Vendors focused primarily on SMBs are not included.
- Provide multiple references for enterprise on-premises portfolios/products.
This research provides guidance for planners responsible for updating or replacing a telephony system. Gartner analysts evaluate corporate telephony solution vendors based on the breadth, quality and overall maturity of their applications, processes, tools and procedures that enhance individual, group and enterprise communications. Ultimately, these vendors are judged on their ability and success in capitalizing on their vision:
- Product/Service: Core products providing telephony capabilities, offered by vendors that compete in and serve the enterprise market segment. This category includes the vendors' current product capabilities as defined in the market definition, as well as the respective road maps that vendors offer that enable organizations to migrate to UC.
- Overall Viability: Includes an assessment of the organization's overall financial health, as well as the financial and practical success of the business unit, especially under current market conditions. Also included is the potential of the business unit to continue to invest in and offer the product, and advance the state of the art in the company's broader portfolio of products.
- Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor and channel capabilities in all presales activities and the operational structure that supports them. This category includes deal management, value selling, pricing and negotiation, presales support, and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel (direct and indirect).
- Market Responsiveness/Record: The ability to respond to current market conditions and the disruptive influences of UC. This evaluation assesses how a vendor might change direction or modify its portfolio to achieve competitive success, as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve and market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the vendor's history of market responsiveness, as tracked in Gartner market share and sizing research.
- Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of marketing programs designed to deliver the organization's message to influence all markets, promote the brand and business, increase product awareness, and establish a positive identification with the product, the vendor and the channel among buyers. This mind share can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotions, thought leadership, word of mouth and sales activities, as well as Gartner's inquiry process.
- Customer Experience: Sales and support relationships, products and programs that enable customers to have a positive experience and achieve their respective goals for a corporate telephony implementation. This assessment includes the availability of technical and account support, and the number of channels through which this is available. Also included are customer support programs (and their quality), and the availability of user groups and SLAs. We include feedback from Gartner clients through the inquiry process in our analysis.
- Operations: The ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments, especially in the current climate. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure, especially global operations, skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable vendors to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis (see Table 1).
Product or Service
Source: Gartner (September 2013)
Gartner analysts evaluate telephony solution providers based on their ability to convincingly articulate logical statements about current and future market directions, innovations, customer needs and competitive forces, and how well these map to Gartner's overall understanding of the marketplace. Ultimately, these providers are rated on their understanding of how market forces can be exploited to create opportunities for providers and their clients:
- Market Understanding: The vendor's understanding of how customer needs are changing (for users and the IT group responsible for managing telephony). It was especially important to see how vendors proposed to complement, or compete with, UC collaboration solutions.
- Marketing Strategy: A clear, differentiated set of messages for telephony and enhanced communication consistently delivered by executives and senior employees, and promoted through websites, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.
- Sales Strategy: The strategy for selling telephony products that uses an appropriate and profitable balance of direct and indirect sales, marketing, service, and communications affiliates that extend the scope and depth of market reach to selective markets.
- Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor's approach to telephony product development and delivery, with road maps for consolidation where necessary. Important factors include the migration to software, support for SIP and the ability to build scalable solutions that are consistent with the needs of target markets.
- Business Model: The logic of the vendor's underlying business proposition for the direction of the communications market.
- Vertical/Industry Strategy: Articulated as a specialization by leveraging intellectual capital, technology, or products as when a company manufactures its own integrated circuits for incorporation into electronic components or devices that it markets.
- Innovation: Demonstrate the necessary innovation to capture market share and grow in associated markets, with a combination of technology and services to grow revenue beyond the market average. The IP telephony market has reached maturity.
- Geographic Strategy: The telephony market has historically been fragmented, with most players receiving income from their traditional home markets. The requirements of many of Gartner's end-user clients are global. Demonstrate how it directs resources, skills and product offerings to meet the needs of international clients, directly or through channels, to market to the needs of clients (see Table 2).
Source: Gartner (September 2013)
Leaders are high-viability vendors with broad portfolios, significant market shares, broad geographic coverage, a clear vision of how telephony needs will evolve and a proven track record for delivering telephony solutions. They are well-positioned with their current product portfolio and likely to continue delivering leading products. Leaders do not necessarily offer a best-of-breed solution for every customer requirement. However, overall, their products are strong and often have some exceptional capabilities. These vendors provide solutions that present relatively low risk for enterprise use.
Challengers are vendors with strong market capabilities and good solutions for specific markets. However, overall, their products lack the breadth and depth of those in the Leaders quadrant. Challengers do not always communicate a clear vision of how the telephony market is evolving, and they are often less innovative or advanced than Leaders. Vendors in this quadrant often have excellent telephony functionality, but lack brand awareness in the market.
Visionaries demonstrate a clear understanding of the telephony market and provide key innovations that point to the market's future. However, these vendors may be relatively new to the telephony market, with the potential to grow while in the process of expanding their regional and global sales and support capabilities.
The vendors in this quadrant offer telephony solutions that focus on a segment or segments of the market, or a subset of telephony functionality. Customers aligned with the focus of a niche solution provider may find its offerings to be a good match for their limited needs. Niche Players often offer strong products for particular geographical or vertical market subsets, but may have some weaknesses in one or more important areas.
Companies are increasingly focusing their business strategies and acquisition decisions around unified communications and collaboration (UCC) technology; it is supplanting the historical domain of corporate telephony (see "Agenda Overview for Enterprise Communications Applications, 2013"). This shift presents IT planners with new user needs and technological integration challenges, especially as telephony applications become more mobile, and as knowledge workers increase their reliance on conferencing, video, IM and collaboration tools to fulfill group tasks.
Organizations will continue to invest in IP telephony platforms after having mapped out telephony's role in a clear UC strategy. As users' communication habits evolve, infrastructure and operations leaders should consider new telephony and UC vendor relationships, as well as the use of managed services, outsourcing, hosted and cloud-based solutions. Employment of IP-PBXs will vary according to current investments, maturity of an organization's network infrastructure and incumbent vendor strategy.
Key trends in corporate telephony include:
- Uncertain economic conditions that persist globally are affecting the market share growth of most corporate telephony vendors.
- Growing vendor investment in cloud telephony portfolios, more-mature cloud offers, and increased acceptance of alternative acquisition models are increasing market awareness and the opportunities for acceptance of cloud telephony offers. An increasing number of IT decision makers are evaluating the potential value for cloud telephony in an enterprise communications strategy.
- Virtualized telephony has become increasingly popular among enterprises, with most vendors investing to meet this need (see "Communication Server Virtualization" — Note: This document has been archived; some of its content may not reflect current conditions), while also addressing IT leaders' needs to improve the enterprise's resiliency and disaster recovery capabilities, and to reduce server and operations costs.
- The bundling of communications licenses and capabilities include voice, presence, IM, conferencing and mobility functionalities. While offers may look attractive and are often appropriate for some users, the added cost of software subscriptions means buyers likely will be overpaying for features that a minority of users access.
- Continued aggressive discounting (ranging from 50% to 65% for corporate telephony systems) has been ongoing since 2009, especially for large global telephony deals. This trend reinforces the need for buyers to use the RFP process and be strategic about vendor selection (see "Toolkit: Sample RFP for Unified Communications").
With users becoming more mobile, organizations are interested in connecting incoming corporate telephony calls at the desktop with mobile devices (see "Critical Capabilities for Corporate Telephony"). Enterprises are gaining buying power with mobile operators. They are able to negotiate on-net rates for lower-cost or flat-rate calling between mobile users and their enterprise networks. As IT welcomes mobile devices to the enterprise, organizations will demand solutions that integrate the mobile phone more tightly into the corporate telephony solution and employees' preferred smartphones.
The enterprise voice market includes the provisioning of holistic voice communications for all wired and wireless users. Typically, architectures support distributed on-premises solutions, as well as centralized, virtualized and hosted platforms dedicated to a single organization.
Some technology providers may not meet all your organization's requirements as they refine their strategies for profitability and sustainability. Evaluate a telephony vendor's ability to support one or more of the following future directions and capabilities:
- Supports real-time voice, video and conferencing capabilities across the enterprise network, integrated with collaboration capabilities, such as IM, email and desktop sharing. Migrating between different communications channels should be seamless for users and offer a lower TCO for the IT group than managing separate communications channels.
- Demonstrates the value of session management and control, and supports policies for the ways that sessions are established between network endpoints across multiple technology platforms and managed for quality and cost controls. This approach elevates the role of the corporate communications platform to that of network and session manager. It is an alternative option to creating a homogeneous voice platform integrated with multiple communications channels across the business. Evaluate vendors with this approach for their ability to offer enhanced routing capabilities, and to extend contact center technologies as a value-added component of communication beyond the customer service center.
- Offers an open telephony platform that supports integrations and partnerships with conferencing and collaboration applications from disparate vendors. Vendor solutions should focus on managing voice across wired and wireless endpoints.
- Enables system integration with and support for competitive UC products to complement and supplement their telephony solutions. Over time, enterprises will need a global capability to support knowledge worker groups in diverse geographies.
- Provides a scalable hosted alternative that supports capabilities for service providers to offer communications-as-a-service solutions.
- Includes established network and system management tools that leverage the efficiencies and opportunities for cost savings afforded by IP technology, such as managing voice and data communications through a common Web-based UI; remote provisioning of new extension users; and performing moves, adds and changes without relying on technicians.
- Feedback from Gartner inquiries, which amounts to more than 900 end-user client discussions per year
- More than 100 face-to-face meetings with Gartner clients
- Vendor responses to detailed questionnaires specific to this Magic Quadrant research
- Interviews with vendor references
- Periodic vendor briefings during a 12-month interval
- Generally available information, news and data in financial and industry publications
- Attendance at vendor analyst conferences and industry tradeshows
- Discussions with Gartner peers in research communities
- Gartner management critique, peer review, and vendor review and confirmation.
Ability to Execute
Product/Service: Core goods and services offered by the vendor for the defined market. This includes current product/service capabilities, quality, feature sets, skills and so on, whether offered natively or through OEM agreements/partnerships as defined in the market definition and detailed in the subcriteria.
Overall Viability: Viability includes an assessment of the overall organization's financial health, the financial and practical success of the business unit, and the likelihood that the individual business unit will continue investing in the product, will continue offering the product and will advance the state of the art within the organization's portfolio of products.
Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor's capabilities in all presales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, presales support, and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel.
Market Responsiveness/Record: Ability to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve and market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the vendor's history of responsiveness.
Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the organization's message to influence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the products, and establish a positive identification with the product/brand and organization in the minds of buyers. This "mind share" can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotional initiatives, thought leadership, word of mouth and sales activities.
Customer Experience: Relationships, products and services/programs that enable clients to be successful with the products evaluated. Specifically, this includes the ways customers receive technical support or account support. This can also include ancillary tools, customer support programs (and the quality thereof), availability of user groups, service-level agreements and so on.
Operations: The ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure, including skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable the organization to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis.
Completeness of Vision
Market Understanding: Ability of the vendor to understand buyers' wants and needs and to translate those into products and services. Vendors that show the highest degree of vision listen to and understand buyers' wants and needs, and can shape or enhance those with their added vision.
Marketing Strategy: A clear, differentiated set of messages consistently communicated throughout the organization and externalized through the website, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.
Sales Strategy: The strategy for selling products that uses the appropriate network of direct and indirect sales, marketing, service, and communication affiliates that extend the scope and depth of market reach, skills, expertise, technologies, services and the customer base.
Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor's approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes differentiation, functionality, methodology and feature sets as they map to current and future requirements.
Business Model: The soundness and logic of the vendor's underlying business proposition.
Vertical/Industry Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of individual market segments, including vertical markets.
Innovation: Direct, related, complementary and synergistic layouts of resources, expertise or capital for investment, consolidation, defensive or pre-emptive purposes.
Geographic Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies outside the "home" or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries as appropriate for that geography and market.