The two giants in unified communications technology, Cisco and Microsoft, are both looking to their clouds for future Unified Communications (UC) deployments, particularly in the team collaboration area. As detailed in a recent Enterprise Connect webinar, “Cisco vs. Microsoft: Customizing Your Cloud UC Deployment,” sponsored by TetraVX, both companies still have on-premises roadmaps, but they are pinning the future and major products in the cloud.
Microsoft announced that Teams, their replacement for Skype for Business, will only be available in their Office 365 cloud. Cisco has indicated that Spark, which is hosted in their cloud, is their go-forward solution instead of Jabber. This raises questions for many companies who are satisfied with Skype for Business and Jabber, or have large parts of their organizations that favor one over the other.
Deployment of Spark or Teams as a collaboration solution is further complicated by potentially required integration with other communications tools, particularly with telephony systems, and whether one must choose only one vendor. Reportedly, about 50% of the market uses Skype for Business or Lync, while 35% have deployed Cisco Unified Communications Manager for telephony. During our webinar, an audience poll showed 85% of respondents had two (or more) team collaboration apps in use in their company.
In this Enterprise Connect webinar, presenter Dr. Brent Kelly, a leading analyst/consultant with KelCor, encouraged companies to consider:
- Moving to the cloud should be a business model and process decision. It may not work for your organization at this time. So, proceed cautiously in determining the need to deploy a different UC solution.
- Before making any move, create test cases and user profiles for every reasonable business need. This will help you make sure the system you are leaning toward will (or will not) meet needs throughout the organization. There may be a sound business reason at this point for part of the organization to prefer one solution and another department to need a different answer. For example, there may be a need to integrate with telephony equipment. There are integration and third-party options that may provide the requisite functionality now, or a hybrid solution may be required.
- Making sure the service-level agreements protect your interests if the vendor fails to deliver as promised.
- Using Teams or Spark requires the Microsoft or Cisco clouds, respectively. However, if Jabber and Skype for Business meet your needs for the foreseeable future, TetraVX provides on-premise, cloud, or hybrid deployments for both.
- Moving to the cloud for collaboration does eliminate redundancies that many companies have with on-premises deployment at multiple sites. It also provides system redundancy to allow business to continue at other locations in the event of a disaster.
- Implementing a cloud-based solution offers reductions in costs, increased scalability and other pluses that enable them to take advantage of systems they might not readily afford if they needed to implement something on-site.
The industry dominance of Microsoft and Cisco doesn’t mean you are destined to the fate of their clouds or siloed to one solution or the other. At TetraVX, we specialize in creating truly customized UC environments. We provide a preliminary look at your UC infrastructure, your goals for the organization, the end-user preferences, and budget and timelines. Based on our findings, we work together to design the best solution for your organization. Whether on-premise, in the cloud, or hybrid deployments, TetraVX can provide you a seamless migration to either Skype, Cisco, or an integration of both. To look at UC deployment possibilities for your business, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.