Businesses, customers and resellers in the Unified Communications (UC) community have relied on Gartner's Magic Quadrant for years to help them understand which vendors are leaders in the industry and which are challengers in the space. However, in January 2019, Gartner announced that it would refocus its research and end the UC Magic Quadrant.
TechRadar Pro spoke with TetraVX's Director of Product Management, Kara Longo Korte to better understand how the UC marketplace has changed and why Gartner's decision to end the UC Magic Quadrant affects the industry as a whole.
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What prompted Gartner’s decision to end the unified communications (UC) Magic Quadrant?
The Unified Communications (UC) Magic Quadrant doesn’t adequately represent the marketplace, or should I say, future of the marketplace any longer. The evolution of Unified Communications has not only led to a stronger integration with collaboration tools but has also shifted in how it’s primarily being delivered, with legacy on-premises fading away as cloud takes over. This shift has been happening over time, and at some point, the scale had to tip.
Will Gartner’s Market Guide provide similar information to a Magic Quadrant and if not, where does it fall short?
The Market Guide is positioned to offer similar information to the UC Magic Quadrant, however, it will not focus on segmenting vendors as the Quadrant previously did. Many challenged the scoring system that led Gartner to place vendors where they did. So even though the Market Guide may not provide as much detail on the individual vendors, it may end up giving us a more realistic understanding of the UC marketplace. The oneness will now be on those shopping a UC solution to do their due diligence when vetting vendors.
Do you think it would have made more sense to connect the Magic Quadrants for collaboration and unified communications?
Perhaps, but that seems like a shift that is too drastic for the overall market to make all at once – even though we see this trend. It’s still very important to understand the use cases for these types of systems. Beyond simply size and industry of the organization as a whole, we have to look at how each department functions. For example, while some users may need the full suite of collaboration features, others may only need dial tone. Therefore, we’re seeing the top deployment model being individual systems that are tightly integrated to provide a seamless experience across the organization.
Why do IT investment decision makers prefer a tightly integrated multi-vendor solution over a single vendor?
Many businesses are moving their unified communications and contact center to the cloud. As they do so, they're looking for providers that can offer a one-stop shop to cover a broader scope of their needs. An integrated set of cloud communications and contact center solutions from a single provider delivers operational efficiencies, reducing vendor management costs and ensuring tighter interoperability and integration between systems. However, the mad rush by vendors to offer both systems has led to a ‘jack of all trades; master of none’ situation. For now, IT investment decision makers are focusing on vendors who offer tightly integrated, best-of-breed solutions until the day when single vendor solutions become up to par.
Are there any benefits to choosing a full-stack vendor?
There absolutely can be, but there are also benefits to choosing best-in-class vendors that tightly integrate with each other. We’ve seen a pendulum shift from one vendor to many vendors and a slight shift back. I think it’s important to not forget about a hybrid approach where vendors are so tightly intertwined at both the product and service level that an organization can get the best of both worlds. Benefiting from both a single vendor experience and multi-vendor expertise.
What do you think the future holds for the unified communications space?
Unified Communications isn’t dead, in fact, we may be able to debate that this is the rebirth of Unified Communications. The lines between UC, collaboration, and contact center are blurring, and by shifting to cloud-based models, organizations are in a better position to capitalize on quickly evolving cloud communications tools. It’s an essential step in the right direction to accurately depict the marketplace and where the industry is headed.
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