This week, industry analyst firm Aragon Research published its fourth annual 2020 Aragon Research Globe™ for Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC), and I’m thrilled that Cisco was identified again as leader.
Aragon’s report offers timely insights, which are even more pertinent in the 2020 and beyond.
The Foundation: Security, Reliability, and Scalability
From Aragon’s report:
“Because business leaders need to count on the platform provider, they need to consistently deliver—even in times of network congestion — will cause the selection to be looked at more completely than just on the basis of feature comparisons.”
Communications has always been considered essential to business continuity. But as the recent massive demand for remote work has demonstrated, the complete set of collaboration tools are now also mission-critical. They must be engineered for uncompromising resilience and performance, even under extreme circumstances. This is especially true of cloud solutions — where enterprises may be exposed to failures and security breaches, not in their control.
At Cisco, we are singularly committed to security by default, privacy by design and complete transparency if any issues arise. In March 2020, the Webex cloud platform experienced a 4X volume surge in EMEA, 3X surge in APJC, 2.5X surge in the Americas and delivered over 14B meeting minutes – with a high level of reliability, security and data privacy rigorously enforced globally at all times.
The Need for a Complete Collaboration Platform in the Post-COVID World
From Aragon’s report:
“The platform play is the key criteria for enterprises. Providers still focus on core strengths, but the evaluation should be on the combination and the overall strength of the platform.”
Fully integrated business communications — including, calling, messaging, meetings, team collaboration, and contact centers — is now essential to productivity, user experience and total cost of ownership, especially when working remotely. So the overall strength of the platform is now a critical consideration.
We at Cisco have been laser-focused on platform integration and unified user experience for all collaboration functions. A single Webex cloud platform now supports all workloads, allowing the integration of all UCC functions, devices, analytics, service management, and external business system interfaces. And we have also unified the user interfaces across all applications with deep device and business application integrations to deliver an intuitive and consistent user experience.
The Path to the Cloud
From Aragon’s report:
“With Cisco’s broad UCC portfolio and the Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan, enterprises have a range of options that combine on-premises, hybrid, and public cloud deployments, as well as the flexibility to mix, match, and integrate services and deployment models as the business evolves.”
The shift to cloud-based collaboration has been underway for some time and following COVID-19 will accelerate even further. In fact, Aragon recommends that all enterprises consider adopting the cloud.
But while some enterprises will consider a flash transition to the cloud, for many the optimal path depends on individual needs and priorities. Enterprises may want to balance continuing to leverage the investment in their on-premises PBX while adding calling, meetings and team collaboration via the cloud. The transition path may be phased by moving specific workloads to the cloud, or by geographic and scalability considerations.
Cisco is in the privileged position of leading in both on-premises and cloud-based calling, meetings, and contact centers markets — so we are focused on enabling full transition flexibility for our customers.
We have integrated our premises-based Unified Communications Manager with Webex cloud collaboration via Webex Edge for Calling to enable hybrid deployments and unified user experience and management. We have also introduced Cisco UCM Cloud, providing dedicated hosted cloud deployment for enterprises with extensive integrations or special regulatory compliance. And we offer full commercial flexibility via our Collaboration Flex Plan and with our Webex Hardware as a Service offers.
Overall, I believe the key takeaways are: Communication and collaboration must be seamlessly integrated in a single platform with unified experience and management, backed by uncompromising reliability and security, and flexibly delivered via both the cloud and on-premises based on individual enterprise needs.
To learn more, read the full 2020 Aragon Globe for UCC report.