Monday, May 23, 2016

Microsoft vs. Cisco vs. Broadsoft

Analysts' reports estimate that Cisco and Microsoft will take more than half of the Enterprise UC&C market (estimated at 55%). Cisco has three offerings chasing this market: Call Manager series; Cisco Spark (either hosted by Cisco or a Service Provider); and HCS. Small, medium and large.

Microsoft is already climbing past 55 million users of Office365 with Skype for Business. This slideshow of a survey about Skype4B. "This year's survey of enterprise IT professionals, conducted in April, netted 445 respondents. Similar to what we found from our 2015 survey participants, half of this year's respondents, or 224 enterprise IT professionals, said their organizations have adopted the on-premises version of Skype for Business." One-third of the respondents use the cloud based version for Skype4B.

Slack is fast approaching 3 million daily users. It isn't that employees don't want to use UC&C. They just want it to be integrated and easy to use.

I worry that Broadsoft hasn't taken more market share already. (They have been at it longer, probably longer than the marketplace was ready for them). Also it seems that BSFT does not have a true position. It is pitched from 10 seats to 10K seats. It is pitched for contact center. It is not integrated into Skype4B nor Slack. The service providers selling BSFT will need a clear value proposition and positioning statement to push up market and take sales away from both Cisco and Microsoft.

The biggest competitor to the small business space is actually the cellphone. GoDaddy didn't buy FreedomVoice to sell a Hosted Phone system. They are selling them auto-attendant in the cloud (like Grasshopper, and Google Voice) and toll-free numbers. Transactional products that can seem to add value to the VSB.

The hard part is the handset. VoIP providers are so set to sell phones, that they haven't moved to sell the value of soft clients and mobile apps in a BYOD world. Maybe the Polycom purchase by MITEL will shake things up enough to get the VoIP Providers to go native.

Mast Mobile, which is an MVNO and a mobile UC provider, has what many VSB (1-5 employee businesses) would want: mobile app with UC capabilities; second line feature and maybe the calling plan. The marketing, customer acquisition and support costs may be askew to the revenue and capital. Most UC players are moving up market for 2 reasons: easier sale in mid-market (over 150 employees) because those buyers can appreciate the UC feature set more than a small business does (under 99 employees). The second reason is economic: the cost of customer acquisition, implementation and support can be easily recouped from 100+ seat deal -- a lot harder on a 25 seat deal.

We are at a tipping point. No clear winner (despite the Synergy Research), but by the end of 2016 or 1Q2017, the winners will start to pull away from the pack. Part of it will be due to consolidation; partly because of capital (it takes money to bring on clients); and partly due to what providers have their shit together and are aligned with their sales partners to go get that market share.


West UC released an infographic from a survey about Video Calling.

Another S4B study: Most Businesses See Value of #Skype4B but Fear Change.

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