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Survey Reveals Key Considerations in Collaboration and It’s Not First and Best on Windows

Blog Post created by cwiese on Feb 18, 2013

Every day I hear from customers who want to make collaboration more pervasive across their organizations. How do they take advantage of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)? Does it make sense to move some solutions to the cloud? What about video?

Those are all good questions, but as my colleague Rowan Trollope, SVP and GM of Cisco Collaboration Technology Group, said today, this is just the beginning. Cisco commissioned a global survey of 3,320 IT leaders from nine countries (U.S., Canada, U.K., Sweden, Germany, India, Russia, New Zealand and Australia) to find out what’s really top of mind for them. The survey, conducted by Redshift Research, revealed some interesting observations, not only about what matters to IT leaders, but about the differences between Cisco’s and Microsoft’s approach to collaboration. Here are some of the top findings:

Mobility

Nearly three out of four say Microsoft’s “First and Best on Windows” strategy will have at least some negative impact on the survey respondent’s business.

As some of you may know, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer was quoted as saying that Skype will always be “first and best on Windows,” and then he acknowledged that cross-platform is good too. But, we’d argue that it needs to be the other way around. And we feel that the survey data clearly supports this as well. A resounding 72% of survey respondents said Microsoft’s “Windows first” strategy will have at least some negative impact on their business — since it is BYOD that’s here to stay, not BYOWD (Bring Your OwnWindows Device). Our own statistics highlight why being device and operating system agnostic is crucial. The latest numbers we’ve recorded show there have been 3.7 million downloads of the Cisco WebEx Meetings mobile app for smartphones and tablets. We’ve seen 72% year-over-year growth in application downloads on Apple devices and 248% year-over-year growth for Android devices. While a BYOWD world might be good for Microsoft, IT leaders know that it’s not good for business.

Cloud

An overwhelming 80 percent of respondents expect to get voice and video from the cloud with features and quality on par with what’s offered on premises.

This is a pretty significant change from what we saw in the market just a few short years ago, when expectations of real-time communications from the cloud were far short of those expected on premises. These days, customers not only want a consistent experience, but feature parity between cloud and on premises solutions. At Cisco, we get that. We’ve made it our business to bring Cisco Unified Communications Manager to the cloud with our Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) offering. HCS gives cloud service providers the ability to offer the same capabilities and user experiences in the cloud as we offer on premise with no compromises. Telecom service providers and partners globally are taking notice, with 40 signed to date. Microsoft is playing catch-up in both areas; they do not have a strong global telecom provider network in place, and, as you’ll see in the next set of results, there are concerns with quality and reliability.

Voice and Video Quality and Reliability

A significant number of those who have deployed Lync do not use it for business-critical external communications, and an even higher percentage maintain a proven communications system for their most important communications.

Nearly half (47%) of the IT leaders who said they have deployed Microsoft Lync in their organization indicated they do not use it for business-critical external communications, and nearly eight in 10 (77%) say they maintain a separate proven communications system since it is “important for users and calls requiring high quality/reliability.” When it comes to business-critical collaboration — a contact center agent talking to a customer, executive discussions or an earnings call — communications must go off without a hitch. Smart customers know that they have to be able to provide a collaboration solution for all employees and not just those that sit at a Windows PC all day — something Cisco does day in and day out.

Support

Nearly four out of five IT leaders say that not having a single point of accountability for the whole UC solution negatively impacts business.

Whether it’s phones, gateways, contact centers or video endpoints — IT leaders want a single point of accountability for today’s UC environment. Eighty seven percent said that they want a single point of accountability, and 78% said that without one, time is wasted, productivity falls or revenue can be lost. Cisco believes customers should seek vendors who can provide that single point of accountability. From our vantage point, Microsoft’s multi-vendor approach involves a patch quilt of vendors, and finding out “who’s on first?” when support is needed can be like finding a needle in a haystack. This can result in increased costs and reduced productivity for customers as they try to figure out how to troubleshoot and resolve problems across many different technology vendors.

It’s clear that cloud, mobility, voice and video are all key market drivers in collaboration.  However, as IT managers consider collaboration vendors and solutions, we think it’s critical these requirements garner even more attention in the decision-making process. Collaboration is too important to an organization’s business to sacrifice any of these success factors.

To learn more about these considerations, check out the wealth of information on our microsite.

Carl

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