Last week, Gartner released its yearly Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications (UC) report with Microsoft as one of the industry leaders.
The Gartner Magic Quadrant is a graphical competitive positioning of four types of technology providers in fast-growing markets: Leaders, Visionaries, Niche Players and Challengers. There are several Magic Quadrants for different arenas in technology. In the Magic Quadrant for UC, Gartner examined how the different qualities of each vendor’s systems impacted the overall objective of improving user productivity and enhancing business processes. Gartner looked at the user experience, mobility, interoperability, cloud and hybrid integration, how broad the appeal of each solution is.
The top right corner is exclusively reserved for those distinguished as Leaders, the overall culmination of the most important qualities as determined by Gartner. Microsoft and competitors like Cisco have consistently hovered in the top right quadrant as Leaders, but this is the furthest right Microsoft has ever been in the UC category.
One of my favorite bloggers Matt Landis put together a time lapse image of the Gartner UC Magic Quadrants since 2006 — it’s easy to see how Microsoft moves further toward the top right over time.
While Lync has been long in the making, it’s drastically improved and evolved over the years. Gartner recognized this rapid growth in the report:
The Lync partner ecosystem expanded at a rapid pace; however, more importantly, the partners’ skill level and experience in complex deployments that include voice and video also improved significantly year over year. Lync’s improved federation capabilities have proven an effective way for groups to collaborate across organizational boundaries. For cloud delivery, Microsoft offers Lync Online as part of the Office 365 suite, as well as in private cloud configurations; in both cases, partners can be leveraged for telephony.
As the Microsoft Unified Communications (UC) stack has matured – through LCS to OCS to and now Lync – I’ve been impressed at how they have continued to add the most relevant business features to the product. From the early days of having IM and Presence, Microsoft has understood the need to find the right people at the right time.
Adding more features like B2B Federation and Conferencing, businesses can now leverage real-time communications into their overall business processes. Drawing on the PBX integration with OCS 2007 R2, Microsoft blew the lid off of UC with Lync 2010 (and now 2013) by offering a complete/full PBX replacement for the Enterprise.
As this year’s Gartner report shows, it is no surprise that Microsoft continues to “turn” their doubters and overtake their competitors. Lync is the real deal.