In early 2007, Cisco was touting their three year lead on Microsoft in UC. Now, Cisco seems to have decided they were running in the wrong direction - and perhaps even in the wrong race. In the last month, Cisco has added two new software pieces to their UC puzzle and are now playing catch up to companies like Microsoft and Nortel who have long seen that the path to UC was in powerful, well-integrated software, not wires.
Cisco’s offering is the definition of “un-unified” communications. With more than 40 products, their solution is a patchwork of technologies and networking. The risk for customers is that a patchwork system is slower to roll out, harder to train users, and more expensive to manage and maintain over the long term.
By contrast, software-based unified communications is just that: “unified.” It provides customers with the power of one – one infrastructure and one user experience that simplifies and speeds deployment and adoption, and it interoperates more easily with existing systems. Businesses save costs with software-powered UC – an all-important consideration in today’s financial climate. Our customers tell us that our system slashes their overall telephony costs by 30 to 60 percent, with their long distance charges reduced by up to 76 percent, and almost one-third sliced off their mobile telephony overhead. Those are some pretty compelling economics.
We shipped Microsoft’s UC platform in Office Communications Server and Exchange Server 12 months ago, and today, more than half of Fortune 500 companies are using the technology. Now, we’re moving on to the next phase in delivering on our unified communications vision, and we’ll be sharing more about that early next week and at VoiceCon Amsterdam in October. You’ll see how we’re extending OCS telephony beyond remote and mobile workers, delivering more robust collaboration capabilities, better integrating mobile phones into a complete UC solution, and delivering innovations that unlock the power of what industry analysts call ‘communications-enabled business processes’ and what I call ‘jet fuel for business processes’.
Gurdeep Singh Pall - Corporate Vice President, Unified Communications Group