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unified communications

UC MARKETPLACE:  Microsoft, Cisco and Broadsoft

October 12, 2016

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CT-Solutions-Wheel-high-res-dark-2.pngAt the start of this decade there was a transformational shift in business communication. 

An industry that was dominated by a desk phone was about to be reinvented.  Business communication tools are quickly evolving into tailor made solutions for a dynamic work style.

The transference from phone and email exclusive solutions to Unified Communications are upon us. 

The ability to communicate with colleagues or customers from anywhere, at any time has driven business to make an overall cultural change in the way communication is handled. Incorporating desktop and mobile, IP voice, IM, presence, screenshare and video conferencing have made tremendous marketplace impact.  According to market watcher, IDG, 56% of enterprises and 66% of SMBs say they plan to implement or upgrade their communications solutions in the coming year.

Unified Communications (UC) empower business to be more productive and more collaborative.  Microsoft, Cisco and Broadsoft UCaaS solutions are front runners in adoption in enterprise, mid-range and small business.  Analysis’ estimate that Cisco and Microsoft will take 55% of the Enterprise Unified Communications and collaboration market. 

In today’s marketplace business it’s not a choice of when you are going to adopt Unified Communications, it is a question of which Unified Communications solution works best for your business.  The market has three top tier choices, Microsoft, Cisco and Broadsoft.

MICROSOFT

Microsoft Unified Communications vision is simple, “to bridge the gap between telephones and computers.” Microsoft integrates telephone-based tasks such as phone calls, voicemail and conferencing with computer-based tasks such as documentation, spreadsheets, instant messaging, email and calendars. It's streamlined and highly scalable.  

Microsoft recently revealed there are now 60 million active Office 365 business customers, with Skype for Business. According to a 2016 study of Enterprise IT Professionals, conducted by No Jitter, half of responders stated their organizations have adopted the on-premises Skype for Business solution.  Another one-third of the respondents use the cloud based version for Skype for Business.

In late 2015, Microsoft introduced its Cloud PBX replacement solution.  The functionality and support are scaled for small business development.

For companies that need a more robust solution, Microsoft has strategic partners that voice enable Skype for Business. These providers replace O365’s Skype for Business Online with Skype for Business hosted voice, empowering business with a dynamic Enterprise solution set.  Hosted providers manage implementations, training and support.  This solution is ideal for companies who are making a move to the cloud and have a limited IT infrastructure and a workforce in multiple locations. Hosted providers also will also have support fundamental business integrations such as contact center, call recording and CRM.

CISCO

Cisco’s Unified Communications concept is to, “streamline communications and integrate them more closely with your business processes, ultimately connecting people to people instead of devices to devices. The solution integrates smoothly with your existing back- end applications and data, so you can deliver more information to employees each time they pick up the phone.”

More than just a telephony solution, Cisco Unified Communications are a strategic investment that brings together voice, data, video, security, and mobility into a single, smart solution that works with the tools and processes you already have, to make your organization more agile and competitive—and improve your portability.

Cisco’s offering includes CallManager, Cisco Spark and HCS.  All three solutions can be deployed by a service provider or Cisco and are easily implemented across all business sizes.  Cisco solutions are seeing tremendous growth.

BROADSOFT

Broadsoft UC vision entails, “Cloud Communications and Collaboration solutions designed to accelerate business productivity, delivered securely by trusted Service Providers around the world. “

While Cisco and Microsoft are bigger names, Broadsoft has embedded itself in the marketplace as a white label product.  Many mid-sized UC providers are reselling this product as their own. 

BroadSoft has a wide range of customizable options and features, such as call recording, faxing and web-based portals for call management. BroadSoft carries and supports a PBX engine that enables features to be easily turned on or off.   

While Broadsoft’s UC Solution was introduced to the market before its competitors, it has not seen the tremendous growth of its counterparts, Microsoft and Cisco.

WHY CHOOSE CALLTOWER’S SKYPE FOR BUSINESS SOLUTION OVER BROADSOFT?

  1. Broadsoft’s answer to Skype for Business is to use a 3rd party plugin that allows their VoIP switch to talk to office 365 hosted in the Microsoft Cloud.  The Broadsoft solution introduces several possible points of failure while limiting feature sets.  CallTower’s product is a native Skype for Business solution.  CallTower has architected the Skype for Business product the same way a customer would on premise.  Instead of integrating through 3rd party plugins, CallTower is running SIP sessions natively through the Skype for Business server via an AudioCodes SBC to terminate the SIP Connections.  The Broadsoft solution is a non-native API integration.
  2. Microsoft has built a great framework for the technology, but it is not feature rich.  CallTower purchased this great framework and built it into a fully functional cloud PBX with the enhanced Microsoft Skype for Business feature set.  The Broadsoft solution integrates with O365 and lacks the Enterprise grade features found in the CallTower solution. 

WHY CHOOSE CALLTOWER’S CISCO SOLUTION OVER BROADSOFT?

  1. Cisco phones are designed for a Cisco backend.  There are a lot of Broadsoft resellers that state they are Cisco shops because they put Cisco handsets on desks.  The reality is that they are putting Cisco handsets on the desktop, using Adtrans or Edgemarks (3rd party edge routers) on the LAN and then they have a 3rd party VoIP switch in the cloud.  CallTower is truly an end to end product, utilizing Enterprise grade Cisco hardware every step of the way. 
  2. Cisco is touted as the most reliable, secure and stable PBX in the world.  CallTower has built Cisco CallManager into a robust, multi-tenant platform that allows customers to leverage enterprise grade features that Broadsoft cannot provide, while reducing cost by having it delivered in a truly managed service. 
  3. The Broadworks portal by Broadsoft allows a customer to make change some settings to their end users, but it has a lot of limitations.  The CallTower Connect portal was built as a GUI replacement for the Cisco CallManager GUI.  Connect allows administrators to manage to make enhanced setting changes within one portal. CallTower Connect has asset management functionality, MACD management, phone management, end user setting and creation management, as well as a plethora of other Enterprise Grade capabilities.  

Microsoft and Cisco have positioned their products for Market domination. Ready to learn more about CallTower’s leading UC solutions?  Schedule your consultation today.

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