Cisco exits Unified Comms Market Place for SME customers

Cisco exits Unified Comms Market Place for SME customers

24 July 2013

Buried in a a plethora of end of sale announcements issued by Cisco on the 22 July 2013, were a tranche of highly significant ones. Shuffling towards an ignominious exit are the UC540 and UC560 platforms, and also the Business Edition 3000 system.

Despite investing millions of dollars in product development of these platforms, Cisco have failed to achieve any significant market penetration. High cost, poor code quality and lack of user features have prevented these systems from being adopted in their targeted customer base of 100 seats or less.

Cisco’s own end of life statements for these products suggest that customers below 25 seats should effectively jettison Cisco and move to hosted providers. This strikes us as being another example of Cisco refocussing on its core Enterprise markets, and leaving resellers who were only a few months ago heavily encouraged by Cisco to target SMEs, in the lurch.

This is not an unexpected move by Cisco, however it will hugely disappoint customers and partners who have invested in these platforms and the associated certifications. It follows other products launched by Cisco with great fanfare being dropped soon afterwards.Any new products should therefore be looked at with care before being adopted.Like IBM in the 1990s, no longer is a Cisco badge on the front of a piece of equipment a guarantee of longevity.

For customers larger than 25 seats, Cisco recommends the Business Edition 6000. Not a truly integrated system in its own right, the BE6K simply bundles Communications Manager call control, Unity Connection voicemail, and optionally Presence and Contact Center Express all running on top of VMware. The price point is radically different (for different read higher, much higher), as is the complexity of the deployment.

With the spectre of Microsoft Lync haunting Cisco at every step, the future for Cisco’s entire UC platform seems under ever increasing amount of focus. Interesting times lie ahead definitely

Barry Hesk

Intrinsic Network Solutions