I notice that market analyst Gartner has published an online report looking at instant messaging and presence products.

The full report can be found here:


For those without the time to read it, however, the headline finding is that that IM and presence are now strategic components of enterprise UC and collaboration strategy but that vendor incompatibility is becoming a major issue.

The report also highlights continued consolidation within the industry, pointing to the acquisition of Jabber by Cisco as a prime example.  That, together with technological convergence, is enabling vendors to offer much more complete UC solutions, although customers aren't necessarily signing up to these all-in-one platforms, with many continuing to buy standalone products to handle IM and presence.

Leading vendors and their products are rated individually in the report, with Microsoft coming out on top and the only one to get a "Strong positive" rating. According to the report author that's largely down to its leadership of the email market with Exchange Server, plus integration with its SharePoint collaboration platform. The ability to service customers with both on-premise and cloud-based  solutions is also seen as an advantage with Gartner clients said to be "increasingly considering Microsoft's cloud options for IM and presence capabilities."

Cisco, Avaya, Google and IBM are all rated as key IM/presence vendors, but interestingly not Alcatel-Lucent, although the report does note it as a player in the wider UC market.

Elsewhere the report also remarks on the trend towards integrating social networking into IM/presence solutions, and growing concerns regarding archiving and compliance, particularly in relation to                                                         cloud-based platforms.

                                            An interesting report, well worth reading.

This article is written by Alan Stevens and sponsored by Avaya. The opinions reflected in this piece are solely those of Alan Stevens and may not reflect those of Avaya management