When it comes to videoconferencing, Cisco has the goods. Cisco beat out Microsoft as the Channel Champ in the Videoconferencing category this year. It rules not only in market share--it commands 52.5 percent of the global enterprise videoconferencing market, according to Infonetics--but it also dominates in channel satisfaction, winning in all but three criteria in the subcategories of support satisfaction and financial factors in this year's survey. Microsoft beat Cisco in those three criteria, including, in support, evaluation and demo equipment policies; in financial factors, competitive pricing and services attached.
Cisco partners endured their fair share of integration headaches following Cisco's 2010 acquisition of Tandberg--the one-fell-swoop move that boosted its market share to No. 1--but according to most partners, that's well behind Cisco now and the networking titan has continued to update its overall video portfolio and push hard its video strategy with impressive consistency.
"We were an early adopter of TelePresence when Cisco rolled that out in 2006, and with the Tandberg acquisition, they really bolstered their video capabilities and have a strong story," said Bob Olwig, vice president of business strategy and marketing at World Wide Technology, a St. Louis-based solution provider and Cisco Gold partner.
Customer interest in video, noted Olwig, drives other networking, infrastructure and data center opportunities aplenty. "It's no secret that by improving the end user experience with video, Cisco builds the need for robust and secure and scalable infrastructure underneath," Olwig said.
Cisco's hitting its video stride at an important time in the market. Infonetics recently pegged the expected enterprise spend on videoconferencing and telepresence hardware as being a cumulative $22 billion from 2012 to 2016.
Consolidation is also rampant, among both solution providers--several have acquired fellow VARs and integrators with major video practices, and more are building out managed video services practices--and vendors, as evidenced by Cisco's acquisition of Tandberg and those of HP's visual collaboration portfolio by Polycom, LifeSize by Logitech, and most recently, Radvision by Avaya.