UC Channel by the Numbers
I spend far too much time with data on solution providers, i.e. VARs, MSPs, Service Providers, etc., so I decided to put together the numbers for the channel companies we have identified in North American that sell and service UC solutions - about 3,000 company headquarters. I included the vendors from the recent Gartner UC Enterprise Study excluding Huawei and Toshiba because I didn't feel our data was a good representation of their channel. Keep in mind our information isn't perfect - primarily drawn from public sources - but when analyzed together it does provide some insight into the channels and emerging trends in UC and technology as a whole.
What follows is a breakdown of their numbers including the data we have on them for several of their cloud computing service offerings: Managed Service and Hosting, as well as additional related solutions they sell that are of interest, Mobility and Telecom - bandwidth and connectivity. We also included the Size of the company and Type of business we classify them as: VAR - Value Added Reseller, Service Provider or Other (Consultants and SIs). The percentages are based on their UC specialized partners.
*Cisco publicly lists 472 "Advanced UC" specialization partners and Microsoft only 180 "Communications Competency" certified partners in North America, so we used our profile data to identify them as having UC specialization.
The data doesn't reveal any huge surprises, but it does provide some insight into where these companies are at with their partner eco-systems' adoption of the key technologies and trends.
- Partners with more Cloud (MSP & Hosting) adoption: Cisco, Microsoft
- Partners with less Cloud (MSP & Hosting) adoption: Avaya, Mitel, NEC, and Siemens/Unify
- Partners with more Mobility offering: Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Microsoft
- Partners with less Mobility offering: Aastra, Mitel & NEC
- Telecom Heavy Partners: Avaya & Mitel
Alcatel and Siemens/Unify stand out as having a concentration of larger-sized partners which makes sense when you look at the total number of their estimated channel partners.
The recent announced merger of Aastra and Mitel will expand the combined company's channel in North America significantly with currently only an estimated 13 percent of their partners selling both solutions.
Cisco and Microsoft clearly have a strong overlap in partners, 70 percent for UC versus 50 percent overall for the two companies. However the MSFT elite "Communications Competency" certified partners are only 44 percent partnered with Cisco.
In conclusion, the data we have on these companies confirms two major trends impacting UC: the move to cloud based services and the integration of mobility into the solution offerings is well underway in the channel. Unfortunately, I do not have a snapshot of these companies from 2012 to compare this to, but we will plan to do so in 2014. I would predict that you will see a dramatic increase in UC solution providers offering Mobility, Hosting and Managed services; in fact, the hosting category will probably be obsolete as nearly every technology will be available hosted "as a service."