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Cisco Leads Growing Collaboration Market

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Cisco is once again the market leader in enterprise collaboration, according to a new report from Synergy Research, an IT analyst group.

The market, which includes enterprise voice, social networks, unified communications and telepresence technologies, surpassed the $9 billion mark in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2015. And networking giant Cisco, with its solid grip on the premise-based segment of the market, once again sits on top.

In total, the collaboration market grew 4 percent year-over-year during Q4. Cisco increased its share to 16 percent in Q4, but storm clouds are on the horizon.

"Overall the market value is now at an all-time high and Cisco's market share is at the highest it has been for eight quarters," John Dinsdale, chief analyst at Synergy Research Group, told Datamation. "However, those disruptive vendors are shaking up the market, with many new cloud-based applications gaining traction in the small office environment and likely to now penetrate mid- to high-end enterprises."

Cisco's leads the premise-based segment of the enterprise collaboration market with a hefty 27 percent share, followed by Microsoft and Avaya. However, most of the action is taking place on the hosted/cloud side of the fence.

collaboration applications

During Q4, sales of hosted/cloud collaboration products grew 10 percent on a year-on-year basis due, in part, to increasing demand for teamwork applications, cloud file sharing and hosted voice services. Microsoft leads the segment, followed by Cisco and Verizon. In contrast, vendors of premise-based products saw their revenues slip 3 percent during the same quarter.

Teamwork applications in particular are taking off. Startups like Slack, Cotap and Redbooth, in addition to Cisco's owned Spark business collaboration platform, are competitors in this "super-high growth area," according to Synergy. Incidentally, Cisco today announced it had acquired Synata to enhance Spark's search capabilities.

"Collaboration continues to be a market that is characterized by a long list of disruptive and high-growth companies, with no less than twelve companies achieving year-on-year growth rates in excess of 25 percent," said Synergy Research Group's founder and Chief Analyst Jeremy Duke in a statement. "We have seen lots of new cloud-based applications which have gained traction in the small office environment and I now expect to see many of these start to penetrate mid- to high-end enterprises."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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