AT&T was kind enough to pay for reposting rights on the 2009 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing. That is great news for the rest of us who want to see what Gartner had to say about vendors and products in the web conferencing space. I won’t reprint the quadrant or any direct quotes here, as Gartner gets very snippy about that!
The report was published at the end of July. For me, the most interesting content was not the positioning of vendors, which I have always found to be somewhat arbitrary and marginally useful given the complexity of features and applications of the technology. Instead, I was drawn to three “Strategic Planning Assumptions” listed on the first page. Go read them yourself to get the specific percentage figures (I’m still trying to avoid charges of copyright violation), but Gartner is predicting some significant business usage patterns by the year 2011.
- Web conferencing will be overwhelmingly available to corporate users as a standard tool
- Many more web conferences will be run from premise-installed deployments of the technology
- Many more companies will be purchasing their web conferencing technology as part of a larger applications suite
This is important for both vendors and users. As the tools become more standard and ubiquitous, you’ll see ever more mediocrity come into play in the quality of content and presentation style. If you want to distinguish yourself in the business world, just giving a web conference won’t be enough… You’ll have to give a good one! Thank goodness consulting companies like my Webinar Success can help you develop those skills!
Web conferencing has long been one of the poster children for the concept of Software as a Service (SaaS). But Gartner sees a significant use of licensed software running on corporate servers instead of as a vendor-hosted application accessed over the web. I wonder if this goes along with the third point (more commentary in the next paragraph)? If you are a corporate IT person and have an opinion on this, I’d love to hear your comments.
The purchase of web conferencing as part of a suite is kind of chicken-and-egg (for you non-Americans, that’s our slang for not being able to determine cause and effect). We already know that the market share for web conferencing is heavily dominated by Cisco and Microsoft. If they push their products as part of a suite (as both companies have clearly started doing), it naturally results in a reported increase in this statistic. But will new customers specifically go looking for collaboration/communication suites in preference to stand alone web conferencing applications? If so, it means hard times for independent web conferencing vendors.
Fascinating stuff. Read the report.