Forrester Research recently updated its Forrester Wave™ for webconferencing (they choose to use one word, unlike the rest of the known world). Published September 13, it encompasses scored evaluation categories on 11 products they deem the "most significant."
Forrester's criteria for inclusion were strict:
- The evaluation looked at product applicability for collaborative web meetings. Webcasting and videoconferencing were NOT evaluated. Content sharing had to be the primary use. Vendors focused on training or eLearning were not considered.
- Vendors had to be major enterprise players. Products had to have at least 70,000 paid users and 2,000 corporate accounts. In Forrester's words: "We only chose vendors with experience in the global market and years of experience selling to and servicing global accounts."
This rather predictably narrowed the field to the biggest, most well known vendor names in the industry. The only surprise inclusion for me was FuzeBox… I had not realized they had that big a footprint.
The "Market Presence" leaders (number of customers, company revenues, experience, partners, etc) are IBM, Microsoft, and Cisco. No surprises there and Forrester's qualitative rankings have the three close enough so that it isn't worth putting any one of them ahead of the others.
"Current Offering" looks at Forrester's evaluation of the web conferencing product itself. This includes things such as platform support, the user experience, features for ad-hoc versus scheduled meetings, recording/playback, etc. Well and good. I was confused to see audioconferencing and videoconferencing listed as criteria, since the inclusion criteria discounted those applications. Narrowed to just the Current Offering rankings, Adobe Connect emerges on top, with Saba Meeting a close second.
The final segment of evaluations is grouped under "Strategy." This is the most nebulous area and the one least likely to have universal applicability. In fairness to Forrester, if you read the detailed text in the report they are careful to point out this fact. An individual buyer or user's needs might not justify looking at things such as UC integration, cloud vs. on-premise deployment options, or training and webinar features (another strange category given the fact that training-specific products were excluded). Given the wide range of integrations awarded points in this segment, I was not surprised to see IBM in the lead, with Cisco a close second.
Everything gets synthesized into an "at-a-glance" Forrester Wave™ graphic that labels vendors as Leaders, Strong Performers, and Contenders. I don't think the graph is particularly useful as anything other than a marketing toy. But the detailed report and evaluations behind the graph are definitely worth reading and can give you some insight into specific areas of strength for the studied companies and products.
Instead of giving you the direct link to the report, I am going to send you to the Adobe blog post that links to it. Adobe paid for the reprint rights, and I benefitted from being able to access the report for free. They might as well get the click traffic for their efforts. To read their take on it and to see the full reprint, visit http://j.mp/adobeFWave