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Six methods Cisco Webex beats Microsoft Groups


Oct 4, 2022

The work-from-home interval of the COVID-19 pandemic shifted collaboration instruments from being a “nice-to-have” to a vital enterprise software. The winding down of the pandemic has brought about companies to query whether or not they nonetheless want collaboration functions. 

The fact is that few firms will carry all staff again into the workplace 5 days every week. ZK Analysis discovered that 51% of staff plan to do business from home two to a few days every week and one other 24% no less than in the future every week. This means that three-quarters of the workforce will likely be hybrid. 

It is necessary to know that hybrid work is markedly completely different from distant work. Distant work requires an incredible collaboration expertise in a single location, whereas hybrid work is about creating that nice expertise throughout completely different places. Collaboration instruments clearly play a key function on this. 

This raises the query of which collaboration vendor to make use of. The 2 heavyweights on this business are Cisco Webex and Microsoft Groups. From an expertise perspective, I discover Webex to be considerably higher. After I ask companies why they proceed to make use of Groups, I get responses corresponding to “It is included in our Microsoft license, and it is adequate for many customers.” Groups was getting used regardless of push-back from the employees. On this case, IT execs made the straightforward resolution; Microsoft does make it compelling from an preliminary value as a result of Groups is free with Microsoft E3 license

I might argue that in a hybrid work world, adequate is, the truth is, not adequate, and IT execs want to completely perceive the variations between the 2 platforms. The license value benefit that Microsoft brings is properly understood, however I’ve discovered Webex’s advantages are much less recognized. It is because a lot of the innovation in Webex has come prior to now 12 to 18 months. 

Cisco Programs is holding its digital WebexOne occasion later this month, throughout which the corporate will spotlight this innovation. Provided that the occasion is across the nook (Oct. 25-26), I assumed it will be useful to write down a submit highlighting lots of the current improvements, so folks attending might be searching for new options and capabilities.

From the analysis I’ve performed, under are six areas the place I consider Webex trumps Groups. Most of those will be skilled at WebexOne. 

1. Seamless collaboration inside and outdoors the enterprise 

Each Webex and Groups are efficient at enabling employees to speak with different staff in the identical firm. Nevertheless, Webex does a significantly better job with exterior collaboration. I expertise this every day when doing a Groups name with one other firm. With Webex, customers retain the performance related to their company accounts, whether or not they’re inner or exterior. With Groups, company lose entry to their firm providers and may solely entry a restricted variety of options. This may be very irritating for customers when chat or different capabilities can be found at some instances however not at others. 

Additionally, Webex is way quicker to start out up when video conferences are held. It’s constructed on a shared microservices structure, whereas Groups is a wrapper round a number of, legacy options. In a current Groups name, it took practically a minute for the video assembly to completely load, whereas with Webex it is all the time a couple of seconds.

2. Built-in software program and {hardware} 

I get that {hardware} is not as attractive as software program, however {hardware} definitely issues. Within the shopper house, Apple has an enormous expertise benefit over Android as a result of it makes the {hardware}, software program, and cloud backend themselves. The identical holds for Webex over Groups, as a result of Webex makes purpose-built collaboration gadgets with widespread software program offering a high-quality and safe expertise. Groups depends on third events, and this results in inconsistent capabilities that end in a scattered expertise with a number of safety holes. 

Webex gadgets even have a number of built-in options, corresponding to background noise elimination, digital backgrounds, and an auto-panning digicam. It is necessary to know that Cisco designed the gadgets to be multi-vendor so Webex gadgets can natively run Groups conferences in addition to Zoom and Google conferences. 

3. Enterprise calling 

Opposite to what many individuals suppose, calling isn’t useless. Folks nonetheless make calls and can accomplish that for many years to return. Webex Calling has a marked benefit as a result of it has been offering telephony for about 20 years longer than Groups. In truth, when clients add Groups Telephone, the fee benefit of “free” goes away; Microsoft’s personal calling plans shortly get very costly. Additionally, Groups Telephone is lacking a number of necessary calling options, corresponding to name merge, name recording, and others. 

One other subject is that Groups Telephone is constructed on a separate platform from Groups Chat, and this will result in disjointed experiences. Webex has constructed calling, conferences, messaging, and call facilities on a typical cloud platform.

One workaround for Groups is to make use of a third-party answer, corresponding to Webex Calling, to supply the calling capabilities for Groups. Typically, nearly each united communications (UC) vendor will provide a superior telephony expertise when in comparison with Groups Telephone. However this strategy can add pointless complexity and integration challenges.

4. Integrating with current functions  

Given the historical past Microsoft has in being a platform vendor, Groups’ weak spot in software integrations is a bit stunning. With Webex, integration is bidirectional; it may be run inside different apps and different apps inside Webex. Groups helps solely one-way integration, limiting consumer selection. Webex offers open APIs throughout calling, conferences, messaging, and gadgets to simply combine with third events, whereas Groups is rather more restricted. 

One instance is the bi-directional integration Webex has with Salesforce, which minimizes context switching. This permits clients to make use of Webex Messaging or Calling straight in Salesforce. Microsoft has a competing product with Salesforce and traditionally has shied away from constructing tight integrations with merchandise that compete with it. 

One irony with Groups is that third events, corresponding to Webex, work higher with different Microsoft Apps than Groups itself does. Companies can run Webex in Microsoft Apps; this is not the case for Groups.

5. Simplified administration 

IT execs ought to concentrate on this, as a result of it impacts their jobs: Webex Management Hub is a single dashboard for all collaboration workloads, together with conferences, calling, messaging, contact middle, and gadgets. Groups solely helps software program administration; gadgets have to be managed via their third-party producer. 

Since Cisco owns Webex, it has in depth real-time, community troubleshooting, and safety capabilities and offers visibility into high quality metrics, utilization, safety, and environmental information. Groups doesn’t have real-time notifications or alerts for conferences in progress, placing IT execs into firefighting mode most of the time. 

6. Specialised experiences 

Collaboration instruments empower greater than conferences. They’re now getting used for occasions and different experiences. Webex has full hybrid occasion capabilities that scale as much as 100,000 attendees. Groups is proscribed on this space and isn’t appropriate as a big occasion administration software. Additionally, Webex has a completely featured cloud contact middle for buyer engagement. Microsoft has issued a press release of path right here however presently has no product. One other current specialised app is the Webex Vidcast product for asynchronous video (video messaging). 

I do wish to make it clear that this was my expertise; each firm must do its personal analysis. Given the significance of collaboration instruments, decision-makers shouldn’t make a selection primarily based on licensing. Use the under as a guidelines when choosing the appropriate collaboration vendor: 

  • Discover a product that permits seamless collaboration with folks outdoors of your group. 

  • Search for well-integrated software program and {hardware}. 

  • Make specialised use circumstances and adjoining functions—together with cloud contact middle, giant occasion assist, and viewers engagement—a part of the answer.

  • Search an answer that gives totally featured enterprise calling, which remains to be a business-critical software. 

  • Insist on an answer that may simply be embedded into current functions, which can make collaboration simpler and extra extensively adopted. 

  • Make sure that the answer has an entire single interface to assist handle and assist your customers. 

  • Think about an answer that may scale easily together with your group, management entry as wanted, and accommodate the complete vary of worker workflow wants.

  • Make sure that the answer addresses the wants of all employees – no matter their technical aptitude, whether or not they require lodging of particular wants in an effort to carry out their jobs, or every other issue that will restrict inclusiveness.

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