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UC briefs: Microsoft tops social software in the workplace

Gartner's Magic Quadrant report for enterprise social software named Microsoft a market leader, while Polycom's third-quarter revenue is seeing short- and long-term declines.

Microsoft topped the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant report for social software in the workplace, as the vendor focuses...

on more tightly integrating the social features of Yammer and Office 365.

Vendors' social software is used primarily to support people working together in teams, communities or networks and can be tailored to support a variety of collaborative activities. Buyers in the market are looking to improve employee productivity, project coordination, process involvement and knowledge management, according to the report.

Products for social software in the workplace include applications that deliver functionality out of the box and platforms with capabilities that can be used for user-built applications or integrated with other systems.

Gartner said Microsoft's strength in the social software for the workplace market is targeting a wide audience, with broad product platforms to give enterprises the functionality they need. Microsoft has also increased the pace of innovation with new products and capabilities under Office 365, including the incorporation of the Cortana virtual assistant.

However, Gartner cautioned that Microsoft's products are complex and capabilities often don't line up, such as Yammer and Office 365's Groups capabilities being used in different ways. Microsoft is also continually expanding its products, which can make it difficult for enterprises to maintain a solid level of attention across the various offerings.

Other Magic Quadrant leaders for social software in the workplace include Jive, IBM, Salesforce and TIBCO Software. VMware, Atlassian and Sitrion were named challengers. Google and SAP were named visionaries. Huddle, Igloo, Liferay and Zyncro Tech were named niche players.

Polycom third-quarter revenues drop

Polycom Inc. saw long-term and short-term revenue declines in the third quarter, as the company reported revenues of $303 million -- a 4.2% sequential and 9.7% year-over-year decline. Polycom saw negative growth in its products and services portfolios.

However, Polycom's earnings and earnings per share are solid thanks to financial engineering, Opex reductions and share buybacks, Andrew Davis, analyst at Wainhouse Research LLC in Duxbury, Mass., said in a blog post. But, Davis noted, the question is how long Polycom can continue these reductions and buybacks until "the fat-cutting knife hits bone."

Davis said Polycom's UC Personal segment, which includes its phone offerings, was up 5% annually, but experienced negative sequential growth. He attributed this to customers who may have been holding back on purchasing decisions, as they awaited the company's announcement last month of new video products. These new products should spur additional growth, he said.

The UC Group and Infrastructure segment, which makes up 80% of Polycom's revenue, has been problematic for the vendor. Even though Polycom has introduced new video conferencing and collaboration products, they won't have a significant impact on Polycom's revenue until next year, Davis said.

Davis added: The question now becomes whether enterprise buyers are moving to a new way of purchasing and deploying video conferencing, and whether Polycom's new line of products can address this new buying trend.

Enterprise mobility market growth ramping up

The global enterprise mobility market is expected to increase from $86.36 billion in 2014 to $510.39 billion by 2022, growing at a 24.7% compound annual growth rate, according to a report from Transparency Market Research in Albany, N.Y.

The report's researchers categorized the enterprise mobility market as device and software segments. The device segment includes smartphones, laptops and tablets. The software segment includes mobile device management (MDM), mobile application management, enterprise email and content management, telecom expense management and mobile message management.

Several factors are driving the market, including improved communication and collaboration between enterprises, the expansion of mobile devices, and the growing popularity of BYOD and choose your own device policies. The market is also seeing increased demand from enterprises for tools that support operational efficiency and data collection, according to the report.

In 2014, laptops held the largest share of the device segment, but smartphones are expected to experience robust growth through 2022 due to easy portability and high functional offerings. MDM was the most widely used segment and held the largest market share for the software segment, but the report predicted mobile email and content management will see the biggest growth through 2022.

The report named Microsoft, Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent SA, Avaya, Good Technology and IBM as key vendors in the enterprise mobility market.

SkypeShield update offers federation security

Mobile security service provider AGAT Software updated its SkypeShield service for federation security with external Skype for Business users.

SkypeShield secures Skype for Business user access and authentication when devices connect to the corporate network. The update includes a Federation Ethical Wall service that gives organizations control over federation security and data protection.

Features of the federation service include:

  • Defining granular policy rules based on a user or group communicating with a specific company;
  • Modality policy control for instant messaging, audio, video, conferencing, desktop sharing and file transfers;
  • Blocking presence information from external users depending on the security policy;
  • Blocking external users from initiating instant message conversations, while still allowing internal users to initiate conversations with external users;
  • Giving users some local policy management by applying different policies based on inclusion on a user's contact list;
  • Enforcing policy in the DMZ and blocking nonapproved traffic from entering the network.

"Enabling federation raises serious business and security issues that need to be addressed by applying granular policy rules defining permitted operations between communicating parties," said Guy Eldan, CEO of AGAT Software. "Companies wanting to extend communication outside the company boundaries require protection and control over the different flows of data offered by Skype for Business."

Next Steps

Comparing enterprise social software vendors

How to encourage adoption of social software in the workplace

Controlling BYOD to support enterprise mobility

Dig Deeper on Social Networking for Business

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