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Unified communications tools should be just that: unified. Cisco, like many other vendors, attempts to stitch together siloed technologies, and does so in a way that isn’t intuitive. Although Cisco’s acquisition strategy has improved their time to market in UC and collaboration, their approach has created some integration challenges, overlapping products, and disconnected experiences for both end- users and management. Compare Microsoft to Cisco and you’ll see why Microsoft is the obvious choice for truly unified communications.


Microsoft Cisco
Flexibility, choice, and savings Fragmented infrastructure
Microsoft delivers powerful benefits for IT departments through a highly secure and reliable system that works with Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange, and Microsoft SharePoint, and uses Microsoft management tools to facilitate easier management and lower the cost of ownership. Finally, interoperability with existing systems enables smoother deployment and migration and provides your organization with greater choice, flexibility, and savings. Cisco’s UC solution presents a disparate environment comprising -different back-end products and management interfaces. This fragmented infrastructure drives high capital and operational expenses, including user provisioning, deployment, maintenance, administration, and support.
True freedom to work on the go  Hardware dependence
Microsoft believes that real-world adoption of UC requires a solution that’s easy to use and that allows people to connect with each other via the best mode of communication for their specific situation. Outside of the office, Skype for Business capabilities are extended via secured Internet access, reducing the costs associated with remote working. We also extend secure connectivity both to Exchange, (through Outlook Anywhere) and to corporate networks (via DirectAccess), giving mobile users a seamless and cost-effective way to work away from their desk. Enterprises frequently need to cater to remote workers, but Cisco typically relies on a mix of software and hardware-based virtual private networking (VPN) technology to enable remote access. VPN equipment adds a cost element that, when deployed in large numbers, increases end-user support costs and severely impacts end-user functionality should the VPN connection drop.
User-centered approach Wrong foundation
Unlike Cisco, Microsoft focuses on designing solutions around business needs and end-user requirements from the get-go. We build a great user experience that meets the needs of business users and then offer an infrastructure choice to support it. That could be on premise, in a private cloud, or a hybrid of the two. Cisco begins with their existing infrastructure at the core and backs into a user experience that leverages that platform. Prospects get the feeling they’re dealing with an industry leader, but the Cisco network isn’t the optimal platform on which to base unified communications purchasing decisions.
True extensibility Don’t limit yourself
The new Skype for Business brings the vision of a fully extensible communications platform a step closer with simplified application programming interfaces based on industry-standard technology. Unlike Cisco, we make it easier to add and customize communications features. And with over 6 million developers using the .NET platform, you can easily extend our UC platform to meet the needs of your changing business. Cisco is limited in the extensibility it can offer developers, and the company’s lack of a development community limits your options when it comes to integrating unified communications vendors into your unique business processes.
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Find answers to commonly asked questions about Skype for Business (formerly Lync) in our Frequently Asked Questions.