Gartner Rebuilds Its Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure

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Within the contact center infrastructure market, telecommunications giant Avaya now lays claim to approximately half of all worldwide revenue, according to the newly restored Gartner 

Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure. What’s more, the authors of the report point to Avaya’s acquisition of Nortel Networks in December as the symbol for an era of market consolidation.

Gartner defines contact center infrastructure as the equipment, software, and services needed to operate contact centers for basic telephony and multichannel support. The firms mentioned in the report are broken down into four groups: Leaders, Challengers, Visionaries, and Niche Players.

This year’s report shows a lack of movement within the four defined quadrants, suggesting that little has changed in the market’s landscape since 2008. Gartner research vice president Drew Kraus describes the market as “mature,” and though he admits the global landscape looks similar to the way it did two years ago, a region-by-region assessment would offer different results. For example, “If you look at [the market] globally, the movements [on the report] are more muted,” Kraus says. “Cisco didn’t do as strong in Western Europe this year. But globally there wasn’t a dramatic change [in its productivity, and thus its quadrant placement].” 

This is true of other vendors, as well: Four firms designated as Leaders in 2008 remain in the top quadrant, with the only exception being Nortel.

Siemens Enterprise and NEC remain in the Challengers quadrant, while Oracle and SAP will have to wait until 2011 to advance out of the Visionaries group. No new groups were added to the quadrant.

CosmoCom could have seen the most significant move in the new report, transitioning from a Visionary to a Niche Player. According to Kraus, the shift is due to the company “focusing more directly on the carrier market and hosted service market.” 

Intervoice/Convergys was the only vendor to be dropped entirely from the Magic Quadrant due to what the report describes as an inability to “generate significant interest for leading client segments.” Kraus suggests that Convergys’ acquisition of Intervoice allowed the company to remain in the quadrant one year longer than it should have. “Quite frankly,” Kraus says, “if it had just been the old Intervoice, they would have been dropped last year. [The company] was interesting enough to keep on for another year, but it has taken Convergys more time to digest than it should have.”

The report cites the economic downturn as the reason for the recent surge in consolidation. After a five-year growth period, the market has now been on the decline for two consecutive years. “During the early and more dramatic phases of the economic downturn, many companies focused their contact center infrastructure and operation strategies on reducing [technology] and operational costs,” the report contends. “This led to an increase in investments in infrastructure consolidation projects.” But as the economy began to recover in late 2009, vendors were once again searching for innovative revenue streams. 

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