Organizations are seeing significant productivity improvements and impressive return on investment with unified communications. In order to realize the full benefits, organizations are increasingly looking to unified communications solutions that extend beyond delivering basic voice over IP (VoIP). Productivity applications offer a growing number of communication and collaboration capabilities, and as users become more mobile, organizations need to deliver advanced capabilities anywhere users need them. However, not all unified communications solutions are equal, for either end users or the IT organizations that must implement and support them. Interest in Microsoft Unified Communications and the recently announced Communications Server "14" (or Wave 14) stems from promises that a software-only-based communications strategy for business lowers costs and provides greater functionality. Microsoft also asserts that Communications Server 14 is an enterprise-ready telephony solution. This approach is appealing on the surface, but less-mature solutions may have incomplete functionality; may not be reliable enough for most business deployments; and may not deliver on the promised cost savings. This document compares Microsoft Unified Communications, including the available information about Microsoft Communications Server 14, to Cisco ® Unified Communications Solutions in critical areas.
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