Should I go for Cisco Webex Meetings, Zoom or Skype for Business? What do they cost? Which one integrates best with my existing technologies? In the CIO office, this is a question keeping many busy! And, I have heard many heated conversations between the hardcore fans of each vendor.
If you compare the options offered by the 3 services, you will notice it is for the vast majority the same. But, keep in mind their original purpose, which can give you some interesting insights into how each service grew:
Here is a quick comparison table. It is not aimed at showing the whole offering but rather an at a glance picture.
|Skype for Business||Cisco Webex Meetings||Zoom|
|Max number of participants||Up to 250||Up to 1000||Up to 100|
|Connection to video endpoints||External solutions provided||✅||✅|
|Personal Meeting Room||❌||✅||✅|
|Integration to 3rd party audio providers||End of life April 2019||✅||❌|
|Join in one click||❌||✅||✅|
|Cloud storage||1TB for clients of O365||1GB||1GB|
|Ease of use||⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️|
|Price||Between $5.00 and $35 per user per month||Between $19 and $39 per host per month||Up to $19.99|
You can easily find the different “official” packages offered by each vendor on their website. In general, they’ll look something like:
But each company should contact directly for an individual quote. What we do know is that depending on the number of licences you buy, the type of audio package you negotiate, and of course how good you are at bargaining, the costs could dramatically change compared to those you can easily find on each vendor’s page.
At the beginning of the year (2018), it seemed obvious that Zoom, founded in 2011, was a real threat for the Cisco offering. Not only was it easier to join a Zoom meeting, but the options within the meeting were also simpler and the quality was impeccable. Cisco is still the leader in the Gartner Magic quadrant but they can definitely feel the heat from Zoom.
Webex, founded in 1995, is a well-established and robust solution with a consistent experience throughout the years. But during the summer, Cisco reacted by launching a revamped version of Webex making the service more video-centric than ever before. This was the most drastic transformation ever! Webex Teams also saw its share of upgrades introducing key features to strengthen its position. The integration of Webex Meetings with Webex Teams now gives an advantage to Cisco as meetings rarely happen alone but rather within the course of other collaboration activities.
Skype for Business’ major advantage is being part of the Microsoft suite. But in order for companies to have a truly great experience, near-magic needs to happen between bandwidth, technology and user experience. Skype for Business’ reliability has been called into question, but as a key player throughout Microsoft-centric companies, we don’t see them going away any time soon. With the “upgrade” to Microsoft Teams for all customers in the not too distant future, perhaps we’ll see them make a play for Cisco’s dominance.
We are often asked for advice about which one to choose. The choice will depend on all kind of factors within your company. The number of people in meetings, infrastructure, existing vendors, use of video endpoints, etc.
But don’t forget the key element: at the end of the day, this is primarily about people. They can make the technology a great success with an amazing return on investment, or break it. So, be next year’s hero by selecting the technology your people are truly waiting for.