Why Isn’t Slack in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Comms?

Microsoft & Cisco lead in Gardner's Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications. Slack's position?
Dominic Kent
Dominic Kent is a content marketer specializing in unified communications and contact centers.
Slack Gartner Magic Quadrant

Since posting about why Slack wasn't included in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for UC, Gartner has gone ahead and scrapped the report altogether. We now only see the UCaaS Magic Quadrant.

Our commentary and reasoning as to why Slack was not included remain the same for both reports.

Rob Scott, Publisher at UC Today, posted speculation as to why it was dropped  in January 2019:

In the past, many UC experts have questioned the relevancy and accuracy of the Magic Quadrant. After all, not everyone agreed with the scoring and minimum entry criteria required to enter the report in the first place. In our coverage of the 2017 UC Magic Quadrant, we pointed out that the reviews are designed specifically for big enterprises, which means it’s impossible to get a complete market assessment.

No Slack in Garter Magic Quadrant

Gartner released their latest Magic Quadrant for UCaaS in 2022.

As keen onlookers in the enterprise collaboration space, we couldn’t help but wonder why some key messaging players like Slack and Workplace from Meta weren’t included.

Slack never appears in any of the Magic Quadrants but is heavy on the minds of enterprise IT and UC managers (who we work with daily at Mio).

Since this is something many others might have wondered about as well, we've summarized our analysis and findings below.

Read on to find out where Slack and other enterprise messaging apps fit into Gartner's analysis, and our take on what this means for the future of UC.

2018 Gartner MQ for UC
2018 Gartner MQ for UC

"Unified Communications" according to Gartner

Unified Communications (UC) solutions are “services which boost user productivity and enhance business communication processes.”

Although collaboration doesn't have to be a component in a UC feature, Gartner does note that more companies are now integrating collaborative features into their UC apps.

Gartner explains that UC offers businesses the chance to integrate their comms and business apps.

As such, recording and analytics should be part and parcel of a Unified Comms offering in 2023.

To be included in this year's Magic Quadrant for UC, companies had to comply with the following criteria:

  • Offer a UC solution that unifies all areas defined by Gartner's UC model. This includes telephony, meeting solutions (audio, web, and video), IM and presence, messaging (email, voicemail, UM)
  • The ability to offer clients for multiple environments
  • Be able to integrate with other communication applications like contact centres and collaboration services
  • Be able to integrate their UC functionality into a complete solution on a consistent interface
  • Have a significant market presence in at least 3 areas of UC (such as voice, video and messaging)
  • Offer their services in multiple regions, including APAC, North America, and Europe
  • Provide evidence of sales and revenue
  • Provide proof of on-premises enterprise UC capabilities

Gartner's view of the future UC market

Gartner draws attention to the state of the UC space today, highlighting further fragmentation the market.

As businesses implement more core capabilities of UC into collaboration platforms (i.e. instant messaging and presence), this makes a lot of sense.

Gartner also acknowledged that enterprises are pushing back against walled gardens and vendor lockdown.

Enterprises no longer want to be restricted to a single app, which is essentially the reason why we created Mio.

Respondents to Gartner studies feel their needs are better served using multiple vendors to support UC and workgroup objectives.

As non-traditional working strategies and schedules become more popular, Gartner believes that UC marketplace leaders will focus more on enterprise chat as the central application.

As we eagerly await the Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS (ie- Unified Communications as a Service - not to be confused with the Unified Collaboration Quadrant- more on this later), we anticipate more collaboration-oriented players' inclusion.

However, without the core component of VoIP capability, we don't expect to see Slack and many other modern enterprise messaging players appear here.

Gartner MQ for UCaaS 2017

This supports Gartner's idea that companies are moving more towards digital dexterity with tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Webex.

Gartner conducted a study of 3,210 workers in seven countries. Ultimately, they concluded that the ability to work anywhere with team collaboration leads to better business outcomes.

Interestingly, Cisco and Microsoft are positioned as leaders in Unified Comms, even with their market leading collaboration platforms surely set to represent the MQ for UCaaS.

Enterprise messaging players not in the UC 2022 Magic Quadrant:

1. Slack

Unified Communications, by definition from Gartner, cannot include Slack today simply because Slack does not offer on-premises services, even for Slack Enterprise Grid customers.

Gartner's persistence of labeling the on-premises side of Unified Communications could lead a collaboration buyer to add additional UC services which might have a competing messaging component.

Additionally, Slack does not meet the VoIP requirements for UC telephony.

Today, there is no Magic Quadrant specifically for enterprise collaboration tools.

What Gartner does provide is Peer Insights for Social Software in the Workplace.

Terminology could still be confusing for the collaboration buyer here as Slack (and many other included in this list) do not identify as social software but instead as "collaboration, messaging and team chat apps." Slack, who now aims to be seen not as a "chat app," but as a "collaboration hub," still scores highest for the vendors with reviews averaging 4.5 out of 5.

Slack's Gartner Rating vs. Microsoft Teams
Slack's Gartner Rating vs. Microsoft Teams

Gartner has also provided a SWOT analysis of Slack in the worldwide market.

Here, Gartner recognizes Slack's influence on creating the workstream collaboration market (WSC).

Slack owns the largest share of the WSC market due to the constant addition of new features and capabilities.

In it's SWOT, Gartner points out Slack's weaknesses, highlighting it's US-only data centers, a major concern for enterprises in EMEA and APAC. Gartner also mentions the lack of enterprise go-to-market strategy.

Slack seems to be adopted without the use of a huge sales and marketing push, which doesn't quite fit Gartner's blueprint.

Finally, Slack's opportunities balance the threats, both revolving around the size of the marketplace.

Slack continues to penetrate the majority of the workstream collaboration market, but not the Unified Communications market where it's competitors Microsoft Teams and Webex sit.

2. Workplace by Meta

Like Slack, Workplace by Meta doesn't offer VoIP calling or come in an on-premises version.

Gartner Peer Reviews shows an average of 4.4 for Workplace by Meta too, putting them and Google Hangouts Chat and Slack all in close contention.

Aside from Peer Reviews, Workplace by Meta has little coverage from Gartner.

This could be due to the definition of what Workplace by Meta is and will be.

"Enterprise Social Media" is a term coined by the likes of Yammer. But, Facebook already has Facebook for social media, and Workplace by Meta aims to be more than just social at work.

Workplace by Facebook averages 4.4 on Gartner Peer Insights
Workplace by Facebook averages 4.4 on Gartner Peer Insights

Differentiating Collaboration and Unified Comms

After dissecting the Gartner MQ, it becomes apparent that Unified Comms's on-premises routes remain.

While Gartner recognizes the demand and functional requirements of collaboration in Unified Comms, the reality is that most modern messaging-first collaboration vendors were genuinely born in the cloud.

As native SaaS providers, you could argue that Slack, Google, and Facebook are steps ahead, in terms of their collaboration and messaging offerings.

Final takeaways for enterprise messaging

Whether or not we will eventually see a Gartner MQ for "collaboration software" is uncertain.

The upcoming Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Comms as a Service will prove a useful indicator as to how seriously Gartner is looking at messaging platforms as the new way to communicate in businesses.

Gartner references digital dexterity and focuses on integration into collaboration apps.

But, with more and more enterprises building their communication strategies around messaging and team chat, rather than the telephone, Gartner's focus could shift at some point.

In the meantime, many IT and UC buyers that we speak to want to support more than one vendor in their collaboration offering.

They want to use Slack for its exceptional and highly rated UX, combined with recognized UC market leaders like Google Chat or Microsoft Teams.

In these environments, messaging interoperability is needed to support truly unified communication.

If you're interested in seeing how Mio makes this possible, check out our demo video for Slack and Google Chat:

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