Since early 2020, collaboration solutions have played an instrumental role in education around the world as schools moved classes online and as they have continued to navigate ongoing and unpredictable disruptions to normal operations. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes that have occurred in education over the past few years, the collaborative applications market has grown tremendously. As schools navigate the future of remote/blended/hybrid learning as well as hybrid and remote administration/operations, this market will only continue to expand. The players focused on building education-specific capabilities and addressing the industry’s most pressing challenges are poised to win in this market.
The education sector has emerged as a core focus area for many collaboration platform vendors, and the market for collaboration tools for education has become hypercompetitive, with lots of players, big and small, jockeying for market share. There is also wide variation in strengths and weaknesses among the platforms, making it difficult for education IT leaders to make informed and prudent decisions for the future. This has created a lot of noise for education buyers as they seek to evaluate solutions in the market. This document is written to help IT leaders in education make informed investments in collaboration solutions, considering their current and long-term needs.
This study applies the IDC MarketScape methodology to evaluate global videoconferencing and collaboration platform vendors. This is a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the vendor solutions. The vendors included in this study are Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, Cisco, Class Technologies, Google, GoTo, Microsoft, RingCentral, Slack, and Zoom.
This section briefly explains IDC’s key observations resulting in a vendor’s position in the IDC MarketScape. While every vendor is evaluated against each of the criteria outlined in the Appendix, the description here provides a summary of each vendor’s strengths and challenges.
Cisco is positioned in the Leaders category in the 2022 IDC MarketScape for worldwide collaboration tools for education.
Founded by Stanford University employees 37 years ago, Cisco’s founding was rooted in education and the company has been serving both K–12 and higher education customers since day 1. Webex is currently used by education institutions in 35 countries in every major geographic region and is available in 24 languages. Cisco is dedicated to further global and regional expansion for its education business. Each geography Cisco operates in maintains a local presence including local education experts and Education Centers of Excellence (COEs). Cisco Education COEs engage with local independent software vendors (ISVs), provide training to regional customers, serve as a conduit to collect and prioritize feedback to product teams, host local events, and participate in relevant market activities. In some instances, these COEs and other physical education centers are colocated on university campuses — as is the case with Cisco’s Innovation Central program in Australia, which operates a partnership between Cisco and Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia, and Cisco and Flinders
University in Adelaide, Australia. Cisco is now supporting the construction of a new hybrid teaching and learning technology center at Curtin, which will serve as a training center for the APJC region, and plans to develop similar facilities in other markets. In the past two years, Webex has invested heavily in R&D to enhance the platform’s features and capabilities, adding more than 1,000 new features during this time. A key acquisition made specific to education was that of Involvio, a student engagement software that helps education customers manage hybrid teaching and learning environments. Cisco also acquired Slido, an audience engagement platform that helps deliver “active learning” experiences on Webex, and Socio (now Webex Events), which provides tools to manage complex, large-scale hybrid events. Over the next 24–36 months, Cisco is focused on bolstering Webex to support K–12 and higher education. Focus areas include new education product packaging to simplify purchasing and procurement of Cisco solutions, expanding LMS integrations and partnerships, integration with identity management providers, simplifying Webex’s collaboration suite including meetings and chat, and increasing education and edtech investments and M&As. Quick facts about Cisco:
Institutions should consider Cisco when they are looking for a vendor partner with deep industry expertise that offers a secure collaboration platform with a robust set of innovative features and capabilities.
A critical point in this research effort is to meet the following inclusion criteria:
For the purposes of this analysis, IDC divided potential key measures for success into two primary categories: capabilities and strategies.
Positioning on the y-axis reflects the vendor’s current capabilities and menu of services and how well aligned the vendor is to customer needs. The capabilities category focuses on the capabilities of the company and product today, here and now. Under this category, IDC analysts will look at how well a vendor is building/delivering capabilities that enable it to execute its chosen strategy in the market.
Positioning on the x-axis, or strategies axis, indicates how well the vendor’s future strategy aligns with what customers will require in three to five years. The strategies category focuses on high-level decisions and underlying assumptions about offerings, customer segments, and business and go-to- market plans for the next three to five years.
The size of the individual vendor markers in the IDC MarketScape represents the market share of each individual vendor within the specific market segment being assessed.
IDC MarketScape criteria selection, weightings, and vendor scores represent well-researched IDC judgment about the market and specific vendors. IDC analysts tailor the range of standard characteristics by which vendors are measured through structured discussions, surveys, and interviews with market leaders, participants and end users. Market weightings are based on user interviews, buyer surveys and the input of IDC experts in each market. IDC analysts base individual vendor scores, and ultimately vendor positions on the IDC MarketScape, on detailed surveys and interviews with the vendors, publicly available information, and end-user experiences in an effort to provide an accurate and consistent assessment of each vendor’s characteristics, behavior, and capability.
IDC defines collaboration tools as applications that enable groups of people to work together in virtual environments by sharing information, communications, and processes. These include conferencing applications, as well as team collaboration applications. These tools and applications enable videoconferencing, breakout rooms, screen and file sharing, and API-based, third-party application and solution integrations.