In October, at the beginning of BroadSoft's annual Connections conference, Cisco announced their plans to acquire the UC powerhouse, which would give them the top spot in the UC and UCaaS market, a smart move for anyone trying to leapfrog the competition.
Why were BroadSoft on the Market?
With strong financials, product portfolio and market share BroadSoft were not in a position where they needed to be sold; quite the opposite. There was speculation that perhaps after almost 20 years of fueling the engine the founders wanted a simple and clean exit route.
BroadSoft's CMO, Taher Behbehani, summarized the acquisition in 5 words as “more choice and more coverage”. Behbehani said the acquisition would provide more choice for Service Providers in terms of go-to-market, channel distribution, bundles and offers. He added that as enterprises get larger Cisco had more dominant offers in play. The brand value of Cisco was important to BroadSoft and they are embracing the unfolding change.
Why is Cisco acquiring BroadSoft?
BroadSoft has a fully formed cloud-based UC&C portfolio with significant market share in the small to medium size business space. Since Cisco's focus is on the enterprise market they're not in direct competition so this is a logical complementary acquisition. Jon Arnolds delves into the why, time-to-market and buy versus build arguments of the acquisition in greater detail here.
Cisco's own cloud-based collaboration tool Cisco Spark has plenty of opportunity to expand its market share and BroadSoft's go-to-market strategy through service providers is attractive to Cisco as they are prime candidates for Spark. The addition of Broadsoft's fully baked solution, as well as its experienced teams of engineers and developers will be welcome new resource. According to Dave Michels, BroadSoft fast-tracks Cisco's journey to having a robust, scalable, multi-tenant UCaaS platform.
What does Integration look like?
It's difficult to say just yet how the BroadSoft - Cisco integration will pan out, but typically Cisco takes 18-24 months to integrate acquisitions. Reports suggest that in the interim, because they target different segments of the market, customers shouldn't expect major changes but it is predicted Cisco will begin to work on synergies between products like Spark and WebEx so the back-end will be constructed on BroadSoft's platform.
Will this Even the Collaboration Playing Field?
In the collaboration space Slack has been occupying a dominant market position for years. Microsoft Teams came off the blocks with force the past year and the incumbent ruffled more feathers in September with it's Skype for Business Online announcement. The combination of Broadsoft's collaboration solution with Cisco Spark – where there is potential overlap – makes for an interesting & competitive offering: one we'll be keeping a close eye on.