New Q4 data from Synergy Research Group shows that collaboration market leader Cisco grew its market share for the third consecutive quarter, passing the 15% mark in the final three months of the year. Microsoft too saw a sequential uptick in its market share but remained more than two and a half percentage points behind its big rival. Avaya continued to battle with IBM for third place in the market, with IBM coming out on top in the fourth quarter but Avaya having the lead for full-year 2016. Cisco’s market share growth in Q4 was thanks in large part to achieving a five-year market share high in premise-based solutions while holding its own in the much higher growth hosted/cloud market segments. Microsoft continues to hold a strong lead in hosted/cloud collaboration, but this side of the market is more fragmented with no single supplier achieving a double-digit market share, in contrast to the on-premise market. Beyond the top four vendors, other major players in the market include AT&T, Verizon, Citrix, Polycom, Mitel, UNIFY and ALE.

Total revenues from collaboration — which includes enterprise voice, UC applications, telepresence, email software, enterprise content management, enterprise social networks, and a range of hosted/cloud communications and applications — again topped the $9 billion mark and were close to their all-time high. Revenues from hosted/cloud solutions continue to grow strongly — up 9% in 2016 compared with 2015 — while revenue from premise-based systems declined 4%. During the quarter particularly strong growth was seen in teamwork applications, contact center as a service (CCaaS), and video as a service (VaaS). Teamwork applications is an emerging and super-high growth area that features Cisco's Spark and vendors like Slack. Strong market demand for CCaaS drove strong growth for such vendors as Genesys/Interactive Intelligence, inContact and Five9; while increased market adoption for VaaS drove strong growth and continued attention to vendors such as Zoom and BlueJeans.

“Collaboration continues to be a somewhat fragmented market that is characterized by a long list of disruptive and high-growth companies, with no less than 15 companies achieving full-year growth rates in excess of 20%,” said Jeremy Duke, Synergy Research Group’s founder and chief analyst. “That level of growth is certainly not matched by the market leaders, with the top 10 companies in aggregate seeing their revenues actually decline somewhat in 2016. Looking ahead we see that new cloud-based applications will continue to disrupt traditional business communication systems, creating strong opportunity for new cloud based solutions.”