MS Exchange 2007 Vs Unity UM

Unanswered Question
Jun 26th, 2008

Here is what i think is an interesting dilema from a selling standpoint.

ive been trying to convince a customer to put Unity into thier existing CUCM 5.1 environment for a while now. the customer just upgraded thier messaging infrastructure to Exchange 2007 which as we know comes with UM. so they asked me a couple of days ago to help them setup a pilot.

i complied and it was up and running in a couple of hours. Now we saw some limitations with MWI and other components but for the most part, it was fine. From a pricing standpoint it was also fine. im seeing a lot of the customers asking about this now (Most have enterprise agreements) and im wondering, how do i now pitch Unity Vs Exchange if a customer is already on the "upgrade' route to 2007?

have you encountered this type of scenario, and if so, what were the positive, realistic selling points of going Unity UM instead?

I have this problem too.
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ranpierce Fri, 06/27/2008 - 07:19

OK so I worked at ActiveVoice the company that developed Cisco Unity (as well as many people on this list} Cisco aquired AV and from what I hear is that some of the developers that Cisco didn't keep on or left later went to Microsoft and are doing VM with 2007.

The best are still with Cisco and are on this list. I see them often.

The fact is Exchange 2007 is featureless in comparison to Cisco Unity. You pay for what you get.

My .02

Randy Pierce

a.gooding Wed, 07/16/2008 - 05:53

Hey randy

obviously im still looking at ways to convince customers so could you expand on how Exchange 2007 is featureless in comparison?. i suppose as well its what the customer perceives as unified messaging and their actual requirements. Most of my customers are not really "Mobile" and are still using basic IPT Features so i think its a little harder to convince them when they are not willing to explore how these systems can work for them (i know, thats supposed to be my job)

thanks in advance, just gathering all the resources in case a customer puts me on the spot :)

ranpierce Wed, 07/16/2008 - 06:19

I will see if I can find a feature comparison. Cause I do not have E2K7 UM installed to make a list but I have seen it.

Many things Unity can do E2K7 cannot.


panderon2k4 Fri, 06/27/2008 - 08:13

Well, Unity can be a difficult sell. We've run into this as well and if the customer has existing agreements, that's even harder. In a nutshell, here are the pros of working with Unity.

-A laundry list of advanced features such as voicemail tagging for expiration, and more

-Mature Auto Attendant setup / usage. Unity is way more flexible in this regard.

-Integrated MWI. The MWI offerings on the Microsoft side are stable, but aren't as 'polished' as Unity's integrated MWI.

The CONs to using Unity are:

-Smartnet usually pushes the cost significantly above that of existing MSFT agreements.

-No native office integration (requires separate plug-in)

-Advanced voice features are 'unlocked' when using OL '07 w/Exchange '07

-MS TUI / OVA can be pretty useful.

Ultimately, the msft offering is superior in many ways, but the Unity offering is more polished, battle tested, and has alot more unique features that may better meet the needs of your customer. Costs can vary by agreement and customer.

Hope this helps.

Tommer Catlin Wed, 07/16/2008 - 10:24

One huge benefit customers use quite often is the customized TUI interface. Exchange 2007, you can not customize the TUI interface... granted it has speech, but..... Cisco is pressing to get the speech engine updated for Unity. It is still another server, but if you add the speech component to Unity, it does not compare.


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