Jabber - Great Quality, Overkill Features, Pricey Backend
May 25, 2016
Jabber - Great Quality, Overkill Features, Pricey Backend
Score 5 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Jabber
Jabber has been deployed for all of our users across the entire organization on their desktop/laptop machines for just over two years now. Initially, we installed Jabber because it was Cisco's upgrade to the old soft-phones (PC phones) for their Call Manager (now Unified Communications) system. Jabber would allow our users to VPN back to our office and use the Jabber client like it was their office phone, so their clients could dial their office number and reach them, dialing out would show their office number on caller ID, etc. It has other features of course, but this was our primary reason for using Jabber.
- In general, call quality is really good using Jabber. Of course it is dependent on your network or internet connection speed if used remotely, but it's much better than many other products we looked at under the same circumstances. Most of the time we can't tell when someone is working remotely over the VPN using Jabber.
- The user interface is easy to use and quickly adopted by users.
- The search function for contacts is quick and accurate.
- Federation (connecting Jabber to other businesses to see their availability, etc.) is spotty and only works under certain circumstances. There are different types of federation using different protocols for different types of systems and we usually find that no one else knows what type of system they have and it takes so much time to troubleshoot to setup. It's usually not worth it and we give up.
- The presence indicators (availability icons) only work about 60% of the time. They read your Outlook calendar and also determine if you're on the phone to automatically change your availability icons. They are often wrong - for most of my users. You can change it yourself manually too.
- Using the Jabber app on the iPhone requires the device VPN back to your system. If your UC system is in the cloud, maybe that's not a big deal to anyone. All of our equipment and systems are hosted in-house, so having our iPhones have an open VPN back to our network requires more overhead for security and management than we anticipated. We're constantly testing to confirm everything is locked down as much as possible to avoid security issues. iPhones are not the most secure devices and due to the amount of personal use on those devices, it provides a prime target for malware to gain access to a network. Not many of our users choose to use Jabber on their iPhones anyway, because they have had instances where the carrier connection isn't so good and it won't hold a VPN stable.
- We have upgraded the back end unified communications side of Jabber annually. We have only upgraded the Jabber client twice. I don't think we've spent a significant amount of money or time on the Jabber client itself - nor have we found a ROI with any time or cost savings. Actually, I would venture to say that only about 30% of my users ever use it.
- lync and Skype
In 2008, we invested significantly in Cisco's phone system. Jabber is an extension of that system. In 2011, we compared Microsoft's Lync and Skype to Cisco's Jabber client. Both were inferior in call quality, video display, security, and user interface. Jabber stood out above the rest so far there were no comparisons. Since then, Skype for Business has gotten more secure and with Microsoft's purchase, I believe they have merged several technologies. If we were evaluating the products today, I think we would likely choose another product, simply due to the costs associated with the licensing vs. other solutions on the market.
If a large company, with many offices, would benefit from instant chat style communication - or - if a company were going to put their entire communication system in the cloud and use WebEx - then this is a great product for you. If you're not a WebEx client and/or if your company culture won't embrace chat sessions, then there are other alternatives on the market that will likely meet your needs better without all the overkill and overhead... and at a MUCH BETTER price point. Cisco phone systems are solid and have great quality, but they are expensive to purchase, maintain, upgrade, license... it's a huge expense and today's market provides cheaper alternatives. When we purchased our Cisco phone system, there was nothing on the market even close. That's no longer true.
Cisco Jabber Feature Ratings
Even with the Jabber client, Cisco support is outstanding, with the knowledge and quick response you would expect from them. Their engineers understand their products and our issues are usually addressed quickly and by the same person we originally connect with instead of getting passed to additional people. Follow-up is good too. Their support is thorough.
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
Yes - Our Jabber support is covered under our Cisco smartnets on our phone system. Cisco support is outstanding, with the knowledge and quick response you would expect from them. Their engineers understand their products and our issues are usually addressed quickly and by the same person we originally connect with instead of getting passed to additional people. Follow-up is good too.
Yes - Most of the bugs we have reported with Jabber were in the first two versions. Each of the issue we found had to be addressed with patches and then were later added to the next releases. The patches took a while, but we did get them. While the issues were frustrating, it's understandable that their programmers needed time to address the issues. It's impressive that they wrote and provided us patches instead of us having to wait 6 months on the next release date to address our issues.