Webex - Nothing More (than its peers), Nothing Less (unless you skimped on your license)
Updated October 06, 2020

Webex - Nothing More (than its peers), Nothing Less (unless you skimped on your license)

Chris Carpenter | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 3 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Webex Meetings

Webex is being used in our organization primarily for online meetings that involve screen share. It is currently being phased out in our company in favor of Microsoft Teams Meeting. Because of our licensing agreement with Webex, only a portion of the users were able to use integrated audio as well. Most users only have access to the screen sharing portion and telephony was handled by a separate conference bridge.
  • Webex was easily accessible throughout the org for meetings - the integration with Outlook was pretty good.
  • Webex did a good job with screen sharing and the standard webconference (non-audio) features.
  • The Webex app was not insignificant. I used it on an iphone as a supplement and it was very useful.
  • Not inherently connecting VOIP with the screen sharing meant (for us) that we always had to wrangle 2 tools to start a meeting rather than 1.
  • The Webex desktop app was helpful, like the mobile app, but the primary experience our company was likely sold against was the web version. That is the weaker of the 3 platforms.
  • Webex recordings were very difficult to make, edit, download and convert. Simplicity would have served them well.
  • Attaching a dial in conference bridge (again, because of our licensing model) was a below average experience. VOIP is far superior, but given the option for less spend, companies will often take it even if ill-advised.
  • It served its purpose as an interim step (for almost 5 years) to a Microsoft platform (Teams Meetings).
  • The impact was neutral. It enabled us to share information live, which is basic functionality.
  • It allowed us to learn what we needed and what we underbought with this platform. The impact was little more than an analogue with keeping the lights on - it provided us nothing unique to its peers.
As previously mentioned, Webex had no unique offering amongst its peers. Because there are options for licensing that don't involve VOIP, it was always limping along for us because of the time-waste looking for dial in information. There is no condition where VOIP should ever be excluded from a modern product like that - even by / especially by licensing (don't let your customers make bad choices).

Zoom is at the top of the list for performance, simplicity, elegance, and ease of use / intuitive behavior (as is BlueJeans) and Skype for Business is next to Webex at the bottom. Microsoft Teams is up towards the top because of the full integration with our Office365 environment. It is evident that Teams Meetings are still relatively immature, but should improve shortly.
Products that have design flaws (usability primarily) will require more support. Webex did okay with support because we had to learn to regularly work that muscle. Similar products don't have the same usability issues, so my familiarity with their support structure is not as strong. That's actually how I prefer it.
Zoom, Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans, Google Hangouts (Classic), Asana
Cisco WebEx is an okay legacy tool, but was not an adaptable platform for the world we exist in now. Microsoft Teams is far better suited for collaboration and video conferencing in an integrated platform. Zoom is far better at being a simple video conferencing environment. WebEx, up against the competition in the new normal of remote work is not a serious competitor to the two primary platforms of Zoom and Teams. It is a clumsy and dated interface that is built for a climate that no longer exists. Simplicity of login, simplicity of accessing recordings, collaboration connections where appropriate, and a more/less turn-key platform are current requirements. At this point, I couldn’t responsibly recommend it to anyone as a superior choice to Teams or Zoom.
I’m sure the product is scalable, but it’s approach to business is now painfully dated compared to its peers like Teams and Zoom. Cisco misses the boat on simplicity. It cannot simply connect to anything because it’s not made to scale to compete with Teams. It has too much technical business infrastructure to simply connect like Zoom. It needs to just work, and not require a complex set of tools and licensing models to access and process recordings.
It is good enough, but it is no longer a serious competitor among its peers because of the business model that created complex licensing models rather than simple access. Our organization decommissions Cisco WebEx and we are no longer using it as part of our technology portfolio. There is no organizational desire to re-visit WebEx as a solution going forward.
It's okay. There are other players in the market in this space that are much more well-built and easy to use. The reason that Webex was on the menu for our company was because they were Cisco's baby. Were they to demo alongside Zoom, GoToMeeting, and BlueJeans with all features in comparison and no branding, Webex would be in a distant last to some of the others solely because of the convolution of what should be concise simplicity. It's screenshare and voip with optional video voip and a record button that you may / may not need each time.
Webex works just like any other web meeting tool. It has an app, a desktop app, and a web version. At this point, I would be unlikely to recommend it because of its specificity to the business world (as opposed to something like Zoom, BlueJeans, etc...) and the requirement for a corporate licensing model that doesn't exactly make the juice worth the squeeze for a product that really doesn't differentiate itself on an enterprise level as anything uniquely special amongst its peers.

Webex Meetings Feature Ratings

High quality audio
High quality video
Low bandwidth requirements
Mobile support
Desktop sharing
Calendar integration
Meeting initiation
Integrates with social media
Not Rated
Record meetings / events
Not Rated
Live chat
Audience polling
Not Rated
User authentication
Participant roles & permissions
Confidential attendee list

Cisco Webex Experience

Cisco’s complexity was its downfall in our org. It was replaced by Microsoft Teams and Zoom because of their integration and simplicity. Cisco’s complexity made it too difficult to just use on a wide scale. Their licensing models allowed for a web conferencing option without telephony or VOIP...if a company selects that option and requires users to integrate a 3rd party platform for a conference bridge, which ours did, starting meetings and accessing recordings was all but impossible. It was a relatively terrible experience every time.
It was not convenient, it was not simple, and it has not risen to meet the needs of our current situation in a way that is measurably commensurate with it’s peers (Microsoft Teams and Zoom). Just because a platform has a lot of features doesn’t mean those features create a harmoniously integrated environment with a low barrier of entry. Complexity can be wonderful, or it can be convolution. WebEx is the later.
It is not a competitor among its peers. Those features are present, but the overall platform is so convoluted and unintegrated with the way we actually work and the user experience we desire that we abandoned it for Microsoft Teams and Zoom. There is no compelling reason to pursue this going forward. The features that were once sell points are now just software bloat that obscures what should be a simple and elegant tool that does one thing very, very well.

Using Cisco Webex Meetings

All business functions in primary office roles (non-manufacturing / material handling). This is remote employees, field employees, global geography, inter office, intra office, R&D, Quality & Regulatory, Finance, Commercial, Sales, Service.
2 - They are IT infrastructure folks and this is one tool in the portfolio. Most support we have is citizen-supporters who apply whatever knowledge they have of the last time THEY had that problem.
  • Remote web conferencing (screen share only)
  • Ad-hoc screen share to request help or provide example / for instance.
  • Webinars (screen share only - telephony was handled over conference bridge)
  • We have used the mobile version as a remote webcam - both standalone and as a supplement to a screenshare.
  • We will be decommissioning the tool in favor of Microsoft Teams. No further Webex meeting use will continue into the future.
Our licensing agreement with Microsoft and Office365 has made Microsoft Teams the replacement for Webex for us. We no longer have a business case that aligns uniquely with Webex.

Evaluating Webex Meetings and Competitors

Yes - For a brief period of time, the business used GoToMeeting. The licensing model (pricing) was more affordable for Webex. That proved to be not entirely accurate. Webex mostly integrated into our org the way every product in its class does, but given the option to not license the product for VOIP (made by our IT organization), we were left with a product that was only half of what it needed to be. Never in the history of ever has an online web meeting been screen sharing only and no telephony/audio. Not buying the right license was our amateur mistake. Selling a non-VOIP version was theirs.
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Reputation
  • Vendor Reputation
  • Analyst Reports
This is an enterprise level tool for our business, so jumping in with Cisco seemed to be a right-sized solution. Security, features, licensing models, recording, etc...it was all there as it should have been. Cisco allowed for this product to play in the markets that it did. It did not, though, have a strong enough feature set to be a strong standalone.
User experience testing. It was clear that after a few meetings trying to stitch together a conference bridge, record a meeting, retrieve that recording, etc...that we had made a poor decision. A full-throated demo of a product with actual users is a must. Use cases need to include ad-hoc meetings, meetings that get started at the minute (how long does tech take to fire up and be ready), VOIP quality, bandwidth issues for remote users, recording quality/ease/retrieval time.

We bought Cisco's solution, not the best web conferencing tool we could find.

Webex Meetings Implementation

That we needed complex implementation that we didn't get tells me 2 things: 1) the product was not designed in a way that "just worked" like some of its peers (Zoom / BlueJeans) and 2) had our company defined actual user needs and validated / verified that they had bought something that matched those, we would have pursued features / designs more closely aligned with what the product actually does: screen share, sometimes video, definitely VOIP audio (always an option regardless of license), and easy recording and retrieval of meetings.
Change management was minimal - "Here's a tool, use it." is not a strong positioning point for a new tool. All new tools look shiny and nearly usable when they are deployed, but the user adoption story is not complete if the user acceptance testing isn't a culmination of a user group's needs assessment before buying the tool in the first place. Many of us had to learn on the fly how to use some of the buried features and it showed - we were sweating before major meetings, town halls, webinars, etc...trying to figure out how to use this tool and accomplish basic tasks that we knew it could do, but didn't know how to enable.
  • Lack of user stories up front / user experience was not addressed.
  • Lack of training for key staff.
  • Lack of fully integrated VOIP throughout the entire company - BIG MISS.

Webex Meetings Training

No. We had a few internal experts who could follow the 1-2 page instructions required to start every meeting. That is unsustainable. Products for business communication should be toddler simple and this tool was everything but. It is a communication tool and it is a failure to require anyone to overcome some surprise knowledge gap within the minutes of starting a meeting. These tools need to always act as easy enablers. This is not an easy enabler.

Configuring Webex Meetings

High configurability is not a good thing. It needs to just work and that is why we took it out of service in favor of some peer technologies that were more simple / integrated - those were Microsoft Teams and Zoom. The convoluted tool with too many options is more of a hindrance to smooth operation when starting a meeting than it is a help.
It requires too much configuration for basic meetings. Web meetings need a simple enabler. That you have to spend so many cycles configuring Cisco WebEx Meetings is the downfall of the platform. It needs to just work out of the box and it just doesn’t work without some heavy manual reading and configuration.
Some - we have done small customizations to the interface - It was an abandoned effort. The end was not worth the effort and didn’t make anything more easy or approachable. Moreover, there were only a few individuals who were able to navigate the system well enough to customize it. It was a failed effort that was incapable of competing with peers who recognized that custom user interfaces were not a core user need (we didn’t ask for that, and it didn’t add value).
Some - we have added small pieces of custom code - It was quickly found to be a waste of time. We were applying effort to something that wasn’t a user need in the first place. It needs to just work like Teams or Zoom. It doesn’t.
No additional comments. We had to go a different direction because it was not positioned to meet our organizations core needs with any simplicity. It was more of a hindrance to our needs than an enabler.

Webex Meetings Support

Unsure - We were referred to a forum.
We were given good support for recording and replaying a Webex meeting. The problem was that we needed good support. It wasn't intuitive, easy, painless, or anything remotely close to what the user experience could have been. Complex forum posts, very complex feature execution, and general convolution in the design led us to need the support that they did a very good job of providing.

Using Webex Meetings

Relatively simple
Do not like to use
Difficult to use
Not well integrated
Slow to learn
Feel nervous using
  • The mobile app, surprisingly enough, was quite elegant. It was easy to use and intuitively designed.
  • The integration with Outlook was somewhat easy to use
  • The desktop application, like the mobile app, was easy to use.
  • The Personal Room feature was handy.
  • Recording meetings and retrieving them from the cloud was miserable.
  • Trying to connect a conference bridge to a Webex meeting was no fun.
  • The configurations available for a Webex meeting in the user's personal account were wonky. It was too much agency to give users who all wanted to do the same thing. There aren't many things you need a web conferencing tool to do. Just make them work - don't make me work.
Yes - Fantastic - saved my experience with the product.