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GigaOm Key Criteria for Evaluating Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) Solutionsv3.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. UCaaS Sector Brief
  3. Decision Criteria Analysis
  4. Analyst’s Outlook
  5. About Dana Hernandez

1. Executive Summary

Enterprises are facing a multitude of changes to the traditional office paradigm. The inflexible nature of fixed, on-premises telephony solutions has become a costly burden. And while online collaboration tools demonstrated value pre-pandemic, the requirements for operating in remote environments due to COVID-19 accelerated enterprise adoption of cloud-based, flexible, and scalable solutions. Enterprises are still working with fully distributed and hybrid business models, and successfully adapting to the new reality requires an organization to provide a way for its users and teams to communicate effectively no matter where they are.

Challenges around scaling user access and facilitating mobility in working environments have always existed for telecommunications, globally distributed enterprises generally, and working flexibly within an on-premises solution. The predominant use of on-premises telephony and an overreliance on email provided little insight into how people within an enterprise communicate both internally and externally and how they could do so more effectively. Simply embracing digital meetings and messaging clearly won’t solve all problems. Collaboration without physical presence can make it difficult to informally exchange ideas, gather information, gauge reactions, and create a sense of enterprise or team culture.

Today, unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solutions are playing a critical role in business communications. These solutions provide a variety of functionalities, such as enterprise telephony, meetings (video, web, and audio conferencing), mobility, instant messaging and presence, and other collaboration tools. They can reduce technology costs by providing access to cloud-based ecosystems, allowing remote updates and upgrades to happen smoothly without on-site technician visits and with less equipment to manage, and can be customized for different needs across an organization.

UCaaS solutions enhance collaboration, reduce costs, and provide flexibility, making them an essential part of modern business communication. The need to facilitate collaboration and streamline communication for remote, global, hybrid, and colocated employees alike has only continued to grow.

Business Imperative
UCaaS solutions can reduce the time and effort required to deploy and manage communication services. They can improve productivity by enabling more fluid discussions of work items and facilitate sharing of assets associated with these discussions. High-quality face-to-face meetings with low latency provide more natural conversations, leading to better business outcomes. Usage analytics help team leaders understand the frequency and quality of internal and external interactions and can drive process improvements. And increasingly more advanced AI-driven capabilities now support communications and actually enhance and optimize the ways enterprises engage with customers and their own employees. As a result, UCaaS is becoming less of a utility and more a driver of digital transformation for SMBs and large enterprises alike.

Sector Adoption Score
To help executives and decision-makers assess the potential impact and value of a unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solution deployment to the business, this GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a structured assessment of the sector across five factors: benefit, maturity, urgency, impact, and effort. By scoring each factor based on how strongly it compels or deters adoption of a UCaaS solution, we provide an overall Sector Adoption Score (Figure 1) of 4.6 out of 5, with 5 indicating the strongest possible recommendation to adopt. This indicates that a UCaaS solution is a very credible candidate for deployment and worthy of thoughtful consideration.

The factors contributing to the Sector Adoption Score for UCaaS solutions are explained in more detail in the Sector Brief section that follows.

Key Criteria for Evaluating UCaaS Solutions

Sector Adoption Score







Figure 1. Sector Adoption Score for UCaaS

This is the third year that GigaOm has reported on the UCaaS space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports. This report builds on our previous analysis and considers how the market has evolved over the last year.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report highlights the capabilities (table stakes, key features, and emerging features) and nonfunctional requirements (business criteria) for selecting an effective UCaaS solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those decision criteria. Together, these reports provide an overview of the market, identify leading UCaaS solution offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.


The GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a detailed decision framework for IT and executive leadership assessing enterprise technologies. Each report defines relevant functional and nonfunctional aspects of solutions in a sector. The Key Criteria report informs the GigaOm Radar report, which provides a forward-looking assessment of vendor solutions in the sector.