Key Criteria for Evaluating Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) Solutionsv2.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. UCaaS Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Bill Witter

1. Summary

Enterprises face a multitude of changes to the office paradigm. The inflexible nature of operating fixed, on-premises solutions has become a costly burden. And while collaboration tools demonstrated value pre-pandemic, the requirements of operating in a remote environment due to COVID-19 accelerated enterprise adoption of cloud-based, flexible, and scalable solutions. Enterprises are still working to establish fully distributed and hybrid business models, and providing a way for users and teams to communicate effectively is at the core of successfully adapting to the new reality.

Challenges have always existed around scaling user access and facilitating mobility in working environments. This is true for remote working, the general needs of globally distributed enterprises, 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 an enterprise communicates and how it 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 exchange ideas, gather information, gauge reactions, and create a sense of enterprise or team culture.

Unified communications as a service (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 connected to 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 not only support communications but actually enhance and optimize how 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.

This is the second year that GigaOm has reported on the UCaaS space, and the need to facilitate collaboration and streamline communication for remote and colocated employees alike has only continued to grow. This report builds on our previous analysis and considers how the market has evolved over the last year.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report details the capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technologies) and non-functional requirements (evaluation metrics) for selecting an effective UCaaS solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those capabilities and metrics. Together, these reports provide an overview of the category and its underlying technology, identify leading UCaaS offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

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