While analyst reports provide a helpful short list of vendors to consider, customer requirements are unique. Consequently, IT departments must take a democratic approach to selecting the right vendor based on business user needs.
Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) platforms have evolved to offer many communication and collaboration features. While analyst reports provide a helpful shortlist of vendors to consider, customer requirements are unique. Consequently, IT departments must take a democratic approach to selecting the right vendor based on business user needs.
Purchasing decisions must be needs led to maximize ROI
Omdia Universes are not intended to advocate an individual vendor but to guide and inform the selection process. As part of our process, vendors assist analysts in completing a questionnaire that covers numerous metrics and features. On the UCaaS Universe’s Y axis, we plot “market momentum,” a composite ranking that compares each vendor’s growth, user base, financial metrics, go-to-market strategy, and partnerships. On the X axis, we assess a vendor’s capability across voice, video, messaging, and conferencing elements—or “workloads”—and apply a weighted mapping of the Universe’s solution capability based on our assessment of the generic needs of an enterprise customer as seen in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Omdia UCaaS Universe: 20% telephony weighted Source: Omdia
However, this landscape significantly changes if an enterprise customer has more comprehensive telephony requirements as seen in Figure 2, where a heavier weighting (50% rather than 20%) is applied.
Figure 2: Omdia UCaaS Universe: 50% telephony workload weighted Source: Omdia
While all UCaaS vendors offer essential telephony capabilities, some businesses require more-extensive phone features such as shared line appearance like a sales line, call paging, and call park or putting a call on hold so another person can pick it up on a different phone.
Finally, Omdia did not include a contact center or helpdesk features as part of our UCaaS Universe; this functionality is becoming more important as businesses look to integrate their customer-facing staff with back-office support colleagues.
Conducting a comprehensive needs assessment is valuable for delivering precisely what an organization needs to meet its business objectives. A needs assessment should capture employees’ requirements in all company areas including office staff, hybrid workers, and customer-facing departments such as sales, marketing, and customer service.
Decision making must be more democratic
Many organizational considerations are attributable to the success or failure of technology decisions. In Omdia’s 2022 Future of Work Survey, we asked: “What is your organization’s approach when procuring new technologies?” Some 48% of respondents said that their IT departments determine the need and make the final recommendation. In 29% of organizations, senior management evaluates solutions and provides ROI decisions to departments and business units. However, only 18% of enterprise customers make decisions with stakeholders’ input from different business units.
The same survey also asked: “What are your organization’s most important strategic priorities as relates to the future of work?” The resounding answer was “Improve employee productivity”; however, how can employees be expected to be productive if they don’t have the right tools for their job roles?
Few enterprises recognize the strategic importance of IT departments and their pivotal role in improving an organization’s effectiveness, efficiency, and subsequent productivity. Many businesses still base their buying decisions ROI calculations without the rigor of measuring costs or benefits. High costs are associated with wasted employee time, disruption to operations, and revenue by poorly selected technology investments.
As UCaaS solutions have numerous features and functionality, enterprises should conduct a needs analysis from various job roles and departments, review current user requirements and business processes, and seek to understand how those requirements will likely change to support business objectives.
Omdia Universe: Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) Solution, 2023 (March 2023)
2022 Future of Work Survey (January 2023)
Market Landscape: Unified Communications and Collaboration (October 2022)
Tim Banting, Practice Leader, Digital Workplace
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