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        Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

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        The Buyers Guides for Digital Comms Classifies and Rates Software Providers

        I am happy to share insights gleaned from our latest Buyers Guide, an assessment of how well software providers’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The Digital Communications Ventana Research Buyers Guide is the distillation of a year of market and product research by Ventana Research.

        The necessity of enterprise communications internally and to external constituents like customers, partners and suppliers needs to be digital yet efficient and enabled across any VR_General_DC_2024channel and device. Dramatic technological changes have made it simpler and more cost-effective to enable these interactions in every business process across the workforce. Now, digital communications technology is more easily adopted globally, enabling supply chains to meet the demands of consumers through commerce.

        Organizations invest in digital communication to increase the productivity of individuals and the workforce in the context of their roles and responsibilities. These systems enable seamless collaboration among workers to provide effective interactions and impactful communication experiences across the workforce and external constituents. And with the distributed workforces operating from retail locations to corporate offices to home locations, the ease of interactions across mobile devices to computers via chat or video is an essential part of what digital communications enable.

        Through 2027, only one-quarter of enterprises will have standardized their digital communications technologies to provide the highest level of resilience and unification for an effective workforce.

        This research-based index evaluates the full business and information technology value of digital communications software offerings. I encourage you to learn more about our Buyers Guide and its effectiveness as a provider selection and RFI/RFP tool. We urge organizations to do a thorough job of evaluating digital communications offerings in this Buyers Guide as both the results of our in-depth analysis of these software providers and as an evaluation methodology. The Buyers Guide can be used to evaluate existing suppliers, plus provides evaluation criteria for new projects. Using it can shorten the cycle time for an RFP and the definition of an RFI.

        The Overall Buyers Guide includes analysis of Premium Suites category of Digital Communications and encompasses a portfolio of products including platforms and tools that span use of physical and virtual phones, chat, collaboration and meetings with related plan support, administration and integration of communications, device and digital technology support, intelligence and workflows, analytics and insights, marketplace support and compliance to accessibility standards. Support and management of webinars and training have expanded the category to meet enterprise requirements. This segmentation ensures that software providers are recognized for the level of sophistication and commitment to this unified software category to meet the breadth and depth of enterprises, paving the way for a future where every organization can find the software provider that best meets it needs.

        For the Overall Buyers Guides on Digital Communications, the research evaluated the following software providers that offer products that address key elements of overall digital communications as we define it: 8x8, Avaya, Cisco, Google, Microsoft, RingCentral and Zoom.

        The Buyers Guide for Digital Communications Overall in 2024 finds RingCentral first on the list, followed by Zoom and Microsoft and were Exemplary.

        Software providers that rated in the top three of any category ﹘ including the product and customer experience dimensions ﹘ earn the designation of Leader.

        The Leaders in Product Experience are:

        • Zoom.
        • RingCentral.
        • Microsoft.

        The Leaders in Customer Experience are:

        • Microsoft.
        • RingCentral.
        • Zoom.

        The Leaders across any of the seven categories are:

        • Microsoft, RingCentral and Zoom in six.
        • Google in two.

        Ventana_Research_BG_DigiCommsOverall_2x2_2024 

        The Basic Suite category of Digital Communications encompasses a portfolio of capabilities and products including tools that span use of chat, collaboration, communication administration, meeting, phone support (physical and virtual) and plans, analytics and compliance. This segmentation ensures that software providers are recognized for the basic level of requirements to this unified software category and the needs of any sized enterprise.

        For the Basic Suite Buyers Guide on Digital Communications, this research evaluates the following software providers that offer products that address key elements of digital communications basic suite as we define it: 8x8, Avaya, Cisco, Dialpad, Google, GoTo, Intelepeer, Microsoft, RingCentral, Sangoma, Vonage, Wildix, Zoho and Zoom.

        The research finds Zoho atop the list, followed by RingCentral and Microsoft and were Exemplary as was Vonage and Zoom.

        Software providers that rated in the top three of any category ﹘ including the product and customer experience dimensions ﹘ earn the designation of Leader.

        The Leaders in Product Experience are:

        • Zoho.
        • RingCentral.
        • Zoom.

        The Leaders in Customer Experience are:

        • Zoho.
        • Microsoft.
        • RingCentral.

        The Leaders across any of the seven categories are:

        • RingCentral and Zoho have done so in six.
        • Microsoft in four.
        • Vonage in three.
        • Zoom in two.

        Ventana_Research_BG_DigiCommsBasic_2x2_2024

        The Premium Suite category of Digital Communications encompasses the Basic Suite including platforms and tools that span the expanded use of physical and virtual phones, chat, collaboration and meetings with related plan support, administration and integration of communications, device and digital technology support, intelligence and workflows, analytics and insights, marketplace support and compliance to accessibility standards. Support and management of webinars and training have expanded the category to meet enterprise requirements. This segmentation ensures that software providers are recognized for the level of sophistication and commitment to this unified software category to meet the breadth and depth of enterprises, paving the way for a future where every organization can find the software provider that best meets it needs.

        This research evaluates the following software providers that offer products that address key elements of premium digital communications suites as we define them: 8x8, Avaya, Cisco, Google, GoTo, Kaltura, Microsoft, RingCentral, Zoho and Zoom.

        The Buyers Guide for Premium Suite finds RingCentral atop the list, followed by Zoom and Microsoft who were also Exemplary, as was Zoho.

        Software providers that rated in the top three of any category ﹘ including the product and customer experience dimensions ﹘ earn the designation of Leader.

        The Leaders in Product Experience are:

        • Zoom.
        • RingCentral.
        • Microsoft.

        The Leaders in Customer Experience are:

        • Zoom.
        • Microsoft.
        • RingCentral

        The Leaders across any of the seven categories are:

        • Zoho has done so in six.
        • RingCentral in five.
        • Microsoft in four.
        • Zoom in two.
        • Cisco in one.

        Ventana_Research_BG_DCPremSuite_2x2_2024

        The Digital Communications platform is commonly referred to as communication platform as a service (CPaaS) though our framework is more comprehensive. The Buyers Guide evaluates the digital communications platform and and hould include embedded support for chat, analytics and insights, intelligence and workflow, communications administration and integration. The platform should additionally support the following: cloud platform, routing, programmable numbers, communication API, authentication and management API, and support for low code / no code support and with language and protocol, developer studio, encryption, and API support for WebRTC, emergency call, social messaging, mobile identity, notification and IoT.

        For the Platform Buyers Guide on Digital Communications, this research evaluates the following software providers that offer products that address key elements of digital communication platforms as we define them: 8x8, Avaya, Bandwidth, Bird, Cisco, CM, Google, Infobip, IntelePeer, Microsoft, Plivo, RingCentral, Route Mobile, Sinch, Twilio, Vonage and Zoom.

        The Buyers Guide for Digital Communications Platform in 2024 finds Twilio first on the list, followed by Infobip and RingCentral who were also Exemplary as was Microsoft, Sinch, Vonage and Zoom.

        Software providers that rated in the top three of any category ﹘ including the product and customer experience dimensions ﹘ earn the designation of Leader.

        The Leaders in Product Experience are:

        • Twilio.
        • Infobip.
        • RingCentral.

        The Leaders in Customer Experience are:

        • Twilio.
        • Microsoft.
        • Sinch.

        The Leaders across any of the seven categories are:

        • Twilio has done so in ten.
        • Infobip in seven.
        • Microsoft and RingCentral in four.
        • Sinch in three.
        • Vonage in two.

        Ventana_Research_BG_DigiCommsPlat_2x2_2024

        The overall performance chart provides a visual representation of how providers rate across product and customer experience. Software providers with products scoring higher in a weighted rating of the five product experience categories place farther to the right. The combination of ratings for the two customer experience categories determines their placement on the vertical axis. As a result, providers that place closer to the upper-right are “exemplary” and rated higher than those closer to the lower-left and identified as providers of “merit.” Software providers that excelled at customer experience over product experience have an “assurance” rating, and those excelling instead in product experience have an “innovative” rating.

        Note that close provider scores should not be taken to imply that the packages evaluated are functionally identical or equally well-suited for use by every enterprise or process. Although there is a high degree of commonality in how organizations handle digital communications, there are many idiosyncrasies and differences that can make one provider’s offering a better fit than another.

        Our firm has made every effort to encompass in this Buyers Guide the overall product and customer experience from our digital communications blueprint, which we believe reflects what a well-crafted RFP should contain. Even so, there may be additional areas that affect which software provider and products best fit an enterprise’s particular requirements. Therefore, while this research is complete as it stands, utilizing it in your own organizational context is critical to ensure that products deliver the highest level of support for your projects.

        You can find more details on our community as well as on our expertise in the research for this Buyers Guide.

        Regards,

        Mark Smith

        Authors:

        Mark Smith
        Partner, Head of Software Research

        Mark Smith is the Partner, Head of Software Research at ISG and Ventana Research leading the global market agenda as a subject matter expert in digital business and enterprise software. Mark is a digital technology enthusiast using market research and insights to educate and inspire enterprises, software and service providers.

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