Companies today–from SMB’s to midsize and large enterprises are all on the hunt for cloud-based communication solutions. In fact, by 2021, 90% of companies will no longer need to purchase premises-based UC infrastructure–because future-focused UC companies will be far ahead in terms of function, portals, analytics, and adaptability. However, if IT leaders don’t choose carefully now, they run the risk of investing in dozens of systems that lead to a siloed, costly and overly-complicated work environment.
With the UC market making a fundamental shift from premises-based UC to cloud we looked for solutions that support the same function as its premises-based counterparts. This includes IT administration portals, usage dashboards, network performance portals, and onboarding tools. The reason being is that these tools are particularly useful in identifying and remedying service quality issues and enhancing the overall user experience of enterprise customers.
When evaluating the following companies, we looked at ease of adoption, interoperability and a wide range of features.
1. Cisco (BroadSoft)
Cisco is a global IT enterprise vendor that acquired Broadsoft in 2018. The acquisition provided Cisco multiple cloud calling capabilities for telephony along with the cloud-based Cisco Customer Journey Platform (CJP) for the contact center. The company possesses a strong UC brand and deep base of channel partners that are scalable and capable of supporting large customers. However, users report Cisco BroadCloud APIs are still maturing, and users may have to adapt to a changing landscape of interfaces and tools.
Fuze is a privately held UCaaS application specialist running its own UCaaS multitenant platform that supports workstream collaboration supporting up to 1,000 participants and up to 12 simultaneous video streams in its conferencing. Fuze customers rate it highly for its pace of innovation; however, the complexity of large and MNC deployments can result in longer-than-expected customer implementation schedules.
Deltapath is a privately-held global UCaaS solution that offers a seamless communication platform allowing customers to migrate into the future with its current network without costly equipment upgrades. Most notably Deltapath was the chosen partner for Dolby Voice, a move the company made earlier in the year when entering the UC space. Deltapath is well-positioned to service both SMB’s and large enterprises of over 5,000 employees, particularly those seeking integrated contact center as a service (CCaaS). The company’s contact center Cinch enables incoming calls to be matched with customer data which provides a quick and personalized response to support calls. They also feature a graphical web-based interface that provides flexibility and easy maintenance of the system. However, the company lacks Enterprise brand recognition but with its recent partnership with Dolby that likely change.
4. 8 X 8
8×8 is a publicly held UCaaS application specialist whose roots are in the U.S. small and midsize business (SMB) markets. The majority of 8×8 customers are connected via the internet as opposed to Internet Protocol (IP) Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). 8×8 continues to invest in automation tools for customer self-service installations. Gartner did report that the video/meeting capability is insufficient for formal meetings with business partners and executives. It is, however, suitable for internal usage and informal external communications.
Its new UCaaS application is branded as Microsoft Teams, part of Microsoft’s cloud IT Office 365 suite offered globally, and the company says that Teams will replace Microsoft’s Skype for Business Online over time. Teams is well-suited for customers needing workstream collaboration and conferencing capabilities. However, capabilities lag behind its UCaaS competitors in real-time APIs for both CRM platforms and contact centers.
Mitel is currently a publicly held technology vendor with roots in the premises-based PBX market before acquiring ShoreTel for its UCaaS platform. Recent MiCloud Connect enhancements include the new Teamwork collaboration tool for team workspaces, packaged with integrated video conferencing and desktop sharing. Users cite Mitel’s end-user and IT administration interfaces as less intuitive than some competitors’ and cite quality variation across channel partners.
7. Ring Central
RingCentral is a publicly traded mobile-first UCaaS application with its roots in SMB UCaaS. The company uses an internally developed multitenant platform branded as RingCentral Office, which includes the full UCaaS stack. The company’s meeting solution and contact center capabilities require a multiyear vendor partnership, posing a business risk that vendors partnerships could change as business environments inevitably change.
West is now privately held following its 4Q17 purchase by private equity investor Apollo Global Management. The company’s UCaaS solution is branded as VoiceMaxx CE, is based on the Cisco HCS platform. The company’s expertise expands across numerous Cisco UCaaS-related offerings but remains highly dependent on Cisco technology, making long-term differentiation difficult which could be a reason that some users report insufficient customer support, complex IT administration portals that are difficult to manage. However, customers continue to value West’s strength in combined UCaaS and CCaaS solutions