Thanks to cloud technology, companies can access instant, reliable and feature-rich communication stacks with nothing more than an internet connection. UC "as a service" or UCaaS means that you can just sign up for a subscription to a service, and someone else will handle the technical aspects of your communication strategy for you. It's no wonder this lucrative market is set to reach a value of $79.3 billion by 2024.
So, who's driving this trend for communications on the cloud? Which are the major brands convincing companies to leave their traditional PBX behind? It depends mostly on who you ask, as everyone seems to have their own favorite UC provider these days. However, two of the major players we've seen in recent years are RingCentral and 8x8.
Let's take a look at what each of these vendors has to offer.
Don't Bust your Budget: Prices and Services for top UCaaS Providers
The price of your UCaaS strategy might not be the most crucial factor in your decision-making process, but it is something you should keep in mind.
8x8 Pricing Packages
8x8 users, their hosted solution to combine phone technology with SMS and instant messaging in a simple application. On their "pro plan" at $19.99 per month, you get video conferencing, online meetings, and workforce collaboration features. There's also the option to upgrade with a virtual office "pro" plan. The standard plan comes with virtually all the features your UC system needs, including:
- Music on hold
- Conference bridge
- Auto attendant
With the "pro" tier, you get extra options like call recording, internet faxing and video conferencing.
RingCentral offers three plans for companies interested in UCaaS, with options to expand your package using add-ons like extra minutes. The standard plan rolls in at $24.99 per user, per month, helping it to compete with 8x8's inexpensive standard tier. However, RingCentral limits a lot more features to the more expensive levels in their plans.
If you want to access things like HD voice quality, multi-level auto attendant, and call recording, then you'll need to upgrade to premium or enterprise plans. However, on the plus side, it's worth noting that RingCentral does offer more flexibility to expand your system with add-ons to suit your needs. For instance, if you make international calls frequently, you can add extra international numbers to your account.
Enhancing User Experience
As any tech leader in business will know, the most innovative UCaaS strategy in the world won't do you much good if your teams don't know how to use it. Usability and simplicity are vital features in driving adoption for a new communication stack. Both RingCentral and 8x8 offer simple set-up solutions to their customers, but each interface is slightly different.
8x8's User Portal:
With 8x8, users can choose to access their application via a web version of their desktop app, an account management administrator portal, or a Virtual Office reporting page. Once you're in the UI, you'll find a dedicated home page, where you can:
- Check out your billing summary
- Set up phone systems
- Access 8x8 network alerts
- View your call log summary
There's also a quick access panel packed with "how to" information in case you're just getting started with UCaaS for the first time. The left panel in the system page lists everything you need to access things like virtual numbers, auto attendant features, music on hold and more.
RingCentral's User Portal:
To log into the RingCentral account management portal, you'll need your phone number and password. Once you enter the UI, you'll see a highly modern and clean display that lists some of the most useful functions that today's administrators need, including:
- Access to your phone system
- Reports and analytics
- Call logs
- Meeting information
The home screen for the phone system provides plenty of useful functionalities, including options to edit your business hours, set caller ID, and publish company information into directories. The WebRTC support that RingCentral offers also means that you can access your softphones through a simple button portal.
RingCentral makes configuring your phone system simple, although you might take a little while to find all the options available. While everything is there and ready to access, it's not all front-and-center as it is with 8x8.
What Can They Do? Outstanding Features of RingCentral and 8x8:
As you might expect from two of the world's leading UCaaS providers, both RingCentral and 8x8 come with an extensive list of features. The exact options that you can get from your application will depend on which plan you choose, but 8x8 includes all of it's calling functions in each plan. The difference between the pro and standard package is that the "pro" offers more options for collaboration, video, web conferencing, and team chat.
RingCentral, on the other hand, requires users to sign up for more expensive plans to get the wider share of features. Saying that the standard plan still provides support for 20+ lines, unlimited calling, toll-free minutes, and call log reports. You'll simply need an upgrade if you're looking for advanced options like CRM integrations and HD voice.
Standard features of both options include:
- Web-based admin systems
- Call blocking
- Call waiting
- Call transfer
- Caller ID
- Conferencing bridges
- Call forwarding
- Hold music
8x8 sets itself apart with:
- Call recording in the standard plan
- International calling
- Integration with numerous software solutions
- High-level analytics suite
While RingCentral offers:
- 1,000 toll-free minutes as standard
- Unlimited video meetings and screen sharing
- Integrations with Microsoft, Dropbox, and Google Box
- Exceptional internal communication
- Integration with collaboration features like RingCentral Glip
Call Conferencing and Meeting Rooms
Both 8x8 and RingCentral offer a selection of conferencing features for their customers. However, while the 8x8 conferencing bridge is designed for up to 15 participants, RingCentral can support up to 1000 people at once.
Additionally, while both vendors provide virtual meeting platforms, RingCentral has the option to implement "RingCentral Rooms" hardware into the mix. These enhanced meeting room platforms augment your existing SIP room systems create more immersive and in-depth conferencing experiences.
Call Reporting and Data
In today's data-driven world, both RingCentral and 8x8 also provide detailed analytics and call recording options. You can access your reports through your online management portals with each company. On RingCentral, you'll find reports in its own section on the standard portal, whereas 8x8 has a unique standalone portal for analytics.
Each vendor provides a breakdown of crucial data, like how many calls you've missed, how long agents spend on a call, and more. The two services also offer visual graphs to help you access the data in a more consumable format.
Customer Service: A Service You Can Depend On
When your business relies on the strength of your communication system, it's essential to choose a UCaaS vendor that offers the support you need. After all, even the most potent networks have their issues from time to time. The good news is that both RingCentral and 8x8 provide fantastic customer service and support you can rely on.
Both providers offer multiple ways for users to contact them if you have a problem. Additionally, RingCentral provides 25/7 x 365 support for its premium office plans. With RingCentral, telephone support is available between 8 am and 9 pm EST, with online chat available 24/7. On the other hand, 8x8 takes a more unique approach to customer service. As well as running its knowledge base and offering professional assistance, 8x8 also crowdsources some of their support services, by connecting customers who have problems with other 8x8 clients who may be able to help.
Importantly, RingCentral's customer support is designed so larger companies do get preferential treatment. Support in the US is only available to clients with more than 20 users. On the other hand, 8x8 offers US support to all customers.
Uptime and Reliability Comparison
Just as high-quality customer service is essential to choosing the right UCaaS provider, it's also crucial to make sure that you select a service with the right level of reliability.
When you're running a hosted communication service, you need to make sure that you've got the redundancy strategies in place in your network to keep your company running smoothly if something goes wrong. Usually, this means choosing a vendor that has data centers available in multiple locations. That way, if one center goes down, you can still access your connections by re-routing to the next possible site.
To maintain a 99.9999% uptime, 8x8 communication services feature built-in redundancy with no singular point of failure. By securing their data centers around the globe, and auditing them according to SSAE 16 standards, 8x8 aims to provides its users with the highest quality of automatic failover solutions. Using a mobile or web browser admin portal, you can even remotely reroute communications out of locations that are experiencing weather issues or connections problems, to keep your systems running smoothly.
RingCentral also has a commitment to substantial uptime, with a 99.999% average rating. The distributed networks in the RingCentral infrastructure route calls dynamically, to avoid dropped calls and broken links. At the same time, data centers around the globe help to ensure continuity for all companies during outages. RingCentral also provides smart call routing and consistent monitoring of quality metrics in all of their communication packages.
RingCentral vs. 8x8: Which One is Right for your Company?
Ultimately, both RingCentral and 8x8 are fantastic options for any business considering taking their communication strategies to the cloud. As leaders in the UCaaS world, both 8x8 and RingCentral bring their own unique advantages to the industry, with various plans designed to suit your individual needs.
RingCentral UC is designed for companies who need fully-featured services, including toll-free numbers and support for excess of 250 minutes of conversations per month. RingCentral offers an extensive list of features that make them the one to beat for many providers. On the other hand, 8x8 is perfect for companies who want to access top-of-the-range features, while keeping their wallet happy at the same time.
When to Choose RingCentral
RingCentral offers the perfect UCaaS service for companies who are more worried about functionality than price. RingCentral provides a list of highly impressive features, as well as integrations with some of the world's top providers of file storage and collaboration systems. RingCentral gives you numerous plans to choose from, and if you plan on regularly using the mobile and desktop apps available, then you're sure to appreciate their sleek and simple design. RingCentral shines particularly well in the realm of internal communications, with strong support for collaboration and conferencing. Glip integration is another big bonus for teams who want to access full collaboration services through their UC strategy.
When to Choose 8x8
Alternatively, if you're looking for an opportunity to plug into a broader range of enterprise software platforms, and you want to keep your costs down as much as possible, then 8x8 could be ideal for you. 8x8 offers support to all businesses - no matter their size, and the company also provides contact center level solutions to help you make the most out of your customer communications. 8x8 is ideal for businesses handling higher volumes of inbound calls, with services intended for the mid-market to enterprise-level customer.
Which option appeals most to you? Let us know in the comments, or contact the team today for advice on choosing the perfect UC solution for your cloud communication strategy.