What’s an Enterprise Cloud Communications Platform? [Features, Pricing, & Top Providers]
A question I get asked by many of my prospects is, how do I stay in touch with the customer and prospects of today? I answer that with an enterprise cloud communications platform, you can make staying in contact easy, no matter what mode of communication your market prefers.
Gone are the days of phone and mail being the two channels customers use to communicate with your business. Customers now expect to be able to reach you by phone, email, SMS messaging, social media, and chat.
That’s a lot of avenues to keep up with, and to make things even harder, you need to provide a cohesive experience for your customers across those channels. Your workforce also needs access to data sharing tools, internal communication networks, and cloud-based customer relationship management.
This article offers a helping hand. If you’re still using a patchwork of communications tools, it might be time to implement a cloud communications platform to drive productivity, efficiency, and revenue.
The Importance of an Enterprise Cloud Communications Platform
Enterprise Communications are crucial to a productive and efficient workplace. With remote and hybrid work becoming commonplace, communications vendors are doing everything they can to help your business run streamlined operations. Benefits include:
- Data and information sharing: With real-time access to phone communications, messaging, file sharing, and conferencing from many devices, every team member and customer gets the same experience.
- Customer communications: Your business reputation is at stake whenever you communicate with your customers. Whether they realize it or not, customers make split-second decisions when a call drops, a video conference fails, and they suffer bandwidth issues. They all leave a mark.
- Collaboration: All stakeholders collaborate in real-time. Your team can respond quickly to requests and problem-solve from anywhere through instant messaging and remote access to tools.
- Internal communications: Your team can create connections through various tools with omnichannel communication. A more connected team is a more collaborative team. With all your tools in one place, all relevant team members receive messages as soon as they access the platform.
It can feel like a leap to go from on-premises, legacy systems, and a patchwork of tools to a cloud communications platform, but without making the change, you risk being left behind. You can’t support a hybrid workplace without unified communications, and a cloud communications platform provides everything you need in a single environment.
What is an Enterprise Cloud Communications Platform?
An Enterprise Cloud Communications platform is a unified communications solution made up of flexible tools to address the needs of enterprises.
It’s a solution that integrates phone calls, meetings, and messaging. The best cloud communications platforms seamlessly combine your communications tools and make them accessible from any device, anytime, and anywhere.
But the benefits don’t stop there. Also factor in robust analytics that power performance, improved customer service, and CRM integrations. Lastly, free up your IT team from managing upgrades and maintenance so they can focus on more critical tasks.
The best cloud communications platforms are built for the way we work in the “new normal” world of remote and hybrid work.
What Features Does an Enterprise Cloud Communications Platform Offer?
There are certain features to look out for when choosing a cloud communications provider. Some are basic features that every provider should offer, and others are representative of high-quality service.
- Comprehensive communications channels for a truly connected team and happy customers.
- Collaboration with team members – especially in remote/hybrid situations.
- Scalability – scales to your needs in real-time. As your team grows, the platform should scale easily to accommodate added users and functionality.
- High redundancy and uptime, so you never miss a beat. You need to know how your provider will handle a server going down. Do they have redundancy and business continuity measures in place?
- Robust data security measures like DDoS protection are paramount to help secure your data.
- High-quality equals better service. Cloud communications are affected by internet speed and download speeds. Does your provider offer high-quality services?
- Scalable costs–low setup and monthly fees, plus a customized package to suit your needs.
How Much Does an Enterprise Cloud Communications Platform Cost?
It’s a tricky question. Costs depend on the packages you choose and which provider you go with.
It’s best to ask as many questions as possible and cover every base. For example, will you want to scale? Will you need to extend capabilities with add-ons?
What are the upfront costs? Are there any? Will that affect your decision? You have to factor in every possibility. Customized plans are your best bet. You want to make sure you have the right payment option available (pay as you go or a yearly fee?), and you need to know how easy it is to upgrade.
Top 5 Enterprise Cloud Communications Platform Providers
Overview: 8x8 is a provider of Voice over IP (VoIP) products, including cloud-based voice, contact center, video, mobile and unified communications for businesses. Seen as a leader in cloud communications, they work with huge brands worldwide, such as McDonald’s.
Through its proprietary eXperience Communications Platform, 8x8 empowers enterprises with communications tools hosted on one cloud-native platform.
Pricing: Pricing starts at $15 per user per month for the express service. It includes basic capabilities, but if you want advanced call handling, quality reporting, and analytics, you’ll pay $44 per user per month.
Best Solution For: It’s a solid choice for small and mid-sized businesses, but with global reach, it’s also a good choice for companies and brands with global aspirations.
Overview: RingCentral has only recently evolved beyond a basic VoIP provider into a solid message, video, and phone provider. Their RingCentral VIP platform promises a seamless solution that combines messaging, video conferencing, and phone calls into one unified platform.
With the option to customize its platform with add-ons, RingCentral provides teams with more ways to connect. To build a communications ecosystem, you can build workflows using APIs and integrate Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, and other products.
Pricing: The essentials plan will set you back $19.99 per user per month. Standard and premium plans cost $27.99 and $34.99, respectively, and the ultimate plan is $49.99 per user per month. If you decide to pay annually, you can save up to 33%.
Best Solution For: RingCentral is best for mid-sized businesses with hybrid and remote teams.
Overview: Nextiva is a cloud-hosted phone service with voice, video, and chat tools. With the ability to connect your phone system with business apps, AI, and automation on a single platform, you have all the tools you need to run your business.
With a customized plan, you can use features together or separately. Features include talking to anyone through phone, text, video, email, and instant messaging, built-in tools to drive better relationships with customers high-quality conferencing software. Built-in automation also makes it easy to simplify communications.
Pricing: Essential plans start at $18.95 per user per month. Professional plans are $22.95 per user per month and include integrations with popular CRMs. Enterprise plans are $32.95 per user per month and include custom integrations.
Best Solution For: Nextiva is best for multisite retail and healthcare because of its dedication to privacy, security, and customer service capabilities.
Overview: Mitel works across various industries and provides business phone services that fit your needs. There are flexible plans, hosting options, and features and tools. For example, you can host the system in the cloud, on-premises, or a mixture of both.
Part of the appeal of Mitel is that it offers systems for all businesses. It integrates with various CRMs, and you can add features and tools to your current plan as you wish, something not many providers offer. They also boast 70 million users in 100 countries around the world.
Pricing: The essentials plan costs $20.99 per user per month and includes PBX features and collaboration tools. The premier plan is $26 per user per month and includes CRM integration and call recording. Finally, the elite plan starts at $38.99 per user per month and also includes dedicated operating services/
Best Solution For: Mitel has something to offer whether you’re a growing non-profit or an established multinational corporation.
5. Atlantech Online
Overview: Atlantech Online is in the business of simplifying communications. Although we are a nationwide UCaaS provider, we’re different from Big Telecom and other providers that provide a similar service. We’ve been delivering UCaaS since 2005 before it even had a name.
We started with Hosted Voice services, and we’ve been expanding the offering ever since. You’ll get a strong network and refined service, and features include PBX, SIP trunking, instant messaging, desktop and file sharing, and video conferencing. You’ll also get CRM integration and web-based fax. You can customize your package to suit your business needs.
The Right Enterprise Cloud Communications Platform for Your Business
As you can see, many Enterprise Cloud Communications platform providers offer similar features and the same benefits for comparable prices. So what sets any of them apart?
At Atlantech, we think a custom solution is key to a successful partnership. You shouldn’t have to pay for features you won’t use. We also believe customer support is paramount. That’s why we offer 24/7 support to our customers. Quality service beats network size.
Before you decide on a vendor, go into any call or meeting with the right questions to ensure you get precisely what you pay for. And we know the right questions you should ask. Check out our free guide below and be confident in your choice.