Not too long ago, Vonage was pretty much a household name. But with landlines out of fashion and most of us using our cell phones at home, the company has invested in its Business Cloud Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. And though you have to pay extra for basic features like video conferencing, chat, and file sharing, there are price scales on the number of lines you'll be using, which should appeal to enterprises with legacy phone systems.
This is our all-in-one roundup looking at the Vonage Business Cloud service. On this page, after our brief intro, you’ll find
(a) an overview of the Vonage VoIP service and its key features
(b) a look at some of the platform's integrations
(c) a look at Vonage's various Pricing Plans
You can jump to the review section that interests you most by clicking on the links in the bar at the top of this page, but bear in mind that this article is really designed to be read all the way through, as businesses will benefit from assessing the service in its entirety before deciding if it meets their needs.
Unlike some of the other players in the VoIP market, Vonage Business Cloud requires no annual contract, and even its lowest price tier offers unlimited texting and calling. But if you’re running a small business that needs only one to four lines, the price per month per user is going to be higher than if you run a business with 20 to 99 employees. And younger competitors really can offer more for less money. However, if you want to stick with the tried-and-tested Vonage brand, then the Vonage for Home solution does represent an excellent choice for SMBs.
Firms are left with a decision to make: Although Vonage does have plenty of features (and integrations), and can scale up wonderfully with your business, you’ll have to determine whether you think it represents a good value for your money based on the current size of your business.
Vonage Business Cloud is certainly not a bad option for any business that is looking to invest in a new VoIP solution but with competition in this market so fierce, there are alternatives that are more affordable.
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For the most part, the functionality you get when you sign up for Vonage Business Cloud is par for the course. The difference between it and, say, RingCentral Office , is that RingCentral gives you a lot more at the base level.
Assuming you want just one to four lines, the $19.99 (£16) Vonage Business Cloud Mobile plan is – in Vonage’s own words – great for “any team that doesn’t need desk phones.” It offers unlimited calling and texting, a desktop app, a mobile app, and VonageFlow, or Vonage’s team messaging service.
Altogether, Vonage offers more than 50 voice and unified communication features, including video collaboration with Vonage Meetings and a host of productivity tools, which are accessible through the Vonage App Centre. These features run the gambit of all those you’d expect from a VoIP system - call forwarding, voicemail to email, call logs, and many more.
To improve the customer and employee experience, Vonage also comes with a Call Announce feature that delivers an audible version of a custom tag to the receiver before the call is connected. The feature can be used in conjunction with Call Screening and the Screening Menu, giving you the option to answer the call, send it to voicemail, or transfer it somewhere else. Primarily, it means that your employees can be fully prepared before they pick up their handset. Call recording features, either on-demand or company-wide, also mean that businesses never have to worry about forgetting information from an important call. And a password-protected archive allows this information to be stored for as long as you need it.
The good news is that Vonage Business Cloud comes with all the features that you could ever need from a VoIP system. The bad news is, if you want access to more than just the basic features, you’ll have to pay a premium price for the privilege. The platform does come with documentation and example code to help with the implementation of specific functions, however, which will be welcomed by businesses that want to delve a little deeper into the coding that underpins some of Vonage’s VoIP features.
One of Vonage’s most vaunted characteristics is the way that it allows seamless integration with several third-party applications. By connecting with organizations’ existing CRM tools, Vonage Business Cloud can empower collaboration, boost productivity, and enhance customer experiences - all from one unified platform.
This integration means businesses gain easy accessibility from any browser or device, can sync all call data into their business application’s native reporting dashboards, and can embed UI-level integrations to eliminate toggling between apps.
One of the biggest shifts in workplace collaboration in living memory has been the growth of video conference tools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the home working policies that many firms were forced to adopt. This has meant solutions like Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, and others witnessing a huge rise in popularity.
VoIP solutions that can integrate with some of these video conferencing tools are understandably proving attractive to many businesses - and this is another area where Vonage Business Cloud shines. The platform comes with Microsoft Teams integration, which allows companies to access PBX features with optimized and superior call quality from within the Microsoft Teams interface. Rather than having to switch between platforms, businesses that use Teams can enjoy enterprise-grade collaboration integrated into a single application.
Another noteworthy integration is Vonage for Salesforce. This enables employees to view caller information and Salesforce records simultaneously and create relevant Salesforce activities from within a single interface. Vonage for Salesforce can be accessed either through an embedded Salesforce interface or a web browser. Salesforce integration enables Vonage users to capture data across a multitude of devices, streamline workflows, and gain real-time insight, without any client-side installation required.
Perhaps the biggest negative you can say about Vonage Business Cloud is the price. Although the service can work out to be pretty affordable at the base level, accessing the kinds of integrations mentioned above will cause costs to rise.
With the most basic offering for one to four users, for example, there's no auto-attendant or conferencing options, and if the few features you do get with the Vonage Business Cloud Mobile plan are limited to PCs and smartphones, then RingCentral’s most affordable business option clearly provides better value. Even 8x8 Virtual Office Pro’s $25 (£19.26) per user per month X2 Edition plan is more compelling, despite being a little more expensive, since it comes with a phone line complete with a unique number and extension, an auto-attendant, and internet fax.
Nevertheless, Vonage seems to have set its sights on enterprises that are less concerned with cost and more interested in working with legacy PBX systems based on landlines rather than cloud services. This is where the pricing and features work in Vonage’s favor.
If users increase the number of lines they need to between five and 19, the lowest price for the Vonage Business Cloud becomes a bit more digestible. It’s $17.99 (£14) per month, per line. And if you need between 20 and 99 lines, it’s down to $14.99 (£12) per user per month. Anything more than that in terms of desired lines, and you’ll have to contact the Vonage Business Cloud sales team for bespoke pricing.
Next up is the Vonage Business Cloud package that businesses will more likely find attractive: the Premium Plan. At $29.99 (£25) for one to four lines, its pricing falls between RingCentral’s Standard and Premium subscription packages. Again, adding five to 19 lines brings the price down to $27.99 (£23) whereas 20 to 99 lines will result in a price drop down to $24.99 (£21). However, Vonage Business Cloud Premium’s functionality is frankly more limited than that of the $24.99 (£19) RingCentral Standard package.
While it does have a multi-level auto assistant, video conferencing, chat, file sharing, and some integrations, Vonage Business Cloud Premium is missing internet fax and voicemail-to-email transcription forwarding. That said, CRM integrations don’t kick in with RingCentral (For Business) unless you’re subscribed to the $34.99 (£26.97) Premium plan, which costs more than Vonage Business Cloud’s Premium plan.
As previously discussed, the list of CRM integrations available through Vonage Business Cloud is extensive. In addition to Teams and Salesforce, the company says its business VoIP service integrates with G Suite, Office 365, Clio, Bullhorn, ConnectWise, JobDiva, Netsuite, Microsoft Dynamics, SugarCRM, and Zoho. RingCentral (For Business), meanwhile, only integrates with Salesforce.com, ZenDesk, and Desk.com. 8x8 Virtual Office Pro integrates with Salesforce, ZenDesk, and Netsuite.
Lastly, Vonage Business Cloud, like other VoIP services, has a top-end plan that only certain companies will find appealing. At $39.99 (£32) per user per month with one to four lines, Vonage Business Cloud Advanced is somewhat more enticing if you want five to 19 lines for $37.99 (£30) or 20 to 99 lines for $34.99 (£28). It comes with 15 hours of on-demand call recording, call group, and visual voicemail. Plus, Vonage will set it up for you.
Compared to other cloud-based VoIP services, Vonage Business Cloud under-delivers on a number of fronts for people just kicking off a new business or running one with just a handful of employees. When compared to its competitors, it's difficult to see what could really appeal here to SMBs. Vonage aims its service at enterprises that would like to touch on cloud services while still being reliant on landlines. In that regard, Vonage can deliver and will scale with your business, although it’s likely that its competitors can deliver more.
Despite the negatives, Vonage does offer a lot of features and can obviously cater for its target market. But if you're a new or small business, and you're looking to fully embrace digital transformation when it comes to cloud-based phone systems, you're probably better off looking to more innovative competitors such as RingCentral, Dialpad, or Jive.