The best UCaaS providers make it simple and easy to set up a unified communications system for your office and hybrid working.
In the past unified communications would mean making sure VoIP (opens in new tab) for internal and external calls could be combined into one system, but these days it also means adding other communication options such as chat/instant messaging, email, video conferencing (opens in new tab), and even sometimes social media (opens in new tab) content.
Advances in digital technology means that it is now possible for providers to deliver UCaaS - Unified Communications-as-a-Service - in an accessible and affordable way for all size of business.
While a number of companies are described as providing UCaaS, sometimes this has the practical experience of being more like many applications using a Single Sign On (SSO) (opens in new tab) to give the appearance of a unified platform. For this buying guide, we'll instead focus on those companies that deliver a true UCaaS experience by allowing all communications to be managed via a single application.
Here we'll feature the best UCaaS providers currently available.
RingCentral MVP, formerly known as RingCentral Office, offers a complete unified communications solution that combines HD VoIP, messaging, conferencing, contact center, and fax, in a single application.
What's especially good about RingCentral MVP is its total accessibility and scalability, allowing anywhere from a single user to over a 1,000 employees to sign up for the service, meaning that it can truly serve anything from the smallest business to enterprises.
Different features are available according to different payment plans, but even the most basic Essentials plan offers a comprehensive range, including unlimited calls within the US and Canada, as well as unlimited SMS and MMS, and also mobile apps for use with iOS and Android for mobile use. Other features include visual voicemail, voicemail-to-email, as well as full call management and phone system administration which includes call recording on demand.
All plans also offer integrations with Microsoft, Google, and Box.
Read our full RingCentral MVP review.
Ooma Office is a business phone service with built in UCaaS that aims to deliver a big business phone experience to small businesses.
Ooma might not have all the features found with rival services, but it presents itself as a solution for smaller firms with tighter budgets, and is positioned very well in this respect.
However, don’t get the idea that this is a barebones service offering – in fact Ooma Office gives you all the core features you would expect in a general business phone service, plus some more advanced functions like a virtual receptionist that allows for calls to be automatically directed to the right department.
Subscribers also benefit from hold and transfer music, and Ooma provides mobile apps for iOS and Android, so you can set up capabilities such as call forwarding, enabling calls to be sent from your desk phone to your mobile when you’re out and about. That said, some of the online feedback about the mobile apps isn’t great, so bear that in mind.
Generally speaking, though, Ooma gives you a lot of functionality for a relatively modest outlay, with the exception of CRM integrations.
Read our full Ooma Office review.
The 8x8 eXperience Communications Platform offers cloud communication software that acts as a full UCaaS platform, with even the most basic plan offering a good range of communication channels options and collaboration opportunities. For the security conscious, the service is also compliant with HIPAA and GDPR standards.
The platform is provided in four distinct service tiers, starting with the 8x8 Express option which includes all the basic features you'd expect, such as secure HD audio, call handling, auto-attendant, voicemail, team messaging, video meetings and screen sharing, as well as integrations for Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) and Microsoft 365.
The next pricing tier, X Series X2, adds call recordings and automated transcription, Single Sign On (SSO), as well as unlimited internet fax and additional team features. After that, the X Series plans go through X4, X6, to X8, each tier adding increased functionality that better service enterprise interests, especially in terms of admin and management on top of improved call minutes and country calling options.
Even still, the more basic 8x8 Express does deliver a strong entry-level plan with a comprehensive range of features that could be attractive to small businesses and start-ups, though the higher tiers may not be so price-competitive as alternatives.
Read our full 8x8 review.
GoToConnect represents the merger of LogMeIn's Jive VoIP platform and their GoTo conferencing platform into a single service offering that provides a comprehensive range of features.
This, of course, includes unified communications through the bringing together of VoIP calls and messaging, as well as web, audio and video conferencing, helping to create a complete package.
General features include custom call routing, team-based call distribution, as well as time-based and geolocation routing to ensure that calls are picked up fast. Screen sharing and personal meeting rooms are a standard part of the package, and users can easily join in with a single click rather than wait around or have to generate a PIN.
What's even better is that rather than have differently priced plan levels with an increasing range of unlocked features, GoToConnect has a single pricing system based on the number of users. This could be especially welcome to small and medium-sized businesses who can enjoy all of the same features as an enterprise would, but without having to pay extra for the privilege.
Altogether, GoToConnect advertises itself as a unified communications and collaboration platform, that will surely work well for a lot of business set ups.
Read our full GoToConnect review.
Dialpad offers a feature-rich platform even at the most basic level. The basic Standard tier offers unlimited calling across the US and Canada, as well as international service in 50+ countries. There are also local and toll-free numbers included, as well as unlimited SMS, MMS, and group texting.
Call handing and forward are included as standard, including operator routing, custom hold music, and call summaries available to share.
Group messaging, chat, call history, and analytics are also included in the Standard tier, as well as SSO, integration with Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) and Microsoft 365. Pricing is extremely competitive.
The Pro tier adds real-time call transcriptions, more advanced analytics, as well as integrations with SalesForce, Zendesk, Slack, and Hubspot - among others. An Enterprise version is available, though this requires a custom quote for a bespoke service.
All in all, though, Dialpad really offers value for money, but where it lets itself down is by providing video conferencing as a separate service. While there is a free tier, it's limited to 45 minutes, though it's good to see it bundled with the Talk offering for a full UCaaS experience.
Read our full Dialpad review.
MiCloud Connect is the cloud unified communications platform that aims to provide an all-in-one communications, collaboration and contact center. Delivered through Google Cloud, Mitel Connect aims to provide UCaaS for all SME's.
All of the different plans available offer PBX telephony features, as well as audio conferencing, video collaboration, as well as desktop sharing. Mobile apps are also provided, and instant messaging is covered, too. Integrations include Outlook and Google Workspace, as well as connect telephony for Microsoft.
This forms the basis of the basic Essentials package, available with conferencing limits of up to 8 people. The more expensive Premier plan increases conferencing limits to 25 users, and also adds on-demand call recording, voice transcription, as well as integrations for SalesForce and other CRMs.
The one negative is that rather than bundle everything under MiCloud Connect, the website suggests that the contact center is a separate product that requires a custom quote. While the contact center does necessarily deliver a lot of advanced features, it would be better to see greater service integration to make it more attractive to SME's.
Read our full Mitel MiCloud review.
How we tested the best UCaaS providers
To test for the best UCaaS providers we searched for a range of popular options as well as took recommendations from people we know who run and use a UCaaS software platform. We then tried each service to see how user-friendly each was, as well as determine what range of tools and advanced options were available. Pricing also came into account when determining our best list.
Which UCaaS provider is best for you?
When deciding which of the best UCaaS providers to use, first consider what actual needs you have. For example, someone simply wanting to talk to a handful of people on a casual basis may find a simpler VoIP option is the most cost-effective while providing all of the necessary tools that would be required. However, if you're planning to use your business telecoms for professional or business purposes, especially with a large number of customers and staff, then you will probably want to look to the higher-end UCaaS options for the more advanced tools that are included.