Our Top Picks

3CX
3CX
  • On-premise Windows, Linux, and cloud deployment
  • Live chat on your website and integration with Facebook messages
  • Videoconferencing and call center options
3CX describes its service as a reinvented PBX or private branch exchange. It’s available as an on-premise or cloud-based system, and you can choose to host or have 3CX do it for you. This feature ties in with the company’s aim to make the system hassle-free with minimal management time required.

One way 3CX aims to stand out among the best unified communications software providers is to make its services available in-browser, which means apps and accounts aren’t required for videoconferencing. All of the editions offer unlimited users, and it can be accessed on mobile devices and web browsers.

Features include:

  • Choice of your own hardware & SIP trunks
  • Control of phone numbers
  • Management interface
  • Automatic updates and upgrades
  • Android and iOS apps
  • Browser-based videoconferencing
  • IVR and call queues
  • Integration with CRM applications
  • Website customer service chat
  • Call reporting
  • Screen sharing
  • Chat and polls function
  • Integrates with Facebook messages
  • Business SMS
Additionally, the 3CX platform means you can move from chat to a voice or video call within the same application. The centralized communication system is cost-effective but also cuts down training time for systems. You can assign calls, chats, or messages to specific groups automatically. There are built-in reports to review agent performance and the option to record calls for quality monitoring purposes.

Pros & Cons

3CX has a one-year free trial as well as a free standard plan, which will help you to get an understanding of the platform. The software is feature-rich, including call center options, videoconferencing with screen sharing, and live chat. It also provides integration options for Office 365 and CRM systems like Salesforce.

Unfortunately, those aren’t available to Standard customers. There are limits on the conference participants: 25 for Standard, 100 for Pro, and 250 for Enterprise.

Pros

  • One-year free trial
  • Scalable to business size without hidden costs
  • Call recording and logging

Cons

  • Licensing is based on simultaneous calls
  • Integration not available on the standard plan

What Customers Are Saying

For some customers that have tried many PBX options, 3CX is one of the best unified communications software programs available. Users state that “reception and IVR handling have been extremely easy” and that “the logging system allows me to keep track of activity with my teams.” The platform’s mobile features are popular, with one customer stating how useful it is to “have my work phone with me not to miss a call when not at my desk.”

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • Offers Free version
    • $1.08/user/mo Pro
    • $1.31/user/mo Enterprise
  • Live Chat
    Yes
  • Voicemail
    Yes
  • Audio/Video Conferencing
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reporting
    Yes
Features
  • On-premise Windows, Linux, and cloud deployment
  • Live chat on your website and integration with Facebook messages
  • Videoconferencing and call center options
Accession-Communicator
Accession Communicator
  • Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android deployment
  • HD video calling and conferencing
  • Uses the native dialer, not an app
Accession Communicator and the companion app MaX by Metaswitch is a platform that provides unified communications and collaboration. It has white-label branding options and works with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. It covers HD video calling and conferencing, contact management, and messaging.

Instead of a UC app, your user interface will operate through a native dialer. Collaboration is possible through presentation and screen sharing options, and call recording is available. The PBX feature means calls can be routed to different departments and include information about the callers from CRM integration.

Features include:

  • Uses native dialer
  • Incoming call overlay with caller information
  • Access to other UC features while on a call
  • Transfer calls to mobile or desktop
  • File sharing
  • Business messaging
  • Meeting and videoconference function
The platform allows for multiple identities, which means you can keep your work and personal calls separate on your mobile. Screen sharing and video calls are accessible from a standard voice call through the native dialer on your mobile.

Pros & Cons

You’ll need to hand over your details and have a consultation to find out what MaX can provide and how much it will cost, and there isn’t a free trial. However, what we do know is that this works well from your mobile, as you can answer calls in the normal way without launching a secondary application.

There are options to reroute calls when departments are busy, so you won’t miss important client calls. Plus, the CRM integration means you can bring up the caller information on your screen before accepting anything incoming.

Pros

  • Answer calls using phone’s native dialer
  • Automatic transfer to another department when the line is busy
  • Caller information from CRM integration

Cons

  • Pricing and full features only available on request
  • No free trial

What Customers Are Saying

Customers are impressed by the features, saying, “Chat and presence show up across all devices, and I can change to laptop mid-chat.” Users also enjoy the simplicity of the system, saying, “It’s very straightforward and easy to use. It alerts you when there are updates needed.”

Summary

Accession-Communicator
Accession Communicator
  • Starting Price
    • Quote Based
  • Live Chat
    Yes
  • Voicemail
    Yes
  • Audio/Video Conferencing
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reporting
    Yes
Features
  • Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android deployment
  • HD video calling and conferencing
  • Uses the native dialer, not an app
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise
  • Comes with hardware or works with third-party connectors
  • Call logging and visual voicemail interface
  • Outlook and Google Calendar integration
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise offers several different UC platforms depending on the size and needs of your business. SMBs will be interested in the OXO Connect platform, which is the core of its services. It works for five to 300 users and connects to the Rainbow cloud service. That provides audioconferencing and videoconferencing with up to 120 participants.

The platform integrates with Outlook for events and calendar invites, which means you won’t need to switch programs to set up meetings. The chat options are accessible from the same screen, and other time-saving features include call transcripts and intelligent routing.

Features include:

  • File and screen sharing
  • Audioconferencing and videoconferencing
  • Transcription service
  • Outlook integration
  • Meeting timekeeper
  • Intelligent call routing
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise provides hybrid solutions, including hardware and software, for unified communications. However, the Rainbow tool also works with third-party connectors.

Pros & Cons

The Rainbow tool’s integrations are what earns it a place on our best unified communications software list. There’s a click-to-call connector in Google Chrome, as well as the calendar information from Outlook for arranging meetings.

It also provides file sharing storage of 1 GB on basic plans, moving up to 20 GB for Enterprise users. You’ll need to discuss your business’s size and needs to find out about pricing, though. Conferences are capped at 120 participants on the most comprehensive plan.

Pros

  • Integrates with Outlook
  • File sharing plus storage
  • Options for different business sizes

Cons

  • No prices for plans
  • Maximum of 120 conference participants

What Customers Are Saying

Users enjoy using the services from Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, with one stating, “The app is intuitive and user-friendly with great audio/video quality and fantastic conferencing options.” When discussing the integration, another reviewer writes, “It has a lot of third party integration and interfacing facilities.”

Summary

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise
  • Starting Price
    • Quote Based
  • Live Chat
    No
  • Voicemail
    Yes
  • Audio/Video Conferencing
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reporting
    Yes
Features
  • Comes with hardware or works with third-party connectors
  • Call logging and visual voicemail interface
  • Outlook and Google Calendar integration
Avaya Logo
Avaya Aura Platform
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Automated routing
  • Several third-party integrations
Avaya is used by top brands in several different industries and has developed its solutions to meet the needs of enterprises in a simple way. This platform is browser-based and includes several components. The Session Manager allows for multimedia communications as well as user management using Avaya or third-party systems.

The Communication Manager builds on that to deliver services, such as customer contact, videoconferencing, messaging, and an auto-attendant feature. There’s also a presence service showing the activity and availability of users and allowing multimedia messaging. There are only two licensing levels, but you get most of the services included in the standard one.

The platform also includes:

  • Voice and videoconferencing
  • Multimedia messaging
  • Dial plan management
  • Performance monitoring
  • Interface to connect to external applications
  • At-a-glance information for mobile users
  • Calendar integration
Avaya Aura also gives you control over messaging, voicemail, and fax in the same format. Files can be shared through messaging. The platform supports several IaaS providers such as Amazon Web Services, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.

Pros & Cons

There are only two price plans for this platform, which doesn’t suggest scalability for medium-sized companies. However, many of the fantastic features like call monitoring, integrations, and reports are available on the standard plan.

Pros

  • Useful tools for call monitoring
  • Detailed reports
  • Many integration options

Cons

  • Only two price plans

What Customers Are Saying

According to Avaya users, the platform is “very customizable; if you can think it up, you can configure it to do what you need” and liked the fact that they “can reach my desktop phone number from everywhere.” It’s also popular for call center operators, with several commenting that “you can measure or keep track of time very well with this program” and that it’s easy to “monitor call queues, from the number of calls on hold to the time each call lasts.”

Summary

Avaya Logo
Avaya Aura Platform
  • Starting Price
    • Essential: $0
    • Business: $4.25/user/month
    • Power: $12.50/user/month
  • Live Chat
    Yes
  • Voicemail
    Yes
  • Audio/Video Conferencing
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reporting
    Yes
Features
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Automated routing
  • Several third-party integrations
Brosix
Brosix Instant Messenger
  • Broadcast message option
  • Audio, video calls, and chat room
  • Website live chat
This unified communications software is designed to connect remote employees. The emphasis is on team collaboration with tools like instant messaging, screen sharing, and co-browsing. Mobile features for communication on the go are available to Application and Enterprise customers.

You’ll find this is more than an instant messaging application. It provides audio and video calls, chat rooms, and the option to send broadcast messages. For management, there are user activity logs and a web control panel. Spell check is a real-time feature for chat in several languages, and other small details like tabbed chat and user status visibility make this efficient and user-friendly.

Features include:

  • Chat rooms for groups
  • Instant messaging
  • Audio and video calls
  • Integration with existing directory
  • Live chat for websites
  • File and screen sharing
  • Control panel for management
Brosix Instant Messenger also focuses on security, which means you can expect antivirus scans, security for sensitive data access, and the option to have several administrators to manage the network.

Pros & Cons

One of the reasons this product makes our best unified communications software list is how simple but effective the platform is. It’s an excellent choice for internal collaboration. However, the lack of integration options is a downside.

Pros

  • Ideal for communication between employees
  • Secure messaging with management control panel
  • Easy install with little maintenance

Cons

  • No CRM or calendar integrations

What Customers Are Saying

Companies of all kinds are using Brosix Instant Messaging for their team communications; they say, “The full end-to-end encryption on all communication channels means that it’s amazingly secure.” One user in financial services writes, “In this industry, it’s important to be able to communicate with your team members quickly, even in other states, and get a quick response, and Brosix allows us to do that.”

Summary

Brosix
Brosix Instant Messenger
  • Starting Price
    • Offers Free Version
    • $4/user/month for Business
    • $6/user/month for Premium
  • Live Chat
    Yes
  • Voicemail
    No
  • Audio/Video Conferencing
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reporting
    Yes
Features
  • Broadcast message option
  • Audio, video calls, and chat room
  • Website live chat
Business-VoiceEdge
Business VoiceEdge
  • Audioconferencing with moderator tools
  • Integration with Chrome
  • Virtual receptionist and call routing
This software is a cloud-based virtual PBX that’s packed full of features. Comcast’s Business VoiceEdge aims to help companies cut costs and improve collaboration. The platform and its features integrate with Google Chrome, so you can reach it all from one handy place on your desktop.

In addition to the softphone, you have options like screen sharing and readable voicemail. The web portal will help you manage calls, while the desktop app provides a one-stop shop for audioconferencing and calls that have a virtual receptionist.

Features include:

  • Readable voicemail
  • Call forwarding and hold music
  • Busy status
  • Voice mobility desktop or mobile
  • Chrome integration
  • Dedicated VoIP network
  • Audioconferencing
There are custom routing options for specific hours and times of the year, such as holidays. Business VoiceEdge also provides add-ons so that businesses can customize their package. They include call queue agents, a receptionist console, and additional voicemails.

Pros & Cons

This software covers call management well with the Chrome integration, voicemail to email feature, and remote office options for the softphone. The option to see who’s busy and to take colleagues’ calls means you won’t miss when a critical client phones. However, audioconferencing is limited to 50 participants ,and videoconferencing isn’t featured.

Pros

  • Chrome integration
  • Custom routing options
  • Readable voicemail

Cons

  • Focus is on voice calls
  • Conferencing capped at 50 participants

What Customers Are Saying

Many users are happy with the customization from a browser, writing, “This internet phone system is super easy to use and has a lot of great features that are all customize-able through a web browser. You can set up and change hunt groups with the simple click of a button.” Another user indicated that it’s an excellent starting point, saying, “For a small to mid business that isn’t ready for a full-on PBX, VoiceEdge is a decent option allowing a good amount of flexibility and control over calls, numbers, devices and team members.”

Summary

Business-VoiceEdge
Business VoiceEdge
  • Starting Price
    • starts at $29.95 per month
  • Live Chat
    No
  • Voicemail
    Yes
  • Audio/Video Conferencing
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reporting
    Yes
Features
  • Audioconferencing with moderator tools
  • Integration with Chrome
  • Virtual receptionist and call routing
Crises Control
Crises Control
  • Multichannel notifications
  • Audioconferencing
  • Incident dashboard to track users, communications, and incidents
As you can tell from the name, Crises Control takes a specific approach to communication, looking at how companies respond to incidents. You can send messages to many users on different platforms, including phone, email, SMS, and other bespoke channels. There are options to automate, too, with communication plans based on different scenarios involving specific employees and locations.

Communication in the time of a crisis is key, which is why conference calls are a part of the software. There are also real-time dashboards and maps to give oversight of users, tasks, communications, and incidents. Your company can integrate its existing records management system for any data related to the crisis.

Features include:

  • Record keeping and audit trail for post-event analysis
  • SOS alerts and status updates
  • Operational status dashboard
  • Audioconferencing
  • Mass notifications
  • Predefined communications plans
Crises Control provides the platform to automate incident management plans. Notifications can be sent out in many languages, and support is available 24/7, as a crisis can happen at any time.

Pros & Cons

When it comes to risk management, an effective communication system and 24/7 support from the provider are vital. Those are two strong points for Crises Control, which offers a demo and free trial of this software. It’s ideal for incident management but doesn’t contain the tools for disaster recovery or investigation management. However, the record-keeping option will mean there’s an audit trail of how an event was handled.

Pros

  • Integration with records and post-event analysis
  • 24/7 support
  • Mass notification on multiple channels

Cons

  • Pricing plans not available

What Customers Are Saying

Since this software is designed for a specific purpose, it’s useful to see what customers think. One writes, “Although this product is primarily designed for [emergency] related comms, it actually has multiple uses. I have found that it is extremely useful for business communications in general and also distributing relevant information as mass communication and also team-specific.” With regard to responsiveness, another user states, “What I loved most about the software was the response time as well as the ease of use.”

Summary

Crises Control
Crises Control
  • Starting Price
    • £2/user/year
  • Live Chat
    No
  • Voicemail
    No
  • Audio/Video Conferencing
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reporting
    Yes
Features
  • Multichannel notifications
  • Audioconferencing
  • Incident dashboard to track users, communications, and incidents
Mitel-MiCloud-Connect
Mitel MiCloud Connect
  • Integration with popular CRM
  • Audioconferencing and videoconferencing
  • Instant messaging and team workspaces
While some of the best unified communications software systems specialize, others provide an all-in-one solution. MiCloud Connect is one of those, a cloud-based collaboration service that also works as a contact center. You can use the PBX system to work from anywhere without compromising on function. It’s available on Mac, PC, Android, and iOS.

The main features include audioconferencing and videoconferencing as well as individual and group chats. However, there are also added extras like a built-in VPN and team workspaces. It can integrate with leading CRMs and calendars and is optimized for mobile use.

Features include:

  • Integrations with services like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics
  • Phones, applications, and network operation handled by MiCloud Connect
  • VoIP phone services
  • Instant messaging
  • Audioconferencing and videoconferencing
  • Team workspaces
  • VPN
If you’re making the transition to a cloud-based PBX system, Mitel MiCloud Connect provides on-demand support and training. The team gets you set up and is available through a help button for ongoing troubleshooting.

Pros & Cons

Mitel MiCloud can walk you through the transition from your POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) to the cloud-based VoIP system. It’s designed for businesses of different sizes and covers many aspects, from VPN to voicemail to email, while all of it is easy to manage. There isn’t a free trial of the platform, however, and licensing is at the steeper end of the price scale.

Pros

  • Integration with Salesforce and other productivity and CRM apps
  • Covers hosting, equipment, and network operations for a comprehensive solution
  • Useful call control settings

Cons

  • No free trial
  • Costly licensing plans

What Customers Are Saying

Customers are impressed with the ease of use, one writing, “The management is drop-dead simple. The documentation is all hot-linked to the part of the management interface you are using right then. The user client is easy to use and looks great.” Another user praises the routing options, saying, “It is easy to call people via the PC, conference, and transfer calls. It also displays extensions, if people are already on calls, etc., which is very helpful when trying to route customers to an available rep.”

Summary

Mitel-MiCloud-Connect
Mitel MiCloud Connect
  • Starting Price
    • starts at $19.99/user/month for the Essentials plan
  • Live Chat
    Yes
  • Voicemail
    Yes
  • Audio/Video Conferencing
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reporting
    Yes
Features
  • Integration with popular CRM
  • Audioconferencing and videoconferencing
  • Instant messaging and team workspaces
Orion-Voice-Platform
Orion Voice Platform
  • Location mapping
  • Web dispatch
  • Voice automation
Orion Voice Platform combines AI workflows with voice command to provide one of the best unified communications software options. The focus is on team communication, especially for companies with workers who aren’t based at desks. The main components are the push-to-talk app and hands-free devices that allow colleagues to connect over Wi-Fi or carrier data just by having their phone near them.

As well as audio calls, chat, and mass notifications, it provides contact and task management and file sharing. You’ll find instant language translation, automated standard operating procedure, and the ability to customize workflow, such as checklists, which can be completed using voice-powered automation.

Features include:

  • Push-to-talk and voice-powered features
  • Audio calling
  • Mass notifications
  • Instant translation
  • Automated workflows
  • Chat
  • GPS tracking
  • Dispatch console
  • Daily reports
Orion Voice Platform works for a range of industries, particularly those that have multiple locations or employees who are often on the move. They could be hotels or transports and logistics, as the voice-powered aspect lets you continue to work with your hands while you communicate.

Pros & Cons

Orion Voice Platform stands out from the crowd by offering solutions for workers who don’t have a lot of equipment at a desk, just a cell phone. Users on the move can benefit from the dispatch panel and GPS tracking, and those working with their hands can make the most of voice activation. Unfortunately, the types of plans and their costs are unknown until you take the next step with this company.

Pros

  • Accurate GPS and dispatch panel
  • Voice-activated automation
  • Emergency alerts for mass notification

Cons

  • Pricing and full features only available on request

What Customers Are Saying

When it comes to reliability, users in disaster management have positive comments, stating, “For us, it’s incredibly important to have simple and reliable communication tools as we work to provide relief to people who need it most. Orion is an excellent solution that’s greatly improved the way we communicate across teams and distances.” Another writes, “I like that it works off of a cell phone, which you would have near you anyway, so there are no bulky devices or wires attached to your clothing.”

Summary

Orion-Voice-Platform
Orion Voice Platform
  • Starting Price
    • Quote Based
  • Live Chat
    No
  • Voicemail
    No
  • Audio/Video Conferencing
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reporting
    Yes
Features
  • Location mapping
  • Web dispatch
  • Voice automation
Phone
Phone.com
  • VoIP from mobile, physical phone, or softphone
  • Web-based administration
  • Automated attendants
If you’re looking for a VoIP work-from-anywhere solution, then Phone.com offers the six main pillars of UC. Through voice, video, conferencing, text, fax, and collaboration, users can turn their existing devices into powerful communications tools. It works through physical phones, mobile devices, and softphones and provides call management features.

The administration panel is web-based, allowing you to make changes to the system without being a telecommunications expert. It works well for internal and external contact as it has automated attendants and greetings, as well as voicemail to email and conference calls.

Features include:

  • Text messaging
  • Voicemail to email
  • Transcriptions
  • Videoconferencing and audioconferencing
  • Call queues
  • Fax
  • Administration panel
  • Video meeting service
As with many UC VoIP or PBX systems, the advantage is not having to give out your personal number for work purposes but still being able to take business calls on your cell phone wherever you are. However, options like “do not disturb” and call logs can help you manage your work.

Pros & Cons

For small companies looking to make their phone systems streamlined, Phone.com is budget-friendly and provides several useful features. The greetings, call routing, automated attendant, and call logs all make it easier to manage incoming communications and your workload in general. However, the live chat option for websites isn’t listed among the features, and you can’t integrate with CRM software to get caller information.

Pros

  • Multiple call routing options
  • Audioconferencing and videoconferencing
  • Automated attendant and call logs

Cons

  • No live chat for websites
  • Limited reporting and no integration with browser or CRM

What Customers Are Saying

Phone.com users are enthusiastic about call management, with one writing, “It’s very easy to switch back and forth from sending calls directly to my desk to forwarding them to my cellphone when I’m working from home.” Another user was pleased with the price and practice, saying they liked that “it was very affordable and that it was HIPAA compliant.”

Summary

Phone
Phone.com
  • Starting Price
    • Basic user: $12.99/user/month
    • Plus user: $19.99/user/month
    • Pro user: $29.99/user/month
  • Live Chat
    No
  • Voicemail
    Yes
  • Audio/Video Conferencing
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reporting
    Yes
Features
  • VoIP from mobile, physical phone, or softphone
  • Web-based administration
  • Automated attendants
RingCentral-Office
RingCentral Office
  • Audioconferencing and videoconferencing
  • Call routing and contact management
  • Task management and file sharing
Like many of the best unified communications software companies, RingCentral Office also focuses on collaboration. It has team messaging, task management, and file sharing to help colleagues work together even when they aren’t in the same office.

It’s known for its HD audio and video connections, which can be used one-on-one or for conferencing. There’s also a call management aspect with call routing, and everything is secured by end-to-end encryption. The admin portal allows you to manage users, see reports and analytics, and track usage. Hardware is also available, including headsets and conferencing phones.

Features include:

  • Built-in encryption
  • Integrates with Google, Office 365, and others
  • Audioconferencing and videoconferencing
  • Team messaging and task management
  • Call routing
  • Admin portal with analytics
Additionally, RingCentral Office integrates with hundreds of apps, including calendars like Outlook and Google as well as productivity apps such as Trello and CRM systems like Salesforce and Zapier.

Pros & Cons

You can test RingCentral Office free for 15 days before choosing a paid plan. It’s a comprehensive UC package that covers conferencing and messaging and provides analytics. The highlight is the hundreds of possible integrations with third-party software. While RingCentral office is a master of traditional UC features, it doesn’t offer useful extras like live chat for your website.

Pros

  • 15-day free trial
  • Hundreds of integration options
  • Call routing and recording

Cons

  • The focus is on calls, so no live chat for your website

What Customers Are Saying

For a program to be among the best unified communications software platforms available, it needs to be easy to set up, and RingCentral users have found that’s the case. One says RingCentral Office is “so easy to install and amazingly easy to use.” Another common topic of feedback is flexibility. One reviewer writes, “We have always been able to set up any menu tree, any re-routing option, any special hours of operation we wanted to, in order to suit our occasional business quirks.”

Summary

RingCentral-Office
RingCentral Office
  • Starting Price
    • starts at $250/year
  • Live Chat
    Yes
  • Voicemail
    Yes
  • Audio/Video Conferencing
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reporting
    Yes
Features
  • Audioconferencing and videoconferencing
  • Call routing and contact management
  • Task management and file sharing
Slack
Slack
  • Customizable channels and workspaces
  • Integration with over 2,000 apps
  • Secure chat, voice, and video calls
Slack boasts over 750,000 companies using its platform for work, including some big brand names, which shows how this software can fit the needs of different industries. It’s not just versatility that makes it one of the best unified communications software providers available on the market; it has an option to try for free and is packed full of features.

The main elements of the system are the channels, which can be used to organize different team and topic chats and files. This platform works for internal communications and external collaboration with companies and clients. Alongside that, there’s a direct messaging option and voice and video calls.

Features include:

  • Workflow automation
  • Voice and video calling
  • Team chat
  • Instant messaging
  • Integrations with Google Drive, Office 365, and many others
  • File sharing
  • Search option
  • Encryption
Slack is scalable as it has regular plans that are ideal for start-ups and small businesses, as well as an enterprise level with enhanced data protection controls.

Pros & Cons

Slack has a free plan and a free trial, so it’s possible to see if the platform is the right fit for your company. One of the best features of this software is the number of integration options with commonly used apps like Office 365, Dropbox, Salesforce, Asana, and HubSpot.

Although you can use Slack for internal conversations and communications with clients and contractors, it doesn’t provide a live chat service for your website. Another downside is that it doesn’t have an option for voicemail.

Pros

  • Task management and collaboration
  • Automated workflows
  • Free trial

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer voicemail
  • Doesn’t provide live chat for website

What Customers Are Saying

Users are impressed by the simplicity of Slack, saying, “It is extremely easy to use; there are many bots and tools to customize your workspace.” Another says, “It’s as simple as you would expect an instant messenger app to be, but it has so many more features that are just as easy to use!” Many users are impressed by the integration options, writing “Integrations with almost all other Saas providers allows users to do almost all actions within the Slack.”

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • Offers Free version
    • $6.67/mo for Standard
    • $12.50/mo for Plus
  • Live Chat
    Yes
  • Voicemail
    No
  • Audio/Video Conferencing
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reporting
    Yes
Features
  • Customizable channels and workspaces
  • Integration with over 2,000 apps
  • Secure chat, voice, and video calls
VirtualPBX
VirtualPBX
  • Integrates with CRM and Webhooks
  • Videoconferencing
  • API access
This platform made it into our best unified communications software list because of the scalability it offers. There are plans to suit small companies that want to manage call forwarding when working from home. At the other end of the spectrum, VirtualPBX can be used by larger enterprises for a call center approach.

The software provides voice, video, and SMS communication. This feature includes options for videoconferencing, call forwarding, and a follow-me function that allows you to pick up your extension from several devices.

Features include:

  • Audio and video calls
  • Call recording
  • Auto-attendant
  • Voicemail
  • Real-time monitoring
For the call center element, there’s a queue function, voicemail, do not disturb, and customized greetings. VirtualPBX provides API access and Salesforce CRM integration too.

Pros & Cons

Before you commit to a VirtualPBX plan, there’s the option of a free trial, which is a great way to see if it’s a good fit for your business. That’s especially significant as the price for the Essentials plan is considerable. However, whatever the size of your company, you’ll find there is an option to suit you, and the calling options work well for individuals and contact centers.

Pros

  • Scalable for call centers and small business communications
  • Follow-me and call forwarding option

Cons

  • High price point for the entry-level plan

What Customers Are Saying

Users are impressed with how the platform has improved their business, saying, “Being able to sort through calls and direct calls to different employees on the weekends have allowed us to capture more work and grow our moving business.” When it comes to setup and support, one client writes, “They made it incredibly easy to build out a Virtual Receptionist, build multiple custom mailboxes, and forward voicemail emails.”

Summary

VirtualPBX
VirtualPBX
  • Starting Price
    • Unlimited Minutes
    • Flex: $14.99/user/month
    • Essentials: $19.99/user/month
    • Advanced: $24.99/user/month
    • Enterprise: $14.99/user/month
    • Unlimited Users
    • 300: $29.99/month
    • 500: $39.99/month
    • 1000: $49.99/month
  • Live Chat
    No
  • Voicemail
    Yes
  • Audio/Video Conferencing
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reporting
    Yes
Features
  • Integrates with CRM and Webhooks
  • Videoconferencing
  • API access
Vonage
Vonage
  • Call tagging
  • Management dashboard
  • Integration with CRM
Vonage knows that to be one of the best unified communications software, it’s necessary to offer a flexible cloud-based platform. The focus is on improving productivity and providing an elevated quality of service.

You can transfer calls from your mobile to desk and back again. Other tools that complete this platform include a follow-me feature, call forwarding, paperless fax, and voicemail to email. There are several options to improve collaboration, such as team messaging, video conferencing, and a dashboard for real-time status updates, software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) service via SmartWAN, programmable capabilities via the Smart Numbers solution, and seamless integration with today's leading customer relationship management (CRM) and productivity tools.

Features include:

  • Virtual voicemail
  • Business short message service (SMS)
  • Call monitoring and logging
  • Do not disturb
  • Call queues and recording
The advantages of this platform include an admin portal, a local phone number, and a virtual receptionist, all of which help businesses of any size add a professional touch to their operations and make life easier.

Pros & Cons

Vonage has a try before you buy option, so the free trial will let you know if it meets your UC requirements. There are customizable workflows and options like call tagging, monitoring, and forwarding to help you with management. However, conferencing is capped at 30 participants.

Pros

  • Multiple call management options
  • Customizable workflows
  • Free trial

Cons

  • Conferencing capped at 30 participants

What Customers Are Saying

Businesses large and small praise the features, saying “The desktop app makes it easy to make calls (even international ones) from anywhere.” and “features like SimulRing, Three-Way Calling, Voicemail, and Call Forwarding are very elite and helpful.”

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • $19.99/mo for Mobile
    • $29.99/mo for Premium
    • $39.99/mo for Advanced
  • Live Chat
    Yes
  • Voicemail
    Yes
  • Audio/Video Conferencing
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reporting
    Yes
Features
  • Call tagging
  • Management dashboard
  • Integration with CRM
Windstream-OfficeSuite
Windstream OfficeSuite
  • Integrations with Office 365, Google, and more
  • Meetings with up to 500 participants
  • Call monitoring and recording
This 100% cloud-based solution is a suite of collaboration and voice tools that are scalable and customizable. There are plenty of integration options, including the Google G Suite, Skype for Business, and Salesforce.

With over 300,000 users, the platform focuses on secure access anywhere from any device. You can forward calls, use team chat, set up call routing, and host videoconferences. Management and tracking are available through the Windstream Enterprise Connect portal.

Features include:

  • Voicemail to email
  • Auto attendants
  • Intercom
  • Hunt groups
  • Audio and video call and meeting recording
From the portal, you can launch video calls and listen to voicemail, as well as send instant messages. This dashboard also lets you see the availability of colleagues, add users, and make changes to systems.

Pros & Cons

It’s difficult to know whether this platform offers flexibility for different business sizes as the plans aren’t published. However, the 90-day free trial is an excellent opportunity to try out Windstream OfficeSuite. It won’t give you a live chat service for your website, but you can take advantage of business intelligence tools to improve the way you work.

Pros

  • Free trial
  • Business intelligence tools
  • Multiple call management options

Cons

  • No live chat service for website
  • Pricing plans not advertised

What Customers Are Saying

Customer reviews of this software are enthusiastic about the functionality. One writes, “The app not only allows you to take calls from home, you can also monitor usage at the office from home, listen to recorded calls, alter voicemail and extension settings, and so much more.” Another says, “Being able to administer all your sites from 1 central portal is fantastic.”

Summary

Windstream-OfficeSuite
Windstream OfficeSuite
  • Starting Price
    • Quote Based
  • Live Chat
    Yes
  • Voicemail
    Yes
  • Audio/Video Conferencing
    Yes
  • Integrations
    Yes
  • Reporting
    Yes
Features
  • Integrations with Office 365, Google, and more
  • Meetings with up to 500 participants
  • Call monitoring and recording

How We Chose the Best Unified Communications Software

Unified communications or UC software plays a crucial role in digital transformation. It provides tools that combine numerous communication methods that can be used in many locations. It has led to more professional freedom and opportunities in several industries. Businesses looking for new systems to help them communicate and collaborate will find various platforms available. The size of your company, your purpose, and your communication needs will dictate what you need from your software. To create a smooth path to the ideal product for you, we’ve reviewed the top brands. Take a look at the evaluation criteria that help us to determine the best unified communications software of 2021.

Unified Communications Features

The core of any unified communications software is the methods of interaction. We recommend software with the main channels, such as live chat, file sharing, video and voice calling, conferencing, and voicemail. Within those categories, here are some features to watch out for:
  • Videoconferencing and meeting recording
  • Presence status
  • Softphone
  • Screen sharing
  • Instant messaging within the same app
  • VoIP

Integrations

As an established company, it’s likely you’ll already have effective systems that work for you. The best unified communications software should integrate with your existing tools, like CRM or a help desk app, to improve your work environment. Some of the integration options you can consider are:
  • Email integration
  • Calendar integration
  • Corporate phonebook
  • Application programming interface
  • Administrative interface

Reports

The best unified communications software will provide opportunities to assess performance and adapt. It should allow you to review which channels are used by which teams and give you options to customize and streamline communications. Some management features include:
  • Project tracking
  • Channel metrics
  • Report generation
  • Customization dashboard

What Is Unified Communications Software?

Unified communications software refers to platforms that provide phone or messaging systems and collaboration tools. They’re specifically designed for improving connections between staff, whether they’re one site, working remotely, or based in several locations across the globe. It means that no matter where you work, you can still answer calls, share documents with your team, and support your customers.

Many of these systems are cloud-based to support remote workers. However, you’ll also find hybrid approaches with on-premise hosting. Some provide hardware and softphone access, whereas others use browsers and applications on existing devices.

The types of communication can vary by platform, but most include core features like messaging, file sharing, voice and video calling, team collaboration, and conferencing. Others build on these features and act as a full customer service interface, adding contact center call management and live chat for websites.

Typically companies are getting more than just a phone line, although the platform will center on PBX or VoIP capabilities. You’re able to access these from different locations on your phone, through a browser, on an office phone, or through a specific application.

Benefits of Unified Communications Software

No matter if you’re a small, medium or large business, unified communications software has several advantages that will assist you:

  • Reduced costs: Not only does UC allow you to consolidate your systems, which is the first step to reducing costs, it also cuts expenditure elsewhere. That could be through travel expenses due to videoconferencing or a reduction in hardware costs as existing devices can be used.
  • Enhanced productivity: Results speak volumes, and unified communications can improve yours by giving your employees options for how they prefer to work. It could be working from home, using team chat, or screen sharing at conferences, but it all helps to create the right environment.
  • Improved user experience: As well as using your UC strategy to boost staff morale and productivity, it can also benefit your relationship with your end users. That could be through providing a local number that encourages customers to get in touch. Alternatively, using greetings and systems means more calls get answered, and in a professional manner too.
  • Better overall performance: Once you have an efficient system set up, you can communicate easily, manage employees more effectively, and dedicate the time you save to other business activities.

Must-Have Features of Unified Communications Software

When looking for the best unified communications software of 2021, there are a few essential features you need to consider:

  • Communication options. Most platforms will give you access to voice calls, but you can also look out for video calls, fax, team chat, SMS, instant messaging, mass notification, and conferencing. Ideally, these features will launch from one interface to allow you to work flexibly.
  • Call management tools. Many UC software companies focus on voice capabilities. That means you can expect your extension to follow you to different devices and have options for call routing, as well as auto attendants to manage anything incoming.
  • Administration and management: It’s worth checking how much control you’ll have over your UC system. Many platforms will offer a console or web-based portal where you can see activity and availability, add users, and manage tasks.
  • Analytics and reports: What you really want to know is: Does this system work for me? It’s not asking too much to find a UC platform that tells you what your usage is and how effective your employees are through an analytics dashboard and reports.
  • Integration and customization: Plenty of UC software companies understand the personalized approach, which means they let you tweak features to suit your needs and add your logo to any interface you use. Another feature that should sit high on your list is integration with other applications, such as your CRM or calendar, as it improves your workflow.

The Cost of Unified Communications Software

As you’ll have seen from our reviews, pricing plans vary by company. There are some that provide free access to their software but with a restriction on the features. Others might charge for usage based on a license that gives you a certain number of minutes or extensions.

The pricing plans are typically annual or monthly subscriptions, although some companies offer up-front costs with no contract. The monthly fees are often based on user numbers and range from as low as $4 to as high as $50. Most plans relate to the size of your business and the features you can access.

Many of these companies offer quotations after consultations. That means the software will be tailored to your needs. However, you won’t know the full cost until you sign up. The majority do provide a free trial period or a demo, though, so you can see if they fit your company’s needs.