Any unified communications (UC) admin or architect will agree, when it comes to choosing a UC vendor, the options run aplenty. With many options, come many features respective to each individual vendor and with problems to solve on the brain, it can be a daunting task to figure out which UC vendor is right for your organization. Is it a matter of pitting them against each other? Skype for Business vs Zoom? Zoom vs Webex? Skype for Business vs Webex? It’s not necessarily a battlefield, but more of what makes sense for your organizational needs.
We’ve honed in on the three vendors to figure out how they compare so UC engineers can get back to fixing any real issues that may arise rather than researching which solution they should choose as a UC vendor.
Let’s Talk Pricing
Pricing between the three is rampantly different. For enterprise plans, your biggest expense is going to be user licensing.
- Skype for Business: Integrating with the new Office 365 E5 software, user licensing starts at $35 per user. But, it may be a relative cost considering the big advantage of all Office 365 products that come along with a subscription.
- Zoom: Users that are looking to shave off a little cost can opt for the $19.99/month per user if they go with Zoom. While using Zoom doesn’t get you the added bonus of integrated MS Office products, there are bundled discounts on webinars and “Zoom Rooms.”
- Webex: For meetings up to 200 people, enterprises are looking at a starting cost of $39/month per user, but that’s just for the licensing portion. Audio and Storage costs a definitive extra here too. It’s a considerable amount, but one organization must consider the emphasis they are placing on their technology investments and the benefits of having a top-tier technology solution.
Anyone looking solely at price should keep in mind the added benefits that come along with each solution. Also something to take into consideration is the additional volume discounts an organization can receive depending on the amount of user licenses needed.
Which One Makes the Most Sense?
Determining what makes sense for a large company comes down to what the organization’s needs are respective to what the software solution provides and their features. Each of these three solutions are absolutely fit to be a working UC vendor to any organization looking for a UC solution. But, it’s important to first outline what exact needs are before selecting one or the other. For enterprise level companies, we’ve highlighted key features that may be a defining factor to selection:
- Skype for Business: Microsoft users are typically loyal to their well-known product families, so the the integration of Office 365 E5 seems like the clear unique feature that many enterprise companies will look for. A lot of companies, enterprises included, believe the less of a learning curve, the better.
- Zoom: Beyond the ease of scalability and pricing, the REST API feature that allows anyone in the company to easily incorporate video meetings into their web applications and web tools is a highlight for those on the hunt of answering the question, “Why Zoom?”
- Webex: Considered by some the creme de la creme of UC technology, the most important aspect that Cisco drives home is their commitment to security, end-to-end.
Let’s Talk Privacy
Remote team meetings are one thing, but a different, complicating factor to consider when choosing a UC vendor is privacy. In industries such as healthcare and finance, where HIPAA compliance is at the forefront of every engineers’ mind, which one makes the most sense when it comes to keeping privacy and security at the forefront? Technically, security is a big issue for all three vendors and all three have gone to great lengths to provide end-to-end encryption. However, Zoom is the only one certified HIPAA compliant because they have signed a business associate agreement (BAA) provided by HIPAA. Skype for Business and Webex both share that they do not share personal health information (PHI) and therefore as long as a company does not share PHI, they do not need to meet compliant standards.
If you’re an organization starting out your UC vendor journey, or if you’re looking to make a switch to another UC vendor, the most important thing to do first is to outline what exactly your needs are. The added benefit of choosing a UC vendor that integrates with an analytics and monitoring solution like Vyopta provides will only benefit you in the long run.