RingCentral Invests in the Enterprise
RingCentral, a cloud business communications provider based in San Mateo, California, is moving forward with a focus on the enterprise market, developing new features and applications that are important to larger businesses. In years past, RingCentral (News - Alert) targeted smaller businesses with fewer than 100 employees, but today, the RingCentral Office business communication service can handle larger organizations with 1,000 users or more due in part to a new enterprise-grade packaged offering called RingCentral Office Enterprise Edition (more on this below). As part of this move “up market,” RingCentral is also increasing internal staff to support a growing number of large enterprise customers and introducing new internal programs designed to ensure quality of service.
Subscription-based hosted/cloud unified communications services continue to gain in popularity as an alternative to purchasing an on-premises telephony system (more on this trend here and here), and interest from mid-size and larger organizations is growing. Market analyst firm Infonetics expects VoIP services revenue to reach $88 billion by 2018 as more and more mid-market and larger enterprises evaluate and move applications to the cloud. Frost & Sullivan agrees that larger, geographically distributed organizations are adopting hosted services as a way to “consolidate infrastructure and streamline vendor relationships.”
RingCentral was originally founded in 1999 and introduced a hosted multi-extension phone service for small business in 2003. In 2009, the company launched the RingCentral Office business phone service in the U.S. and Canada, a complete hosted phone, voicemail and fax subscription-based system with unlimited long distance and toll-free service and pre-configured phones. More recently (Q3 2013), RingCentral opened two new data center facilities in Europe and began offering RingCentral Office in the U.K. To date, RingCentral has over 300,000 customers across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Further international expansion is planned.
RingCentral sells its hosted/cloud services through a direct sales force, as well as through channel partners, including large carriers like AT&T that offers the AT&T Office@Hand bundled service and distributors like Ingram Micro (News - Alert) which has a large network of resellers in North America and the UK. RingCentral continues to report positive financials. For the full year 2013, the company’s total revenue was up 40 percent compared to revenue from 2012. This trend is expected to continue in 2014.
RingCentral Office Editions
The RingCentral Office cloud business phone system is available in three feature packages (Editions) that target businesses with varying requirements. RingCentral Standard, Premium and Enterprise Editions are available to businesses with as few as five users to organizations with 1,000 users or more. Subscribers choose from a number of third party desktop phones, including 11 “plug-and-ring ready” models from Polycom and Cisco, or SIP phones from snom, Aastra (News - Alert) (Mitel), Grandstream and Yealink that require manual setup. Phones can be purchased upfront or rented for a monthly fee (Polycom and Cisco phones only).
- The “Standard” Edition, the lowest cost feature package, includes popular call management features such as multiple extensions, call forwarding, call transfer, paging, ring groups (call handling by department or group), voicemail, auto attendant, basic unified messaging and many more. The service also delivers some advanced capabilities at no extra cost. Subscribers can take advantage of desktop and mobile client applications for Windows PCs, Mac computers, iOS, Android (News - Alert) and BlackBerry mobile devices and a meet-me conferencing bridge for up to 1,000 attendees. RingCentral Meetings for multi-point video conferencing and Web sharing is included at no additional charge with all RingCentral Office editions; Standard Edition supports four participants per meeting. Standard Edition also comes with 1,000 toll-free minutes. Monthly pricing depends on the number of users. For example, customers with 100-999 users will pay the equivalent of $19.99 per user per month if the full year (12 months) is paid up-front.
- The “Premium” Edition mirrors the Standard Edition features, but adds Salesforce CRM integration and automatic call recording and increases the number of included toll-free minutes to 2,500. RingCentral Meetings for multi-point video conferencing and Web sharing is included at no additional charge with all RingCentral Office editions; Premium Edition supports 25 participants per meeting. Monthly pricing depends on the number of users. For example, customers with 100-999 users will pay the equivalent of $29.99 per user per month if the full year (12 months) is paid up-front.
- The “Enterprise” Edition, officially launched in January 2014, builds on the Premium package, adding the RingCentral Meetings Web and video conferencing application (more on this below), plus 10,000 toll-free minutes. RingCentral Meetings for multi-point video conferencing and Web sharing is included at no additional charge with all RingCentral Office editions; Enterprise Edition supports 50 participants per meeting. Monthly pricing depends on the number of users. For example, customers with 100-999 users will pay the equivalent of $39.99 per user per month if the full year (12 months) is paid up-front.
New Enterprise-focused Applications
RingCentral is planning to roll out new features and capabilities every few months with an eye on the needs of enterprise organizations. Recently, the company introduced a new Web and video conferencing service (RingCentral Meetings) and updated its mobile client application with additional features designed to improve workplace productivity and efficiency.
- Collaboration: RingCentral recently added a new service called RingCentral Meetings that enables multi-point HD video conferencing, meeting scheduling and management, integrated chat and screen sharing via iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, PCs and Mac computers. RingCentral Meetings for up to 25 participants has been included with the RingCentral Office Enterprise Edition user package since January 2014. Now (as of May 8, 2014), RingCentral includes Meetings with all RingCentral Office Editions. The number of supported participants differs by Edition – up to four participants per meeting with the Standard Edition, 25 participants with the Premium Edition and 50 participants with the Enterprise Edition. Edition pricing, even with the inclusion of the Meetings video conferencing capability, remains competitive. The Meetings application is developed by Zoom Video Communications, Inc.
- Mobility: RingCentral’s latest software release 6.2 includes enhancements to the RingCentral Office mobile client application for Apple (News - Alert) iOS and Android-based smartphones and tablets. Users will now have access to real-time presence status information across all devices. In addition, administrators will be able to view and manage user accounts from a mobile device, including setting up, configuring and deleting user accounts, viewing call logs and other usage statistics and maintaining access to the company’s directory. These new mobile features build on 2013 enhancements that added one-click conference calling and invitations via text, Business SMS, phone presence status and mobile device faxing.
On the Roadmap
RingCentral expects to roll out new features and capabilities every few months with an eye on the needs and requirements of forward-looking enterprise customers. The company will be opening up its Application Programming Interface (API) to allow customers to integrate vertical business applications that will improve their business processes (for example, a law firm may want to develop a customized legal billing system). RingCentral will also be enhancing the reporting capabilities of RingCentral Office Enterprise Edition with custom reports and additional business intelligence that will help businesses provide better customer service and streamline the operation. Stay tuned.
Edited by Maurice Nagle