Technology Decision Makers

last person joined: 21 days ago 

A group for those in nonprofit IT decision-making roles to connect with peers and share best practices. This Technology Decision Makers group is for nonprofit IT or MIS Directors/Managers as well as CIOs and CTOs to connect with their peers and share best practices. Topics for discussion include, but are not limited to: hardware and software management, product reviews, emerging technology, best practices, collaborating effectively with other departments, and management conundrums. Membership is restricted to IT staff at nonprofit organizations.

Hosted VOIP Providers

  • 1.  Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Jul 14, 2015 09:16

    If anyone has experiences – positive or negative – with the following hosted VOIP providers, please share them with me:

     

    8x8

    Allied Telecom

    Evolve IP

    Masergy

     

    Thanks!

     

     

    Keith Berner

    Director, Information Technology

    Freedom House

     

    Phone: +1 202.747.7003

    Mobile: +1 301.588.5080

    Skype: berner.freedomhouse

     

    1850 M Street, NW, Fl 11, Washington, DC 20036 USA

     

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  • 2.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Jul 16, 2015 15:34

    Hi Keith -

    We use 8x8 at our NYC location. They are average to good I'd say. Pricing is okay but you get the whole UC bundle whether you want it or not. They don't have a nice low-tier option for use at things like volunteer stations. Setup is very hands on- your org will be doing the whole auto-attendant setup, extension setup, etc. Expect to devote some time to this if you have a lot of extensions or a complex AA menu setup. Once it's set up however, it's quite straight forward for operation. Admin console interface I'd say is average. Nothing stellar but workable and you can generally figure out quickly where to go in it for what you need. I'm not a fan of their end user interface virtual office - again it's okay but it's a bit convoluted for your average end user.

    You do have to buy the handsets. You can usually wheedle them down or find a deal they are offering on those. Only had to do one support call and they did fine on it. The project manager for setup/deploy was very responsive and followed up several times after the go-live.

    ------------------------------
    Dar Veverka
    Vice President of Technology
    LIFT
    Washington DC
    ------------------------------


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  • 3.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Jul 17, 2015 11:52

    We have 8x8 – I had used them for a smaller office before – no problems.

    Support has been fine and I like the functionality – compared to the Cable or Verizon etc – cost seems to be quite lower.

    However, this time we have had some issues with Time Warner Cable in providing internet – and went through a couple of different routers – VoIP can be kind of finicky in general with packet routing.

    We seem to be settled now.

     

    The one thing about VoIP 8x8 or not – more often there is some voice latency – so gaps and can over talk each other – but I find that with Cell phones a bit as well – so we've had some grumbling staff.

    When we moved to this location – it was considered that we may buy a building or something after a couple of years and seemed quite a cost to invest in something and then not know if it would be right in 2 years – with VoIP – the up front cost is basically just the handsets.

    The NICE thing with the handsets though is you can take them – plug into any router (Ethernet plug) that has internet access and your extension is functioning.  It doesn't matter where you are.

     

    Stuart F. McClain, MBA, CPA(inactive), CITP, CGMA

    Controller

    General Phone: (760) 674-9992 ext. 101

    Direct Dial: (760) 469-4371

    test4

     

     

     




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  • 4.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Feb 24, 2017 09:53
    Reviving an old thread...

    We are currently using Vonage Business for VOIP and our biggest problem is international dialing. We are a global nonprofit and as part of our business-as-usual activities need to dial international locations. We have found that our call destinations are often blocked without warning (purportedly to mitigate "fraud"). Vonage Business does not publish the list of blocked destinations, and there is no well-defined process to unblock them. It used to be that the blocked destinations were primarily in Africa, but recently we have experienced blocks in Western Europe (e.g. UK and Luxembourg) as well.

    So my question is whether anyone out there is using a VOIP provider that works reliably for international dialing? We are planning an office move later this year, and it would be great to coordinate the provider switch and associated number porting with the move.

    Thank you!

    ------------------------------
    Arjun V. Reddy
    Technology Manager
    Global Impact Investing Network
    New York, NY
    ------------------------------

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  • 5.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Feb 27, 2017 15:01
    Arjun,

    You can try 8x8. Haven't used them personally, but we have had a similar challenge with a few of our clients and having looked at several other providers 8x8 seems best able to handle regular international dialing. 

    Sam Rising
    Sales
    Packet8 | 8x8, Inc.

    Direct 1.866.667-1260 ( toll free )
    Office (408) 824-9009
    srising@8x8.com

    -JP

    ------------------------------
    Joshua Peskay
    Vice President
    RoundTable Technology
    joshua@roundtabletechnology.com
    www.roundtabletechnology.com
    ------------------------------

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  • 6.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Feb 28, 2017 09:42

    8x8 is a nightmare to deal with. In over a year, they have never issued a single accurate invoice. Two weeks ago, they suddenly turned off all our fax lines without notice. It can take as long as a week and a half to get a new line provisioned. That said, their pricing and features are great, but just be ready to babysit everything with them; it seems there are only one or two competent people in the entire company.

     

    Keith Berner

    Director, Information Technology

    Freedom House

     

    Phone/mobile: +1 202.747.7003

    berner@freedomhouse.org

    Skype: berner.freedomhouse

     

    1850 M Street, NW, Fl 11, Washington, DC 20036 USA

     




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  • 7.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Feb 28, 2017 17:29
    We use Telzio for remote office hosted PBX needs. They're not the biggest folks on the block but their pricing is really favorable and they, at least for us, provided us a nonprofit discount.

    Before, we used 8x8, then went with a SIP concentrator between offices and, in the end, an outsourced PBX was less of a headache.

    BTW, to me, pipe size and stability are the foundational piece of whether or not a hosted PBX will work. With 8x8, we had a small congested pipe and spent time arguing with them when it was really on us (someone had given another tenant the guest wifi access code).

    Hope that helps!
    k
    Ken Montenegro
    Information Technology Director
    Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Los Angeles

    1145 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90017
    T: (213) 977-7500 (213) 241-0219
    C: (323) 545-4904
    F: (213) 977-7595
    advancingjustice-la.org
    AJLA Logo
    Building upon the legacy of the
    Asian Pacific American Legal Center



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  • 8.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Mar 01, 2017 16:38

    Just my 2-cents – I have not had issues with them on support or provisioning.

    Yes – some techs are easier to work with than others – they have worked with our outside IT support to help test and ensure that we had the correct router and settings to ensure best connection.

     

    Bandwidth is definitely an issue – not a good idea to have people doing a lot of streaming etc. on the network unless you boost up the bandwidth

     

     

    To schedule a meeting or phone call – click HERE

    Stuart F. McClain, MBA, CPA(inactive), CITP

    Controller

    General Phone: (760) 674-9992 ext. 101

    Direct Dial: (760) 469-4371

    Website: http://www.rapfoundation.org

    AmazonSmile-RAP-SmallIE Capaciteria

     




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  • 9.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Mar 07, 2017 17:14
    Thanks everyone for the input. I had reached out to Ring Central, 8x8, and Nextiva the last time I was researching VOIP alternatives. Perhaps I'll give 8x8 another shot, even though I was not a fan of their relentless follow-up sales calls after my initial inquiry.

    Ken, I might follow up with you separately about hosted PBX. I was thinking it could be a good fit, but also possibly frustrating to maintain.

    ------------------------------
    Arjun V. Reddy
    Technology Manager
    Global Impact Investing Network
    New York, NY
    ------------------------------

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  • 10.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Mar 07, 2017 17:21
    Hi Arjun and everyone, 

    A former client of ours offers VoIP and competes with 8x8 and Ring Central. 

    I've got no incentive to advertise them, other than that I like the founders personally. http://www.dyl.com 

    M.
    -------------------------------------
    Marcy Rye, Principal
    Wire Media
    http://www.wiremedia.net

    marcy@wiremedia.net
    @wiremedia
    310-955-4900 ext.1
    -------------------------------------
    Design on a mission.
    -------------------------------------




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  • 11.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Mar 08, 2017 09:08
    I recently went from a very old onsite PBX to Shortel Connect onsite VOIP system.  I have been very pleased with it.  I did look at hosted 8x8 and hosted Shoretel.  I was very interested in the hosted Shoretel solution.  However, I ultimately went with their onsite solution.  We have been very pleased, easy to maintain.  


    Jay Moore
     | CIO
    National Beta Club
    jmoore@betaclub.org864.583.4554






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  • 12.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Mar 09, 2017 11:26
    We have both a hosted (in our headquarters) and a cloud-based (for remote employees) ShoreTel solution and we've been very happy with them so far.

    ------------------------------
    Andrea Garvey
    Schott Foundation for Public Education
    Operations Manager
    ------------------------------

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  • 13.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Mar 08, 2017 15:29

    On my news feed I saw a reference on PC Magazine to reviews of VoIP providers –and 8x8 was listed as Excellent – but you can look at what they said and compare vs. Ring Central etc.

     

     

    To schedule a meeting or phone call – click HERE

    Stuart F. McClain, MBA, CPA(inactive), CITP

    Controller

    General Phone: (760) 674-9992 ext. 101

    Direct Dial: (760) 469-4371

    Website: http://www.rapfoundation.org

    AmazonSmile-RAP-SmallIE Capaciteria

     




    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 14.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Apr 12, 2017 19:38
    Does anyone have experience with the open-source Asterisk PBX platform, and if so what considerations should we have in using it?  We're working with a small (2 FT, 2 PT, 6 intern) NPO in need of phone system overhaul (from 3-line POTS with 6 desk phones) and I have volunteer advocating hosting Asterisk internally and porting the numbers to a TBD cloud provider.  The agency takes more incoming calls than they handle on the current lines, but doesn't want to increase expenses.  They do a lot of in-state calling and virtually no international.

    ------------------------------
    Tom Anderson
    Founder
    IT4 Causes
    Midlothian, VA
    ------------------------------

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  • 15.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Jan 10, 2018 23:51
    Tom -

    At my last company, I had around 31 locations on asterisk PBX system with some wholesale VOIP services on the backend.
    Worked great and was at a pretty low expense to me in terms of direct cost.

    The only downside was that when my engineer left the company it was hard to find someone who could manage the in place system.
    Also, we had to maintain physical PBX's which we purchased for a low cost but had to have a PBX and firewall at each location.

    We ended up moving to a hosted VOIP platform and outsourcing the telecom management which in the end saved me some money and provided my employees with new phones to replace their old Yealink devices.

    I used VOIP innovations for the backend when I had asterisk.

    ------------------------------
    John Jordan
    Director Customer Operations
    BetterWorld Telecom, LLC
    www.betterworldtelecom.com
    jjordan@betterworldtelecom.com
    ------------------------------

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  • 16.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Feb 11, 2019 12:29

    Just reviving this old thread.  I'm just finishing up a VOIP RFP  (Thanks for the template @Beth Camero).  The Contract is up, and it's time to bid out our current Broadsoft contract.

    I see a lot of people recommending 8x8, Ken has recommended Telzio, and Asterik sounds like more work than I want to put in.

    Anyone else have any recommendations?

    Difficulty: I own about 130 Polycom IP335 and VVX300 phones and would like to re-use them if possible.



    ------------------------------
    Colin Boyle
    Step Up Suncoast
    Sarasota, FL
    cboyle@manateecaa.org
    ------------------------------

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  • 17.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Feb 12, 2019 10:28
    The last time I ran a hosted-VOIP selection process Calltower made it into our top three.  I was impressed by their culture/technical approach and understood that they had a strong engineering core to draw on.  Good luck with your search!

    ------------------------------
    Matt Veltkamp
    Nimbus Nonprofit Solutions
    Washington, DC
    mveltkamp@nimbusnonprofit.com
    ------------------------------

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  • 18.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Feb 13, 2019 09:54
    I am in the process right now of looking at hosted VoIP solutions v. upgrading our existing Shoretel PBX to Shoretel/Mitel Connect.

    So far we have looked at Ring Central, Nextiva, Broadview/Windstream. They all have a nice look/feel and similar functionality - including good reporting capability, easy web-based administration, mobility (call from desk phone, app on cell, or computer), IM/conferencing/screen sharing, faxing...

    Nextiva is the cheapest and stands out to me for their customer service and ethos of empowering users (there is lots of training for users). The product seems a little simpler but still has lots of bells and whistles. Also they are equipment agnostic - work with Polycom, Vtech, Cisco...

    Ring Central also stands out in that they are widely used, their product seems clean and robust and they have thought explicitly about things like HIPAA compliance.

    The Broadview/Windstream "My Office Suite" has everything too. Nice dashboard look for users and admins.

    Honestly it's going to be a hard decision - down to price and their additional call center offerings which I have yet to fully see.

    If anyone has feedback from using RingCentral, Nextiva, MyOfficeSuite, or Shoretel Connect, I'd love to hear it.

    ------------------------------
    Julia Eddy
    IT & Data Manager
    Bread for the City
    Washington, DC
    ------------------------------

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  • 19.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Feb 13, 2019 10:40
    I used 8x8 when I was at Freedom House. The actual telephony was fine, but the onboarding/customer service was awful.

    ------------------------------
    Keith Berner
    IT Project Manager
    OSIbeyond
    Bethesda, MD
    kb1@kberner.us
    301.588.5080
    ------------------------------

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  • 20.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Feb 13, 2019 14:35
    I am also smack dab in the middle of selecting a new VoIP solution, but haven't decided on cloud or on-prem yet.  The one thing that seems to seperate the various providers are the phones themselves.  It seems like it will boil down to whether I want Avaya, NEC, Polycom or Digium phones.  Anyone have any thoughts or experience with these phones?

    ------------------------------
    John Parker
    Director of IT
    Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order
    Detroit, MI
    ------------------------------

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  • 21.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Feb 19, 2019 17:34
    We have been using Digium D45 and D70 phones since 2014. We've had just one phone fail (covered under a warranty). We use an on-premise SMB360 server, and it is fairly easy to manage as far as phones are concerned, but it is difficult to do custom auto attendant messages and create the auto attendant itself. We let our local vendor provide those services and it's easy with them (Metropark in St. Louis)

    ------------------------------
    Richard Wollenberger
    Director, Information Technology & HIPAA Compliance and Security Officer
    Parents as Teachers
    St. Louis MO
    ------------------------------

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  • 22.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Feb 20, 2019 13:01
    ​We have been using Avaya on prem for years with no issues.

    The majority of our staff use their cell phone as well.  Thanks!

    ------------------------------
    Melissa Berrett
    Director of IT
    Oregon Health and Science University Foundation
    Portland, OR
    ------------------------------

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  • 23.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Feb 21, 2019 08:44
    ​I realize the question was regarding specific providers int he DC area, but I have had such a good experience with our vendor in metro NYC I had to give them a shout out.
    We've been dealing with Lightpath/Altice for over 6 years, and their service has been exemplary. The system is feature-rich but easy enough to manage that each office manager can work with it on his or her own without our (IT) intervention, always a plus for me.
    It never goes down.
    If we do have an issue on prem with a switch or other hardware (which they own), they are there to repair within hours, and since we can move incoming calls to other lines remotely, it is not nearly as painful as it has been in the past with other vendors.
    Let me know if I can help with any questions you might have as you proceed in your quest. It's a big undertaking but for us, it was worth every minute of angst.

    ------------------------------
    Grace Barry
    Director of Information Technology
    Family Service League
    Huntington, NY
    ------------------------------

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  • 24.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Feb 22, 2019 11:41
    Edited by Richard McConnell Feb 22, 2019 11:42
    For anyone using Zoom for video conferencing, Zoom Voice is now available as a Hosted VOIP add-on to Zoom Meetings.

    We are pilot testing it right now in our SF and NY locations, and my first impressions are:
    - ease of use; it adds a tab to the Zoom desktop and mobile app, allowing for easy dialing without installing additional software / apps
    - call quality: uses the Zoom network, calls so far are crisp and clear
    - features: unless you run a busy call center, it most likely has all the features you need
    - cost: unlimited or pay as you go plans, prices are lower than other hosted VOIP providers we have looked at.

    In case of interest, I'll provide an update in early March after we finish our testing.

    ------------------------------
    Richard McConnell
    Director, IT
    BSR
    San Francisco, CA
    ------------------------------

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  • 25.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Feb 25, 2019 10:22
    I'd be interested in your results. Please contact me directly if needed at richard.wollenberger@parentsasteachers.org

    ------------------------------
    Richard Wollenberger
    Director, Information Technology & HIPAA Compliance and Security Officer
    Parents as Teachers
    St. Louis MO
    ------------------------------

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  • 26.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Apr 02, 2019 11:40
    I too am in the middle of a change from onsite PBX Avaya system (ours is over 12-15 years old) to possible VoIP or partially hosted PBX-IP solution. Most of my vendors and fellow IT folks have either said keep hosting the PBX to won all your equipment or that I should ditch it because you need someone on staff or contract to service it, which we have dealt with first hand that being a staff of 16 we don't have room for someone on staff to own that. I currently have quotes from Crexendo, Pacific Office, Jive, Nextivia, PanTerra, and Vontage. I had terrible customer service with 8X8 to the point that I didn't even request a proposal. I saw the comment on PC Mag on VoIP and will be looking there, and scheduling demo's soon, but if anyone is very happy with one of those vendors I'd love to hear why! Big things for us are:
    • Integration with our CRM Salesforce, preferably included in full seat licenses
    • Auto-attendant that allows for multiple groupings for our staff 
    • Great Admin portal that is easy for admin staff to use/easy for succession and turnover
    • Soft-phone desktop screen popping + phone app for our programs staff
    • Partial user licenses for our intern station, conference rooms, and curiosity phones.

    Integration seems to be the make or break with a few of the vendors I speak with. Does anyone know of one with excellent SF integration?
    Thanks for keeping this thread alive!

    ------------------------------
    Travis Harrick
    Operations Manager
    Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona
    Phoenix, AZ
    ------------------------------

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  • 27.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Apr 02, 2019 11:53

    We had ShoreTel Sky for 5 years, and Mitel bought them last year.  We are in the process  over the next couple of weeks of migrating to the actual Mitel Connect platform.   

    So far they have been GREAT to work with.  Also, it's going to be less expensive by almost $300/month which blows me away.  Has to do with being grandfathered in on phone rental pricing.  They also sent us all new (to us) phones, so it's great upgrade on many levels, so far.  AND we get to ditch our conference call provider.

    Stay tuned!   I'll let you know how it goes.

     

    Best,

     

    Beth Camero

    Technology Manager

    Quality Care Health Foundation

    California Association of Health Facilities

    916-432-5183

     




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  • 28.  RE: Hosted VOIP Providers

    Posted Apr 03, 2019 16:23
    TechImpact is on my shortlist.  Anyone have any experience with their hosted VOIP?

    ------------------------------
    Colin Boyle
    Step Up Suncoast
    Sarasota, FL
    cboyle@manateecaa.org
    ------------------------------

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