Jive is a cloud based hosted virtual call system, founded in 2006 in Orem UT, to provide enterprise class VoIP and UC as a service (UCaaS), solutions to small medium and large businesses. Jive, which is cloud based and hosted and supported in the US provides VoIP services throughout the contiguous US states of North America, and some bordering Canadian regions, though Alaska and the US territories of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are not included in the free domestic minutes plan.
Jive Cloud Platform
Jive is designed specifically to be a cloud hosted UCaaS platform in order to provide the scalability and flexibility that small, medium and large businesses require in their communication networks. Furthermore, Jive is configured to support government and academic institutions through specialized customizations of their cloud platform software. However, in this review we will consider only their SMB business product.
The Jive SMB cloud-hosted system also provides a solution for easing the burden of system maintenance and software upgrades, as there is only one software application to manage for all customers regardless of their choice of service plan.
Jive has arranged their UCaaS platform into five business plans determined by the number of users or seats. For example, the service plans currently on offer for the small business edition include:
Tier 1 – $29.95 for support for 1-4 users with unlimited domestic minutes
Tier 2 – $25.95 for support for 5-9 users with unlimited domestic minutes
Tier 3 – $23.95 for support for 10-24 users with unlimited domestic minutes
Tier 4 – $21.95 for support for 25-49 users with unlimited domestic minutes
Tier 5 -$19.95 for support for 50-100 users with unlimited domestic minutes
(100 + users are supported via Jive Enterprise edition)
- All prices will also require local taxes to be added, an example being a Tier 1 for a single user would be $29.95 + tax and surcharges $11.50 = $41.55 per user
With regards, the unlimited free domestic minutes, this really needs to be clarified as these calls relates to the continental US states of America. However when we consider what are unlimited free minutes, we will discover that Jive have a reason usage policy where the number of calls placed inbound or outbound via the PSTN, for example calls made too or received from mobile phones or land lines will be restricted by a reasonable use policy. Jive are not clear as to what the cap is for PSTN calls saying only in the small print of the T&Cs that they are calculated against the average usage for all customers and that is not very reassuring as rumors suggest a cap of 2500 minutes a month with additional minutes at 4c per minute. That may sound a lot of minutes but remember that counts both inbound and outbound calls and 2500 is not a lot of minutes in a month for a business’s telephone use. Additionally 4c a minute is about mid-priced for additional minute’s usage and it could mount up over a month and provide a nasty shock especially if you think it’s all free. Notably Jive does not offer unlimited use for call centers, or other telephone centric businesses that would utilize heavy PSTN usage for inbound calls.)
As we have already seen, there is only one version of the software so all five tiers share the same feature-sets and functions only the price per seat or user differs.
Jive Functions and Features
Jive is primarily a virtual telephone system that utilizes a virtual attendant to manage inbound calls; however, it does have some remarkable features that allow for flexibility of service, such as time of day-based rules that determine when Jive auto attendant will answer the call. An example of this is that a live receptionist may answer the calls during the day and the auto attendant only take over at break times or in the evenings and at weekends.
Jive also has some unique configuration and customization features that allow an administrator to visualize, and then drag and drop items in order to create extensions, queues and dial plans. This is very important as Jive has unlimited auto-attendants, queues and extensions as well as personal dial plans so the system can become complex without this handy visualization and easy configuration tool.
Additional functionality built into Jive Small Business edition in addition to unlimited queues, auto-attendants and extensions are unlimited free domestic minutes, as well as ten-party conference calling, virtual faxing, and voicemail to email – through there is no email transcription.
Other notable features which Jive considers premium is call recording where the recording is deemed to be free but you are charged for separate storage.
Furthermore, the small business edition does support basic contact center features such as advanced queuing and ring strategies as well as call spy, barge and whisper, which are handy tools for staff training and mentoring.
Additionally there are some advanced features such as CRM integration but the only one appears to be Salesforce.com and that is at an additional monthly charge though it does connect via API to Google Chrome. There is also a mobility app, which runs on a pc, tablet or smartphone but that also incurs a one-time fee of $20 per device. The smartphone edition runs on Apple iOS and Android but only over Wi-Fi it doesn’t appear to work over the mobile networks data service. This is both a good and bad thing, as it will not run up potentially expensive data minutes if roaming on a mobile network but also limits its mobility to Wi-Fi hot spots though that is not such an issue nowadays as Wi-Fi access is near ubiquitous.
Jive Small Business edition is a mid priced, mid feature cloud based virtual telephone system with some basic call center IP PBX features. It has a confusing price structure due to the ambiguous usage of the term unlimited free domestic minutes – which appears in practice to be anything but unlimited or free. Similarly, Jive charges for their mobile app (a setup of $20 per device) and although they provide preconfigured handsets delivered to site that are plug and play reconfiguring existing handsets can be problematic and time consuming. Furthermore, Jive has limited voicemail to email capability as well as requiring an additional charge for call recording storage.
On the plus side Jive is simple to setup and get going if using Jive supplied devices and handsets, and the voice quality and reliability are very high for a service in this price range. Additionally, Jive has developed a great administration tools that allows service supervisors to visualize, drag, and drop objects to create menus, queues and dial plans.
Jive overall is a good mid feature system but lacks the functionality, features and quality of some of its top competitors, which are also marginally cheaper such as RingCentral. For Jive to improve they need to increase their collaboration and mobility capabilities as well as increase the range of third party integration apps and APIs.