Businesses across the nation are trying to navigate what things will look like for their communications in the “new normal.” One thing is for sure, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology is here to stay. Microsoft 365 – particularly Microsoft Teams – makes leveraging this cost-effective technology simple for companies of all shapes, sizes, and workflow configurations.
You already know that Microsoft Teams allows you to set up your employees to talk, video conference, share, and collaborate internally, but what about your other business communications needs?
Internal communications are only part of the picture, right?
You need an integrated communications solution that will allow you to make voice calls to vendors, customers, and others outside your organization.
The other part of the puzzle is conference calls.
These are two critical functions that businesses sometimes fear that they will lose in a move to Microsoft Teams.
The good news is that Teams has you covered, and the PTG communication specialists are available to be your guide to Microsoft Business Voice implementation, security, and management. In short, Microsoft Teams can replace your legacy phone systems in most use cases.
Whether you are interested in domestic calling services or you need to make international calls, Teams has calling plans that will fit your business phone service requirements. Teams calling plans offer a full slate of professional business telephone features.
Here is a run-down of the most popular features in Teams Phone systems (this list is not exhaustive - so ask our team if you are looking for a specific feature!).
Adding External Voice Calling (and Audio Conferencing) to Microsoft Teams
Microsoft pricing for their voice calling service is relatively straightforward. There are many ways to add calling plans to your existing Microsoft 365 subscription (and some nuances to the best way to do that!). The two easiest ways are through Microsoft 365 Business Voice and Microsoft 365 E5.Microsoft 365 Business Voice
This service is intended for businesses with up to 300 users. It is priced per-user and includes:
- Cloud-based phone system with the features noted above
- 3,000 minutes per user per month for the USA and Canada
- Capacity for up to 250 people for a dial-in conference call
- Anywhere and any device access
- 24/7 Microsoft customer support
This voice calling service is intended for an enterprise-level organization with more than 300 users. At this level, pricing for domestic/international calling is determined through Microsoft’s customized pricing. It is priced per-user and includes the features listed above along with:
- Call control in the cloud
- Audio conferencing with up to 300 participants
- Advanced security
- Compliance features
Microsoft also offers “Communication Credits” for “charges not included in your subscription plan.” So if, for example, a small company on a plan that only covers domestic calls needs to make calls to Bolivia, they can buy per-minute credits to add to their plan for that country.
Is Microsoft 365 Business Voice the Right Choice for Your Company?
PTG specialists work with business leaders like you each day to source, implement, maintain, and secure communications infrastructure. Because the majority of companies across the USA fit into the “small to midsize” company category, they don’t need room in their voice phone plan for more than 300 voice phone users. In this case, Microsoft 365 Business Voice is a good fit.
Take note that even if your business has more than 300 employees, you still may not need to move up to the enterprise Microsoft 365 E5 plan.
Because for many companies, the number of employees is not equivalent to the number of employees that need to access the telephone for their daily work.
Take, for instance, a manufacturing facility with 500-plus employees. The vast majority of those employees are working on the manufacturing floor and do not need the same voice calling capability for their jobs as the relatively small number of employees working in the front office.
The main things to consider in a move to Microsoft 365 Business Voice are:
- Are the voice phone users (employees) that I have under the 300 limit?
- Are the per-minute rates for calls outside the USA and Canada cost-effective for me?
(You can download Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet from this link to see their charges outside USA/Canada)
In determining whether you should add voice calling to your Microsoft 365 subscription to supplement the internal communications and collaboration you get with Teams, it’s important to know what kind of businesses are already successfully leveraging Business Voice.
4 Use Cases for Microsoft Teams as your Phone System
Businesses with remote and on-premises workforce
Many company owners have the mistaken idea that the foundational VoIP technology of Business Voice is only for businesses with employees working remotely. However, Business Voice brings cost-efficiency and collaboration benefits to in-house teams as well.
Businesses who want to stay in Teams
For a business that already uses Teams, it just makes sense to add on Microsoft Business Voice. Choosing to use another third-party VoIP provider only adds a layer of complication in integration and can result in roadblocks to the smooth flow of information.
Simple call management plan
Reducing complexity is part of streamlining your business. Business Voice provides you with a way to have easy, transparent reporting and management of the who, what, and when of your company’s voice phone use.
Conferencing and collaboration
As we’ve already referenced several times in this article, one of the major reasons that companies choose Teams and Business voice is ease of collaboration. Because Business Voice was built to integrate seamlessly with your Microsoft 365 platform, collaboration is simplified across the related applications.
Companies that Shouldn’t Be Considering Microsoft Business Voice
While Business Voice is an attractive voice phone option for most businesses out there, there is a small segment of companies that aren’t well suited for the service.Businesses who need a call center style solution
Because Business Voice was built with an architecture designed for typical business functions, those companies that are running a full-scale call center won’t find the functionality they require.Businesses that want complex phone tree and call routing
Although Business Voice comes with pro-business features built-in, Microsoft has balanced that high level of functionality with the simplicity and efficiency desired by the average business. The result is an easy-to-use voice phone option, but the system does not natively handle complex call routing and phone tree requirements.
If you're still unsure or just need a question answered - feel free to contact our team!