Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft Teams was steadily growing in its use but when the exodus to remote work happened, it skyrocketed. If you’re one of the many companies that jumped onboard the Teams bandwagon, then you’ve probably asked yourself – what else can we do in Teams? You might have even wished that you could do all of your voice communications inside of your favorite workspace.
You don’t need to wish anymore. You CAN use Teams for all of your phone communications with Microsoft 365 Business Voice.
Mike Mellott, Vice President at XPERTECHS, recently presented a webinar for our clients to introduce them to this new layer in the Microsoft 365 tech stack. Below are some questions and answers that he covered.
Access the recording of the 40-minute webinar here: https://xpertechs.com/webinar-microsoft-business-voice/
Microsoft 365 Business Voice Questions and Answers
Q: What’s the catalyst behind the introduction of Microsoft 365 Business Voice?
A: Microsoft Teams really came out at the right time (if there was a right time in the last 18 months) for driving the adoption of many different pieces of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and putting it into a single pane of glass. The way Microsoft sees it - and we've seen this across our client set - is that collaboration has been increasing at such a large rate that internal, external remote users and a diverse workforce, are catalysts that are really pushing the need for additional employee engagement.
Q: What’s so important about employee engagement?
A: If employees are engaged, if they're working within an ecosystem like Teams, there are additional profits, additional revenue that organizations are gleaning from equipping their modern workforce to enhance teamwork. From Microsoft's perspective and from our perspective, the landscape changed as to how and where the office is, how and where we need users to be productive.
Q: What challenges do companies have with equipping their employees for teamwork?
A: One of the main problems is disjointed collaboration and file sharing for organizations that haven’t pushed fully into SharePoint and OneDrive. Another is shadow IT which occurs when there’s no established standards for devices, operating systems and web applications. Another is just dispersed resources in general as remote workers work from various individual locations. And the last is the mobility challenge and the need for services to be available on any device.
Q: How does Microsoft Business Voice in Teams enable teamwork?
A: Microsoft Teams phone system is really the last piece in how we overcome some of those teamwork challenges, because it takes advantage of voice functionality -- the phone calls, the one-off customer experiences, and the interactions with inside and outside stakeholders – and brings all of the functionality that you see associated with an on-premise PBX or a hosted VoIP.
Q: What’s so simple about “Calling Made Simple”?
A: First, users are already using Teams so it puts voice calling into the same workspace. Second, users can use any device, anywhere – a laptop, desktop computer, their personal cell phone or business cell phone, or any other device that has an Android iOS or Windows operating system to make or receive a phone call. Third, is reliability and a good experience. And the last is streamlined management.
Q: What’s the difference between taking a call in Teams versus regular phone service?
A: If you are going to take an inbound call from an external user, you will need to be signed into the Teams app on some device, your laptop or your desktop at work, and you can have the Teams app on your phone. When you're signed in, you will be able to take that call. Your phone will ring like a regular mobile phone call. So if you step away from your desk, your phone will ring. If your laptop or your desktop is powered off or left in the car, you can still take calls on your phone.
Q: How does the cost of Microsoft Business Voice compare with traditional or VoIP phone communications?
A: A major benefit to Microsoft Business Voice is reduced costs for voice communications. We're seeing in many cases, organizations are paying anywhere from 26 to 36 or more dollars per user per month on a VoIP plan. If you have a hosted VoIP plan moving to Business Voice can be very cost-effective. A second way that you’ll see reduced costs is the elimination of having to have a headset or a handset for every employee. You don't need a phone for every desk. An employee can use a mobile phone, a headset or Bluetooth device. The voice communication capability allows you to have phone calls available directly to employees in the field without having to issue them anything but a username and a password to sign into a soft phone app.
Q: How can Microsoft Business Voice enable a remote workforce?
I think the main thing to consider here would be you can eliminate the complexities of having legacy voice systems or VPN enabled phones or site to site VPN or any additional connectivity requirements when using the voice bundle. If you can access the Microsoft 365 ecosystem using the internet, you can use the Microsoft business voice solution, and it's always integrated with the Microsoft 365 apps.
Q: How can switching to Teams Voice improve business operations?
Teams Voice can improve business performance from every level because of how people are able to communicate. Your people can be reached easier by customers and clients. Internally you can more quickly reach out to coworkers without having to dial into a conference call. If a user has a personal device, but that's the device that they use, you can still reach them without having to invest in any additional hardware for them to be productive.
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This is just a sample of what Mike covered in the webinar. You can access the whole webinar here and learn more about how Microsoft Business Voice functionality compares to traditional and VoIP phone systems.
At XPERTECHS, we work with clients to help them find ways to leverage technology so that it’s a driver for growth. If you’re not getting that from your current IT support company, then it’s time to up your game. Contact us for a free IT consultation.