Over the last few years, Microsoft Teams’ popularity has expanded exponentially. First released in 2017 as a basic workplace collaboration tool, the service has evolved into a communication system that reached 300 million users in the last year. The platform’s increasing popularity has also led organizations to consider business voice vs. enterprise voice plans, especially after Microsoft launched a Teams Phone plan in late 2021 to help businesses integrate their internal and external communications.
The reasons for Teams’ growth are relatively straightforward. In the context of an increasingly distributed workforce, the software enables remote and hybrid workers to easily collaborate through channels like chat, audio, and video calls. Additionally, companies can easily expand the capabilities of Teams with an external partner as their business grows.
Indeed, Teams Phone comes with potentially immense benefits for businesses, but also has some limitations for businesses that need enterprise voice capabilities. In this guide, we’ll break down the nuances of business voice vs. enterprise voice solutions, what MS Teams currently offers, and how additional services offered by the right telecom provider can take your voice system to the next level.
The Core Considerations of Business Voice vs. Enterprise Voice
Modern businesses and organizations need streamlined, unified communications, as business owners seek greater advantages over their competitors, and are facing rising trends toward a hybrid and remote workforce. For modern business owners and managers, systems like VoIP are now critical for enhancing business efficiency and scalability.
But Microsoft Teams offers options that go beyond these basic requirements with its Microsoft Teams Phone, which offers what we’ll call “business voice”: the ability to add calling functionality to the existing platform, including features like call queues, caller ID, hold music, group calls with external participants, cloud voicemail, and device switching.
It’s a great solution for small businesses looking to integrate all of their communication into a single system without adding significant complexity.
Microsoft Teams Phone, however, is not an enterprise voice system. Many advanced features, like advanced call routing, reporting, integrated call center management, and SIP Trunk integration, are typically not included in most voice system solutions, including Microsoft Teams Phone.
Choosing between a simplified business voice option (like Microsoft Teams Phone) vs. an enterprise voice option comes down to the needs of your business. The features in Teams alone may not be enough to power an enterprise, and you may need to do more than simply integrate a phone line or two with your existing MS Teams license. More advanced and comprehensive phone systems, especially if you’re already managing them in virtual environments, may need more enterprise-level alternatives.
The Details of Microsoft Teams Phone as a Business Voice Solution
While Microsoft Teams is primarily designed for internal collaboration at all levels, the ability to add a basic phone system into the platform has given it business voice capabilities as well. The most-common subscription plan is Microsoft Teams Phone Standard, which costs $8/user per month and includes baseline features like:
- A cloud-based phone system that allows your business to make and receive calls either through an internet connection or PSTN.
- Cross-device transfer of calls to provide more flexibility for users between VoIP phones, desktop devices, and mobile phones.
For $15/user per month, businesses can upgrade to Microsoft Teams Phone with Calling Plan instead, which adds a Microsoft-provided phone number and a domestic and international calling plan to the Standard tier. Customers can use 3,000 minutes per month for calls to the United States and the UK, and 1,200 minutes per month for the rest of the world.
Considering the Limitations of the Microsoft Teams Phone
The above features are undoubtedly beneficial for small- and medium-sized businesses simply looking to run their internal and external communications through a single platform. But there are potentially significant limitations to consider, especially when compared to more comprehensive enterprise voice solutions.
The Microsoft Teams internal calling plan can be helpful, but quickly becomes expensive when moving into larger call volumes. Scaling up your voice solution to match the growth of your business will quickly become costly, making the Microsoft Teams Phone solution suited for lower business needs, but a static, limited solution at enterprise levels.
Also, as is the case with any box-delivered solution, Microsoft Teams Phone users subscribing directly through Microsoft will frequently run into limited vendor support. Small businesses, especially, may struggle to meet their customized communications needs on a platform that is designed to be a one-size-fits-all solution.
Moving From Business Voice to Enterprise Voice Alternatives
Using Microsoft Teams Phone as a business voice solution can be beneficial for the right customer. But if your business is limited by Microsoft Teams’ delivered phone service, you may consider moving to an enterprise solution, which can include:
- Enterprise-grade calling features including advanced call routing, hoteling, queuing, cloud calling, and more
- The ability to enable SIP Trunk sharing and linking to connect your VoIP system
- An integrated call center to manage more complex call integrations and organization
- Adding text messaging to your calling solution for modern audiences’ increasing omnichannel communications expectations
- Advanced business intelligence, like comprehensive call reporting to gain deeper insights into your external communications
- Enhanced reliability with a 99.99% uptime that’s unmatched by most non-custom solutions
- Flexible migration that’s customized to your business needs and current phone solution requirements
- Enhanced disaster mitigation planning with data backups to get your business back up and running quickly
These enterprise voice features are beneficial to any business, in any industry, and of any size. The key, then, is moving to an enterprise voice system that can go beyond Microsoft Teams Phone without losing Microsoft Teams’ undeniable collaboration and communication advantages.
Integrating Microsoft Teams With Enterprise Voice Capabilities
Microsoft Teams Phone can be a great business voice solution, but businesses looking for enterprise-level voice capabilities without losing Teams’ superior collaboration tools, seamless integration capabilities are critical.
The right enterprise voice solution can work with Microsoft Teams in a range of different business scenarios, including:
- Integrating your existing Microsoft Teams license with an existing SIP Trunk solution
- Adding a new Microsoft Teams license to an existing SIP Trunk solution
- Adding PSTN capabilities to an existing Microsoft Teams license
- Implementing both Microsoft Teams and SIP Trunking for a comprehensive voice and collaboration suite
Similar scenarios exist for integrating Microsoft Teams with your new or existing UCaaS/hosted voice solution, as well.
Successful integrations ensure you get all the features of one of the most comprehensive and popular collaboration tools available, complete with a 360-degree enterprise voice solution that can meet your business’s custom needs.
The best news? When you work with the right provider, this solution enables even small businesses to leverage the benefit of a full-suite VoIP enterprise system.
How Voice-Enabled Teams Can Make the Question of Business Voice vs. Enterprise Voice Irrelevant
Ultimately, the question of business voice vs. enterprise voice does not need to be exclusive. The right provider can create viable solutions for every business size, while integrating Microsoft Teams’ internal collaboration features.
Our Voice Enabled Teams services augments the chat, video, and collaboration features of Microsoft Teams with strong enterprise voice capabilities, routing all of your communications through a single, integrated platform while also enhancing the disaster recovery capabilities.
For businesses that have outgrown Microsoft Teams or simply wish it could do more, or organizations looking to streamline their communications, BCM One is ready to harness our expertise as a Microsoft Gold Partner to craft a voice solution that’s right for you, guiding you through your solution’s frictionless implementation and Microsoft Teams integration, and beyond. Contact us today to get started.