Is Microsoft Teams Enough to Replace Your Phone System?
Microsoft Teams is growing in popularity, particularly in light of COVID-19. Back in April, The Verge reported that Teams usage jumped from 44 million daily active users in March to more than 75 million in April – a 70 percent jump in only 30 days. In June, Computer Weekly published an article citing a study that found Microsoft Teams usage grew by nearly 900 percent in just four months, a growth rate faster than its nearest competitor, Zoom.
With more people using Teams than ever before, mid-sized to large businesses are taking notice, wondering if Microsoft Teams can replace their phone system altogether. It makes sense. Traditional phone systems lack many of the Teams features that businesses need during the pandemic and there are free versions of Teams to save costs. But before you jump on board, there are several factors to consider.
Microsoft Teams Features – and Limitations
Microsoft Teams does offer a free version of its collaboration platform but only for commercial Office 365 subscribers. According to PCMag, if you have this subscription, you can take advantage of unlimited chats, audio and video calls, 10GB of file storage for your team, and 2GB of file storage per employee.
Having this Office 365 package is beneficial, enabling you to integrate the Office features you may use every day with Teams, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. You can also integrate nearly 150 other business applications and add up to 300 people to your Teams’ contacts, even those outside of your organization.
While Microsoft Teams does offer capabilities a basic phone system cannot, such as video calls, chat and file storage, it does not provide businesses with enterprise-level PBX call features to handle multi-location and advanced call features, such as advanced call routing, queuing, and advanced call reporting.
At its core, Microsoft Teams was not built to be an enterprise communications system but a collaboration platform with basic calling features. While the video, chat and file storage component has been critical with so many people working remotely, Teams likely should not completely replace a phone system, particularly for more complex enterprise infrastructures. There are simply too many voice features and call plans needed for today’s operations.
Your Current System
Before you can know if Microsoft Teams is capable of replacing your specific phone system, you have to compare your business needs with the Teams’ features. For small businesses, Teams may actually work just fine, as long as you stay within their call plan parameters and don’t need more advanced call features. Microsoft offers calling plans, but they can be relatively pricey and are limited compared to what most carriers offer, particularly in regards to the availability of features in certain countries.
Related: Giving Microsoft Teams a Voice
Think about the experience you want your incoming callers to experience as well. Uptime, call quality, call routing, extensions and call transfers are just a few of the phone features they’ve come to expect. Obviously, you need to provide a seamless call experience, one that gets them to the right person quickly and with minimal repetition. Teams is really not built for this kind of communications. There is still a need for enterprise-level phone system functionality.
Can Microsoft Teams replace your phone system? It can for small businesses that do not need enterprise voice capabilities, but it doesn’t have to. Investment into your current network is expensive. Letting it go completely may not be a good financial decision. Fortunately, you do need to completely replace your existing communications network in order to get the benefits of Microsoft Teams. You can have the best of both worlds by adding enterprise voice capabilities onto the Microsoft Teams platform so you can scale your communications network to fit all of your business needs.
Getting the Most Out of Your Current Phone System and Microsoft Teams
BCM One Voice Enabled Teams fills the voice and service gaps you may experience when using only Microsoft Teams. In fact, the solution transforms your Teams capability into a full enterprise voice platform that has all of the video, chat, file storage and Microsoft integrations and the enterprise voice features your growing business needs.
Whether you have a SIP service or a UCaaS/hosted voice, Voice Enabled Teams can support your network. Here’s how it works:
You already have a SIP service and Microsoft Teams
If you use a SIP service as well as Microsoft Teams, BCM One will connect your existing SIP Trunks with your existing Microsoft Teams licenses.
You have a SIP service and aren’t using Microsoft Teams
If you have a SIP service and want to take advantage of Teams’ functionality as well, BCM One can provide you with your required Teams’ licenses and connect your existing SIP Trunks.
You have Microsoft Teams and no SIP service
If you are using Teams and realizing you can’t do as much as you want, you may want to consider replacing your hosted PBX with a more modern SIP service. BCM One will provide you with SIP Trunks and connect them to your existing Microsoft Teams’ licenses.
You don’t have a SIP service or Microsoft Teams
If you’re looking for a voice solution as well as the Microsoft Teams capabilities, there’s never a better time to build out your network. BCM One can provide you with both your Teams’ licenses and your SIP Trunks.
You have a UCaaS hosted voice service and Microsoft Teams
If you already have BCM One’s UCaaSone hosted voice solution or a Broadsoft UCaaS hosted voice solution from another provider as well as Microsoft Teams, you can have BCM One connect your UCaaS solution with your existing Teams to create a much more robust communications and collaboration platform.
You have a UCaaS hosted voice without Microsoft Teams
If you’re using BCM One’s UCaaSone hosted voice solution or a Broadsoft UCaaS hosted voice solution but haven’t leveraged Microsoft Teams yet, BCM One can provide you with the necessary Teams’ licenses and connect the two systems so you can enhance your existing communications and collaboration capabilities.
You don’t use a UCaaS hosted voice system or Microsoft Teams
If you are ready to build up your existing phone system to create an enterprise-level platform that can support your organization’s communications and collaboration needs, BCM One can provide you with everything you need for a UCaaS solution and Microsoft Teams licensing and integration.
Integrating Microsoft Teams with Voice Capabilities Requires Expertise
You may not be on the road to having Microsoft Teams replace your phone system, but if you are more interested in enhancing your current voice capabilities to include Teams, you may need to look outside of your own IT team and let them focus on other network priorities.
When considering Microsoft Teams, be sure you work with a provider that has extensive Microsoft experience. Integrations can be tricky and the whole point of scaling your voice and collaboration capabilities is to give you all of the modern communications features you want without all of the complexity. Work with a provider that is a certified Microsoft Gold Partner and a dedicated Microsoft team. Gold Partners must demonstrate best-in-class capabilities within a specific Microsoft solution. You’ll save time and headaches during implementation and they’ll be able to troubleshoot any issues you may have in the future.
Similarly, if you are upgrading your existing phone system or integrating Microsoft Teams into your phone system, you want to work with a provider that has both Microsoft experience and telecom expertise. While enhancing and streamlining your voice network brings significant value-add, you want to make sure it’s done right the first time. Any glitch or mistake can result in extended downtime, which can lead to a significant loss of productivity, lost customers, and poor customer service.
Today’s businesses require modern communications and collaboration capabilities. Make sure your employees have what they need to be successful no matter where they work and your customers have the best experience possible when contacting your organization.