Within just two years of its introduction, Microsoft Teams became the communication and collaboration platform of choice for 500,000 organizations. Today, Teams has nearly 300 million active users and the distinction of being the most popular conferencing platform in more than 40 countries. Although many companies initially started using Microsoft Teams for its ability to keep their remote and hybrid workforce connected through its video conferencing capabilities, it’s traditionally been considered a chat-based platform.
Microsoft doubled down on that narrative with the launch of Microsoft 365 Business Voice, most widely known as Teams Voice. With voice migration, the add-on allows Microsoft Teams to function as a full-fledged phone system. Although migrating to the cloud with Microsoft as a phone service provider can help small and mid-sized companies reduce the overall cost of business communication, subscribers only have access to a fraction of the application’s full potential.
To get beyond the basics with the type of service revolutionizing communication in the modern workplace, consider looking into voice migration for Teams enabled by a Microsoft-approved partner with enterprise voice capabilities. Whether your company has been using Teams for years or you’re exploring your options for the first time, there are several advantages you may want to take a look at.
What Is Voice Migration for Microsoft Teams?
In the telecom industry, migration is the process of moving an organization’s existing voice service to the cloud. Voice migration for Microsoft Teams adds the ability to make and receive calls to the popular platform. Microsoft’s small and medium-sized business (SMB) offering accommodates up to 300 Teams members. Their enterprise licensing can be scaled for organizations of any size.
Currently, Microsoft bundles Teams’ phone service with a domestic calling plan. The cloud-hosted solution eliminates the need to maintain a private branch exchange (PBX) in-house. When you subscribe to a bundled call plan, Microsoft becomes your organization’s phone service provider. However, Microsoft doesn’t offer the support or training needed to manage company-wide migration to the cloud.
For mid- to enterprise-level organizations, migration is a complex, multi-step process that typically requires the expertise of an experienced IT department. There are readiness assessments to complete, networks to configure, routing features to select, pilot sites to test, and more.
In addition, business owners not opting for Microsoft calling plans have the following options to consider.
- They can integrate their PBX with Teams while also maintaining a carrier contract for a portion of their calls.
- They can take advantage of features Microsoft’s add-on doesn’t provide on its own by investing in the services of a Microsoft-approved service provider.
What Are the Advantages of Adding Voice Capabilities to Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a powerful collaboration platform widely known for helping businesses of nearly any size communicate efficiently and effectively. After logging in to the platform, Teams members are prompted to create or join a “public” or “invitation-only” conversation. Companies using Microsoft Teams benefit from some of the most in-demand business communication solutions available, including video conferencing, remote file sharing, and text-based chat.
The platform is designed to work seamlessly with other Microsoft applications, making it easy to share documents from OneDrive with authorized personnel, manage complex tasks with Microsoft Planner, and collaborate with comments and feedback on in-progress documents.
Adding voice capabilities to the mix gives businesses across numerous industries efficient, cost-effective communication consolidated into a single user-friendly platform, a familiar service accessible from nearly any internet-capable device. With the add-on service, employees have access to several enterprise-level features, including cloud-hosted voicemail and the ability to switch from the video platform to an audio call with a single click. Integrating voice-enabled Teams into an enterprise communication platform delivers a range of capabilities Microsoft’s service doesn’t offer on its own.
The Benefits of Integrating Voice-Enabled Teams into a Microsoft-Approved Platform
There’s no denying that Microsoft Teams offers an impressive number of modern features companies need for streamlining communications. But the platform is essentially a one-size-fits-most solution, even when voice-enabled.
With Microsoft as their business communication service provider, companies are charged per user for bundled packages, all charges are locked in, and end users need to be logged in to the platform to make and receive calls. For many businesses, Microsoft’s “as is” communication and collaboration service is ideal. They’re getting the basics of an enterprise phone system without having to pay for costly equipment upgrades to modernize.
Business owners who want (or need) to continue their relationship with their current PSTN (public switched telephone network) have the option of using voice-enabled teams through a process called Direct Routing. However, any advanced voice services needed for efficient communication have to be configured internally. Microsoft only supports Direct Routing on certified devices. Any issues that arise with the session border controller (SBC) hardware or software are handled through the vendors’ customer support center and escalated to Microsoft as needed, which can be time-consuming.
Most often, decision-makers for larger enterprises find they get a more robust, flexible, and affordable business communication solution from building out Microsoft’s voice capabilities. This is best accomplished by migrating Teams to a cloud-hosted platform of a Microsoft-approved managed service provider, a Microsoft Operator Connect Partner. The result is a plethora of benefits gained from the following features.
Enhanced Features Using Your Current Business Phone System
Companies integrating Microsoft’s phone service with Teams need Microsoft-certified desktop phones to use the service in-house. However, investing in new hardware does not impact the application’s functionality, at least not by any significant measure.
When you invest in managed Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) or managed Session Initiated Protocol (mSIP), you can take advantage of an impressive number of advanced calling features in Teams while continuing to use your current business phone system. Legacy systems that aren’t SIP-enabled (most are) can be converted with an inexpensive adaptor that converts analog signals to digital packets transported over high-speed internet.
Unlocking Efficiency and Productivity with Robust Call Features
Microsoft’s add-on voice service gives business owners a considerable number of features not typically available with legacy phone service, including audio conferencing, call recording, and voicemail. But Microsoft-only subscribers can’t configure call queues or auto attendants in Teams without a resource account for each attendant and a virtual agent license.
Integrating voice-enabled Teams into an enterprise platform augments its chat, collaboration, and video conferencing features with the following:
- Advanced call routing capabilities
- AI-enhanced call reporting
- Call holding
- Paging and Intercom
Most often, managed service providers can take care of all licensing matters on your behalf.
Expert Migration Deployment, Application Customization, and Enhanced System Security
With a managed service provider, you have a team of highly skilled specialists in your corner to ensure a smooth transition during each phase of preparation and deployment, whether you’re ready for a company-wide Teams migration or choose to scale the process over time.
Not only do Microsoft-approved partners have the technical expertise to deploy and manage Teams efficiently while minimizing the risk of potentially costly communication downtime, but they can also customize the technology installed on their platform to accommodate specific business needs, including industry-specific security standards and platform training. If your internet service is disrupted for any reason, incoming calls are quickly dispatched to an alternate number.
Advanced Call Center Features and Customer Support Services
Voice-enabled Microsoft Teams offers several basic call center features. With the right enterprise business communication partner, you’ll also have the option of investing in a cloud-hosted support center.
Call center representatives can be tasked with forwarding incoming calls, booking appointments, and providing customer care. Real-time call analytics reveal call volume, hold times, and which multimedia channels customers are using most often to engage with your business. Many companies also appreciate the ability to leverage translation tools or chatbots paired with today’s “teachable” AI technology capable of a “conversational” exchange of information and the option of speaking to a live representative as needed.
Could Voice Migration for Microsoft Teams Revolutionize Communication in Your Workplace?
Many business owners and IT decision-makers frustrated with the high cost of business communication are switching from legacy phone service to cloud-hosted business communication solutions. Investing in voice-enabled Microsoft Teams provided by an approved managed service provider helps reduce the overall cost of the services your business needs for efficient, effective communication.
However, not all enterprise voice communication providers can augment the capabilities of Teams with the features revolutionizing communication in the workplace. Far fewer have the expertise needed to ensure efficient voice migration. For that, look no further than BCM One.
BCM One is a Direct Gold Microsoft Partner. We work with mid-sized, multi-site organizations to develop secure, compliant, cost-effective business communication solutions that support the way people work and engage with your company. But Teams isn’t the only software we can merge into your stack of business communication solutions. We have a global footprint and the ability to integrate the applications that make the most sense for your business. To learn more about our technology solutions, contact us today.