What is enterprise voice? For most businesses, it’s a simple question with a surprisingly complex answer. At its best, enterprise voice is a comprehensive and integrated communications solution for all your business needs. But that’s just the beginning.
Over the last few years, business communications have seen a drastic overhaul as companies adjusted to a more remote, flexible, and hybrid workforce. The cloud telephony market is growing nearly 10% globally every year, and that growth expands to nearly 15% when considering the United States alone.
In that environment, enterprise voice has become an increasingly important consideration. Implemented the right way—and with the right features—it brings significant benefits to businesses of all sizes.
The fundamentals of this concept begin with the obvious question—what is enterprise voice?— but they go far beyond that to consider the increasing need for a cloud-based enterprise solution, its typical features and benefits, and how it can integrate with your existing communications tools like MS Teams.
Just the Basics: What is Enterprise Voice?
At its core, enterprise voice refers to the stack of technology that helps businesses of all sizes communicate with each other and with external audiences. It’s a unified communications tool that may include anything from traditional desktop phones using landlines to VoIP phones leveraging internet connections and cloud technology.
Of course, most organizations asking what is enterprise voice likely look for answers more specifically related to cloud technology, which offers much-needed flexibility and scalability. The idea, though, remains the same. If you are looking for technology that helps you communicate more efficiently via any voice-based channels, from audio and video conferencing to customer support lines, you’re looking for an enterprise voice solution.
Finally, enterprise voice differs from other business voice solutions because of its comprehensive nature. Beyond simply offering some phone lines, it includes essential business communication capabilities like advanced call features, call routing, three-way calling, and conferencing to create an integrated phone infrastructure. The goal is comprehensive and effective voice communication with all audiences.
The Increasing Need for Modern Enterprise Voice Solutions
As mentioned above, enterprise voice in theory can refer to both legacy systems and more modern, cloud-based solutions. In reality, though, the need for cloud-based enterprise voice systems becomes increasingly clear every year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way businesses work. Nearly 15% of employees now work fully remotely, with another 30% working in a hybrid environment. Moreover, 98% of employees now want to work remotely at least part of the time, suggesting that this trend is far from over.
Against that backdrop, more flexible communications systems are an absolute key element of today’s successful businesses. In addition, legacy on-premise enterprise voice systems have some distinct drawbacks that further suggest an increasing need to digitize and modernize:
- Cost control, with on-premise voice systems costing significantly more in both installation and maintenance.
- Physical boundaries, limiting the ability to use voice solutions anywhere beyond the premises where the system is installed.
- Stagnancy, particularly making it difficult to scale up and down as business needs change.
- Typically separated voice from other communications and collaboration tools.
- A lack of reporting and analytics data that could help businesses better understand their performance and phone needs.
These drawbacks have made legacy business and enterprise voice systems difficult to manage for businesses of all sizes. Modernization is a necessity—if only to simplify and streamline all of your communications into a single, flexible, scalable solution.
The Core Features of Modern Enterprise Voice Services
In many ways, modern and cloud-based enterprise voice has rapidly gained popularity specifically because of the above-mentioned drawbacks of more traditional systems. Solutions that truly embrace this type of approach tend to share a few core features that make them appealing for businesses of all sizes, including:
- SIP Trunking that takes legacy phone solutions and transfers those phone lines to the cloud for more flexible and scalable management and maintenance.
- Conference calling that enables more complex communications, both for employees and external audiences that need more than a simple call to a support representative.
- Advanced call features, like call routing and visual voicemail that streamlines the experience for both employees and external audiences.
- Direct software integrations to connect the voice system with MS Teams, a CRM platform, and other applications necessary to integrate with the larger workflow.
- Advanced reporting features to enable a clear overview of not only overarching phone usage and performance, but individual calls to maximize performance.
- Fewer limitations on potential growth, with the ability to easily add phone numbers or user licenses as the business and its needs evolve over time.
- More customized user roles that enable your business to manage even the most complex voice needs, like setting up distributed call centers.
Of course, not every system is the same. The solution you choose may not include all of these features, or it may go beyond them in some ways. A close examination of what you get when moving to a new enterprise voice system is vital to ensuring that all of your current and future business needs will be met.
5 Benefits of Enterprise Voice Solutions for Businesses
Find an enterprise voice system with just the right features, and the benefits to your business can be immense. Those benefits are especially clear when comparing enterprise voice with both legacy voice solutions and more limited business voice alternatives. Generally speaking, they include:
- Increased flexibility. Because your voice system is no longer bound by physical infrastructure, you can easily scale your system up and down. And, because systems like SIP trunking work anywhere with a network connection, remote and hybrid employees can link in just as easily as your on-premise workforce.
- Reduced costs. From complicated billing to ongoing on-premise maintenance, legacy phone systems can quickly become cost-prohibitive. It’s why alternative solutions like MS Teams have become so popular in the first place. Moving to the cloud for all your voice needs eliminates unnecessary costs and streamlines your budget.
- Improved expertise. Hosted voice services require working with an external partner. But once you find the right one, that benefit becomes significant. You now have dedicated support staff and enterprise voice expertise you can rely on any time the system needs help or updating.
- Streamlined operations. With modern enterprise voice, you no longer need separate networks for phone and data. It all works through a single network. And, with the right integrations in place, you can streamline your operations even further to minimize the number of systems and networks you have to keep up with.
- Advanced intelligence. Digitizing your voice needs also means being able to report on usage and success rates in ways that legacy phone systems simply cannot keep up with. That intelligence, in turn, can go a long way toward improving efficiencies and growing your business over time.
Combine these advantages, and the overarching benefits of moving to a cloud-based enterprise voice solution become clear, especially as you consider the opportunities presented through integrating with a solution like MS Teams to streamline all of your communications needs.
Integrating Enterprise Voice With MS Teams
There’s a close connection between enterprise voice systems and MS Teams. Both solve similar needs as communications platforms that are designed to create a more flexible, distributed environment. But both have slightly different purposes, with Teams focusing largely on internal collaboration and communication and voice adding high-level phone capabilities to the mix.
Microsoft has looked to build a more comprehensive solution through MS Teams Phone, but that solution is still relatively limited and can best be described as a business voice, not an enterprise voice solution.
The key, then, is finding a way to integrate a true enterprise voice system into your MS Teams license. This type of integration ensures that you can get all of the above-mentioned benefits and features of enterprise voice, without losing the collaboration features that Teams can provide. The right partner can build this type of integration to provide a truly comprehensive communication platform for your business.
The Importance of the Right Partnership for Integrated Enterprise Voice
Of course, all of the above benefits are merely theoretical. They might be true for your business, but only if the implementation goes well—which is where working with an experienced partner becomes important—one who can work with you to embrace a comprehensive UCaaS solution or integrate parts of enterprise voice, like SIP Trunking and Managed SIP. Reliability is as important as security to build solutions on your behalf that can serve all of your business communications and enterprise voice solutions.
That partner needs to do more than simply answer the question, what is enterprise voice? Far beyond that, you should expect a partnership that embraces the underlying benefits and reasons for this type of service to begin with. Customization for your unique business needs, improved cost efficiencies, professionalism, and a problem-solving mindset are key.
That’s where BCM One enters the equation. Founded in 1992, our experience has driven the building of comprehensive enterprise solutions like Voice Enabled Teams. Working with us means gaining a reliable partner for your voice technology stack, integrated with ongoing support for the duration of our partnership. Contact us today to discuss your situation and see how we can help streamline all your business communications.