The world has pivoted to remote work, and while many will eventually return to the office, there is much to be said for video conferencing and collaboration tools.
MS Teams was already seeing heavy adoption before the pandemic, due to being bundled with the rest of the Office365 suite. Some schools are using MS Teams for remote education, and many employers are strongly motivated to leverage video conferencing. This has also led to a lot more interest in MS Voice.
What is Microsoft Voice?
Microsoft Voice is a VOIP solution integrated into Microsoft 365. It includes secure VOIP, audio conferencing, and a calling plan that gives you access to any number, including migrating existing phone numbers.
It’s integrated with Teams and Outlook so that contacts and calendars are synced and you can use the same app for both voice calls and videoconferencing. Unlike Teams, it is an optional add-on to the Microsoft 365 plan, but it is reasonably priced.
Pros of Microsoft Voice
The biggest pro is, of course, the integration into Office 365, allowing you to use the same contacts. It works on multiple devices. The system is also easy to set up and manage.
You do not need to maintain a PBX and everything is handled in the cloud, resulting in a smaller resource use for smaller buildings. In fact, most UCaaS providers offer some kind of MS Teams Voice capability rather than their own, as it’s hard to compete with the level of integration and ease of use.
It is generally cheaper than most other VOIP services for smaller offices. The product is intended for small to medium-sized businesses. Microsoft also offers an Enterprise Voice offering for larger companies. If you are already using Microsoft Teams, the add-on may appear to be a no-brainer. And, of course, you have all of the VOIP advantages, such as forwarding calls to wherever a team member happens to be, improved call quality over traditional landlines, etc.
Cons of Microsoft Voice
There are, of course, some downsides to using Microsoft Voice. Here are some of the more significant ones:
- Microsoft tends to change how their licensing and subscriptions work frequently, often resulting in confusion.
- The plans are charged by user, meaning that the system does not scale up well. It maxes out at 300 seats.
- Microsoft has poor global reach; although dominant in the U.S., the services are only available in 10 countries, which could be an issue for global organizations. Business Voice itself can only be directly purchased in the U.S., U.K. and Canada; those in other countries have to find a Microsoft partner
- Every provider who offers MS Voice capability does so differently, and they tend not to be clear.
In other words, there is a lot of confusion about how to deploy MS Teams Voice, as well as about whether it is the best solution for your company. Your best course of action may depend on the size and needs of your company, the location of your offices, and what other software services you need.
If you are confused, you are not alone. A lot of companies look at the product and read through all of the FAQs, and still aren’t sure how best to manage it. This is where StrataCore comes in. As a Trusted Advisor, we can guide you to make the right decision for your specific circumstances.
Check out this webinar – it’s 60 minutes long, but pure gold. Then contact StrataCore to find out how we can help you best deploy Microsoft Teams Voice or another VOIP solution to suit your needs. We can also offer advice on cloud services, data centers and cyber security…on, in fact, all of your IT needs.