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The simple way businesses add phone service to Microsoft Teams

Please see our Work from Home guide for you to share with your teams. We hope you find this useful.

Even though it seems like every business large and small is pushing for mandatory video conferencing, the fact is that phone calls are still very popularrecent study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 69 percent of American adults said they prefer phone calls over other communication methods. People know phone calls are quick, easy, and are not going away any time soon. When it comes to businesses, a phone system connects both customers and employees 

But business telephone services have drastically changed just in the past five years. More companies are replacing the old public branch exchange (PBX) business phone systems stored in an office closet for modern cloud-based solutions with no on-site telephony hardware installedAnd the 2020 pandemic accelerated many company’s initiatives to move their information technology (IT) into the cloud—including their phone systems. For companies using Microsoft 365, a new turnkey option can not only replace an on-site PBX with a 100% cloud-based telephony system but also seamlessly integrate with Microsoft Teams to add one-click phone calls into the app for all of your employees. 

Microsoft Business Voice enables every employee with the Microsoft Teams app to make and receive calls from the public switched telephone network (PSTN) infrastructure used to make legacy phone calls around the world. Amaxra uses Microsoft Business Voice for our employees and have used it to replace traditional telephony providers and in-house phone systems for our clients over the past year. Based on our real-world experience deploying Microsoft Business Voice with Microsoft Teams, Amaxra has these considerations for all entrepreneurs with small to midsized business (SMB) wanting to movyour phone system to the cloud. See below on how you can get 25% off Microsoft 365 Business Voice for 1 year.

Combining telephony with Microsoft Teams enhances business productivity

The rise of business collaboration apps such as Microsoft Teams just in the past few years have drastically altered how people work. Dedicated on-site PBX hardware for business phone calls from providers Avaya and Cisco are just not designed to work with cloud-based collaboration apps. As such, these legacy PBX systems are good at only one thing: routing incoming and outgoing phone calls. However, in a modern data-driven business, that means all of the important information contained in phone calls are siloed. You can get no business intelligence out of a legacy PBX because when the call came in, who made it, how long they talked, and other data is separated from whatever actions employees are taking before, during, and after the call. Contrast this with Microsoft Business Voice telephony solution where phone calls are integrated into Microsoft Teams. Collaboration and customer support is measurably better when phone calls are just one more tool in the toolbox of shared files, quick conversationsand calendar meetings your business already uses with Microsoft 365. And the Microsoft Business Voice system delivers all of the must-have “standard” calling features that businesses rely on such as Caller ID, three-way calling, voicemail (with automatic transcription of the call sent to your email), music on hold, and the ability to intelligently route incoming calls by time zone, language, or availability. It is literally all of the features of an on-site PBX system but in a cloud-based solution that seamlessly integrates with all of the Microsoft 365 apps your employees count on every day. 

Microsoft Business Voice means you never have to upgrade your phone system

Amaxra consultants know from working with CIOs and IT administrators that replacing an on-site PBX can be a hassle. There is a cost in time and effort required to “rip and replace” any existing business system that works—leaving many SMBs to keep their PBX in service as long as possibleWhile both the CIO and the CFO might agree that a cloud-based phone service like Microsoft Business Voice is always up to date with the latest features, they often are leery of the downtime required to replace an old system.  

One of the many reasons Amaxra consultants advocate for companies to switch to Microsoft Business Voice systems is that the process of migrating from legacy hardware is relatively simple. All existing business phone numbers can be migrated from any other provider (including tollfree numbers) from the Microsoft Teams admin panel. Once the numbers are ported, employees can make phone calls from a Windows laptop, a Mac, and any iPhone or Android device using the Microsoft Teams app. If employees have standard “desk phones,” nothing changes once they are moved to Microsoft Business Voice—everything just works. Most importantly, there is no complex set up required for end users when they need to use their desk phone or Microsoft Teams app to make phone calls. As soon as users sign into their Microsoft 365 account, their phone system is activated and ready to go. 

Integrated telephony in Microsoft Teams is simple and cost effective

Microsoft Business Voice is available in 70 countries for SMBs with 300 or fewer employees. The majority of Amaxra clients are in the USA and every Business Voice plan includes 3,000 calling minutes that work in both the United States and Canada. In the UK, the plan includes only 1,200 minutes. These minutes are “pooled” for the company and depends on the country or region and the number of Business Voice licenses that are assigned to your users, not the number of Business Voice licenses that you purchased. For example, if your business purchased ten Business Voice licenses total for employees in the United States but are currently only using three licenses, you’ll have a total of 9,000 minutes in your pool (3 licenses times 3,000 minutes per user). 

Companies with any Microsoft 365 plan can add Microsoft Business Voice to any Microsoft Teams user, but it’s important to note that it is only needed if the user needs to make and receive calls from external phone numbers. This is because Microsoft Teams allows for unlimited voice (and video) calls to all internal users regardless of whether or not those users have a phone. An illustrative real-world example that Amaxra consultants often use is light manufacturing business. On the factory floor, there are ten employees on the production line and another five employees in the upstairs office. The factory employees only need to call other employees within company and do so using the Microsoft Teams app on their mobile phonesBut along with the occasional calls to the workers on the factory floor, the employees in the office also need to make and receive phone calls to and from suppliers, partners, and customers. In this scenarioAmaxra would optimize the Microsoft licenses so that only the office workers need Business Voice licensessaving the company money a lot of money by not selling more than double the amount needed. 

Limited-time discounts available for new clients

Amaxra is a Gold-level Microsoft Partner with extensive experience deploying Microsoft Business Voice solutions for SMBs. With Amaxra, you can receive a discount on Microsoft 365 Business Voice for your first year. This opportunity for Microsoft Business Voice is for new customers signing on or before April 30, 2021. Connect with an Amaxra consultant to learn how you can enhance your business productivity with a cloud-based unified communications solution from Microsoft and save around 25% per user for your first twelve months.  

Contact me at rosalyn.arntzen@amaxra.com or call 425 749 7471 if you have any questions or comments on this blog.

about the author

Rosalyn Arntzen

Rosalyn Arntzen, President & CEO of Amaxra, founded Amaxra in 2007 after a successful career working for several multi-national companies around the world. Under her leadership, Amaxra is proud to have been on the Inc 500/5000 fastest growing companies in 2013 and 2016. You can contact Rosalyn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/rosalynarntzen.

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The advantage of Microsoft Teams for remote work is that an entire organization can use any device to seamlessly create, communicate, and collaborate with internal peers and external partners safely and securely. Audio Conferencing enables users to join meetings using a phone line with many dial-in numbers available for major cities around the world.

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