Microsoft 365 Business Voice (Teams telephony services)

Microsoft 365 Business Voice is one of the licencing options you can subscribe to, to make further use of Teams, a Microsoft 365 app to provide your VoIP telephony.  You will need to have a Microsoft 365 licence that includes Teams as an app to extend your use of Teams to include telephony services.

Why use Business Voice from Teams?

Business Voice has emerged as one of the best performing and best value VoIP solutions available.  Forrester highlight the most pertinent benefits for SMEs in this report:

Business Voice saves time.

Adding Microsoft Calling to Teams, and making it more readily accessible from any device, streamlines business processes and reduces the time spent initiating and conducting phone calls whether they are using PSTN calling or online conferencing. This benefit is very similar for both enterprise and SMB customers, with highly mobile workers saving 15 minutes per day and other knowledge workers saving 7.6 minutes per day.

Legacy Telephony process:

Look up the number (takes time)

Pick up the phone (takes time)

Dial the number (takes time and even more time if you misdial!)

Business Voice process:

There’s my number!

Click on the number

It’s ringing (time saved)

Business Voice is more cost effective and flexible

Previous solutions included: plain old telephone service (POTS), voice over IP (VoIP) PBX’s, other hosted/integrated voice providers, or often a mix of many different solutions. In addition to replacing these previous solutions, reductions or eliminations can be made to usage charges in the form of long distance and international calling and providing mobile phones to users.

At the point of publishing, Business Voice offers some of the most cost-effective call plans available.

Business Voice introductory offer from Microsoft

Microsoft are keen to gain a larger market share of the VoIP market and are currently running a promotion which returns a saving if £3 per month per user for the first 12 months.  At the time of publishing we have been advised that licensing subscription must be taken by the end of December 2021.

Business Voice administration

In the past, managing telephony required a different skillset from the rest of the IT organization. Because the Microsoft Voice solutions are part of Teams and Microsoft 365, they can be managed centrally via the same portal and by the same team (your CSP for example) as your Microsoft Office 365 licences. 

Streamlining supplier administration and being able to access licence plans via your existing Teams dashboard makes life easier, saves you time thus saves you money!

Business Voice Hardware is readily available

In addition to the valid points raised by Forrester, the hardware required for Business Voice is now readily available.  Not only does this make life easier but it demonstrates that telephony hardware manufacturers have complete faith in Business Voice as a VoIP solution into the future.

Business Voice offers manageable and timely number porting

Telephony using Microsoft 365 Teams is not a  ‘new’ thing and the number porting process has become increasingly slicker. Ultimately, the timeframe for porting your telephone number(s) is dictated by your existing telephony provider but there are industry rules in place, dictated by Ofcom which, as a general rule of thumb, state a maximum period of 30 days.

Microsoft Teams Business Voice number porting requests are typically completed withing 7 – 14 days via the dedicated Microsoft Business Voice number porting team.

Additional Business Voice benefits

Shared voicemail with Business Voice

Business Voice allows businesses to use a shared voicemail portal so all members in workgroup, can get access to the same voicemail log. 

For example – if a colleague is on holiday, or ill or involved in an all-day meeting, responses to voicemails are not delayed as your workgroup colleague can respond.   This improves your customer and supplier experience.

Shared voicemail portals still provide full transcriptions in Outlook – which enforces improved visibility and communication across your workgroup.

Dial in conferencing using a telephone included with Business Voice

Subscribers now get dial in conferencing free of charge, using a mobile phone or landline.  You can join the conference using only a phone number rather than joining via the app.

Not a new concept, but what is new is that this feature is now included in your Microsoft 365 Business Voice telephony licensing and not, as has historically been the case charged at an inflated call rate.

Thought for the Day

Qi uses Business Voice and now, so do many of our customers.  If you are already onboard with Microsoft 365 then Business Voice (a Teams app) is a logical, cost-effective extension to your existing deployment, to provide your business telephony solution. Contact Qi today to set up Business Voice telephone services.