Are you looking at Microsoft Teams for your business, but want to explore what voice options are available to you? You’re not alone in this struggle.
The rise of Microsoft Teams has been rapid thanks to the shift to remote work. What was once an interesting idea when first unveiled in 2016 is now the undisputed market leader in UCaaS, according to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for UCaaS 2020 report.
So, what can your business do to ensure it’s getting the most value out of Microsoft Teams? And what voice options are best for your business?
The Most Popular Microsoft Teams Voice Options
If you have deployed or plan to deploy Microsoft Teams, it’s important to understand what voice options are available, and the advantages and disadvantages offered by each.
Microsoft Teams offered unparalleled flexibility when it comes to how you deploy and use it within your business. Whether you want a barebones UCaaS solution or a full-featured business phone—Microsoft Teams can do it all.
We put together a brief list of the most Microsoft Teams voice options on the market, which include:
- Option 1 — This lets you keep your existing phone system or service and doesn’t require you to integrate it with Microsoft Teams.
- Option 2 — Ideal for companies looking to make a full transition to the Microsoft Teams phone system.
- Option 3 — An integrated approach that takes your current Hosted PBX service and integrates it with Microsoft Teams.
- Option 4 — A popular option for businesses looking to reduce costs by integrating their existing IP PBX system with Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft has really committed to the idea of making Teams as accessible as possible. As a business owner, you have a lot of control over how you use Teams, what features you unlock, and whether you want to leverage existing IT investments.
While any of these options are perfectly suitable—we want you to better understand what you stand to gain from each.
Option 1: Use Microsoft Teams Without Changing Your Existing Phone System
This option is considered the barebones deployment. You will gain access to a powerful UCaaS platform in Microsoft Teams without integrating your business phone system.
What are the advantages of option 1?
- Minimal disruption to the organization
- No training required
- Maintain existing hardware, including user handsets
What are the disadvantages of option 1?
- No voice integration with your Microsoft Teams collaboration solution
- Unable to utilize Microsoft Teams softphones and/or mobile devices for PSTN calling
- Limit user flexibility and single MS Teams interface for voice, video, and chat
We often see companies start with this option when first exploring the idea of rolling out Microsoft Teams across the organization. And while this option gives you access to an industry-leading UCaaS platform, the lack of voice integration leaves a lot to be desired.
It’s not uncommon for companies to quickly explore the other options after realizing they are missing a significant part of the core functionality that makes Microsoft Teams such an attractive solution.
If your company is looking to deploy a UCaaS solution to keep your employees connected and collaborative, this is a good starting point.
Option 2: Make a Full Transition to the Microsoft Teams Phone System
Are you looking for more than a barebones UCaaS solution? Then option 2 may be the right choice for you.
With this option, you would purchase a Microsoft Calling Plan or use Direct Routing from a carrier to use the Microsoft Teams phone system for all your voice needs.
What are the advantages of option 2?
- Your voice is fully integrated with Microsoft Teams
- You can use Teams softphone and mobile devices
- Eliminate the need for third-party IP PBX or Hosted PBX services
What are the disadvantages of option 2?
- You must rely on Microsoft for your phone system support
- Complex PBX setup and support
- May require third-party support and management for the phone system
- Requires a PSTN connectivity solution such as the Microsoft Teams Calling Plan or Direct Routing
If you’d rather offload the IT and support aspects of your phone system, this may be the right choice for you. However, should something go wrong, you are reliant on a larger company like Microsoft for support.
You may not receive the same level of personalized support you would expect from a specialized provider.
Option 3: Integrate Your Current or New Hosted PBX Service With Microsoft Teams
One of the greatest advantages of Microsoft Teams is the flexibility it offers when it comes to leveraging voice capabilities.
With option 3, you can use a Hosted PBX system, fully integrate it with Microsoft Teams, and use the Teams softphone and mobile devices.
What are the advantages of option 3?
- Use a Hosted PBX platform and features to fully integrate with Microsoft Teams softphones and mobile devices
- No direct routing or Microsoft Calling Plan required
- Easily build and manage customized solutions and call flows to enhance productivity
- Leverage your internal IT team or offload support to a Hosted PBX provider
- Access voice on a separate platform for redundancy
What are the disadvantages of option 3?
- Limited Hosted PBX providers with Teams integration experience
- Requires a phone system license with Microsoft to use the softphone and mobile device functionality
For companies looking for a cloud-based PBX system and to fully unlock Microsoft Teams, this is the right option. It gives you full access to Microsoft Teams and a powerful, feature-rich Hosted PBX service.
Option 4: Integrate Your IP PBX System With Microsoft Teams
Option 4 continues to be a popular option because it allows companies to leverage their existing investment in an IP PBX system.
This option lets you fully integrate your current IP PBX system, features, and phones with Microsoft Teams, allowing you to leverage the Teams softphone and mobile devices.
What are the advantages of option 4?
- Keep your existing phone system and handsets
- No need to train on a new system
- Fully integrate your system with Microsoft Teams
- No new incremental phone system investments required
What are the disadvantages of option 4?
- You will need to pay to maintain and upgrade your IP PBX system
- An experienced solutions provider may be needed to complete the integration
We see many companies use option 4 because it allows them to justify previous IT investments. Thanks to how dynamic Microsoft Teams is, this is a great way for businesses to drive additional value out of those investments before upgrading in the future.
Which Microsoft Teams Voice Option Should I Choose?
- Option 1 is best if you are not ready to make any changes at this time. Maybe you have other IT projects or just recently implemented Microsoft Teams and are not ready to make any changes to your current voice system or service.
- Option 2 is best when you want to completely overhaul your existing system. You should choose this if you are ready to change out your existing phone system or service and move everything to Microsoft Teams.
- Option 3 is best if you want a fully integrated Microsoft Teams deployment using a Hosted PBX service. This option lets you access powerful features, flexibility, and support of a Hosted PBX service with full softphone and mobile device functionality.
- Option 4 is less disruptive and allows you to utilize your existing PBX system and desktop phones. This option is great if you don’t want to make any significant changes to your existing system, upgrade, or purchase equipment—but want to integrate the Microsoft Teams softphone and mobile device with your current IP PBX system.
Need Help Making the Right Choice? G12 Communications Can Help
We think it’s important for every company to understand their voice deployment options in the Microsoft Teams environment. This powerful solution gives you a lot of choice and flexibility when it comes to voice integration.
Whether you’re trying to extend the life of your existing phone system, avoid the cost of new desk phones, enhance system flexibility, provide user mobility, or build a fully integrated system for the future—G12 Communications can help you evaluate all the options available to you, so you can find the best solution for your business.
Are you interested in learning more about your Microsoft Teams voice service options? Contact one of our Microsoft Teams voice specialists today by calling (877) 311-8750, Option 1, or by emailing sales@G12COM.com.