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  • Writer's pictureRick Woolsey

Microsoft 365 Business Voice: Our Phone Experiment

As a Microsoft Partner, Ascent3 IT incorporates Microsoft into our processes, from Microsoft 365 to SharePoint Online, to Microsoft Teams, as it helps us better support our customers because we use these systems every day. It makes it easier to understand support and access issues and provide guidance on implementing these systems.

This is where our most recent experiment comes in. As an IT Provider with an expanding customer base, we identified that we needed to implement a new phone system and we had some initial requirements that needed to be met:

  • A single number to dial in to for Sales and Support

  • A real telephone number that is not tied to a specific location (we operate as a distributed workforce)

  • Call Routing from our main number to our team

  • Direct dial options for each team member

  • Caller ID, Voicemail and Voicemail to Email

  • Ability to collaborate with/transfer calls to our team members

  • Ability to take calls on our cell or on our computers

Long gone are the days that your choices are limited to your local telecom company for your main phone connection and having physical phones on your desk. There are so many options out there for internet hosted VOIP (Voice Over IP) systems, so we (like many of our customers) were trying to identify where to start. We started with a google search for top solutions for a small business, and looked at large and small providers. We looked at our web site provider as they recently introduced a phone system plan, however it did not check all our requirements boxes. And then… we got an email from Microsoft as they had recently incorporated Microsoft 365 Business Voice in as an option for Microsoft 365 where you can add it to your licensing bundle for those that need it.

With our existing Microsoft 365 bundle, we were already making use of all of the other Microsoft 365 tools including Teams and Exchange Online, so we decided to use ourselves as the guinea pigs and test out Microsoft’s 365 Business Voice phone system.

Here is what we learned:

It was a quick and easy implementation overall.

  1. Quick and easy implementation/Ease of Licensing: We were able to very quickly add Microsoft’s 365 Business Voice licensing to our Microsoft 365 account, setup an auto attendant and call routing, obtain phone numbers and assign them to our team members

  2. Phones are working & working well: Our phone numbers were available and up and running almost immediately, with all features working. The system uses Microsoft Teams as its central location for making and receiving calls, so for users not familiar with Teams, there will be a bit of a learning curve. We were already leveraging Microsoft Teams for our inter team collaboration and instant messaging, so we found it an easy transition that enabled even easier collaboration with the addition of a phone/voice component.

  3. Quick technical support: Microsoft allows a 30 day try-before-you-buy trial that we took advantage of. Upon moving from the trial license to the subscription license, we encountered an issue and did need to leverage the Microsoft Teams/365 technical support and they resolved the issue very quickly with no interruption of service.

Interested in the potential of moving to Microsoft 365 Business Voice for your business phones? Let’s chat.

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