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What is Microsoft 365 Business Voice? A guide for SMBs

It’s hard to pick up a newspaper currently without seeing the news of some of our household names struggling in their marketplace. But conversely, for smaller companies business is booming. Indeed, there were 5.9 million SMBs in the UK in 2019, accounting for over 99% of all businesses[1].

However, with so much competition the pressure can be on for SMBs to remain competitive. That means trying to keep ahead of the digital curve whilst ensuring great ROI. Previously, access to the most cutting-edge communications solutions could be cost prohibitive for small- and medium-sized businesses, and often became an obstacle to deployment.

For instance, businesses with any number of users can leverage Microsoft Enterprise Voice; a complete Voice over IP (VoIP) solution that is a core component of Teams and integrates with Exchange. Headsets or VoIP-enabled phones replace traditional PSTN/PBX phones, with calling managed through the Teams interface.

That’s where Microsoft 365 Business Voice comes in, announced at Ignite 2019 in Florida for the UK and Canada.

What is Microsoft 365 Business Voice?

Put simply, Microsoft 365 Business Voice offers most of the same benefits as Enterprise Voice, but without  the higher price tag. It’s limited to businesses of 300 users and under, giving smaller organisations a cost-effective way to leverage a single interface for calling, conferencing and chat.

It integrates seamlessly with Office 365, connecting Teams and Outlook for access to your contacts and calendar, as well as making Word, Excel and PowerPoint available for in-call collaboration. Complete with a phone system, domestic calling plan and audio conferencing, it’s essentially a replacement for your PBX and offers a sophisticated, Cloud-based phone and collaboration system built on a well-established and resilient platform. The interface is simple and efficient – making its straightforward for user adoption – and its virtual nature allows you to connect via any Microsoft Teams-enabled device, whether on your desktop, mobile, web browser or desk phone.

There’s also a 99.9% uptime guarantee, but choosing the right technology partner can help mitigate any additional costs should the worse happen. For instance, Transparity’s CSP customers get a free Bronze Support Service, with out-of-hours and severe issues escalated to Microsoft.

Why is Microsoft 365 Business Voice a good choice for SMBs?

The biggest advantage for SMBs is the cost savings Microsoft 365 Business Voice brings. Firstly, it offers a transparent price for telephony starting at just £12 per user, per month, making it easier for you to budget. It’s Cloud-based so you can scale up and down with ease – meaning you’re not tied into paying for more licenses than you need – and negates the time and expense associated with maintaining a traditional PBX.

 You can also consolidate your systems and billing, disposing of expensive on-premise infrastructure or other existing voice platforms and negating the need to go to another interface to make a simple phone call. And with the collaboration features offered in Teams, your users will be able to communicate and work together much more easily and effectively.

What about the peripherals?

Microsoft 365 Business Voice connects easily with Teams-compatible headsets, desk phones and conference phones, with a wide selection available from a variety of vendors.

We recommend Yealink as experts in voice communications and video conferencing, who have a variety of products designed for use with Microsoft solutions at affordable prices. These work particularly well for Microsoft Teams Rooms, allowing you to bring your staff together in one location for conferencing without compromising on call quality.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can also pick up Microsoft’s Surface Headphones or even their new Surface Earbuds, which have the added benefit of voice-controlled Outlook calendar and email features. The Earbuds can also pick up your speech and display captions in real-time if you’re giving a presentation, or even translate into one of 60+ languages.

How do I get started?

Moving to Microsoft 365 Business Voice with Transparity is a breeze. Just get in touch with us at hello@transparity.com to book a complimentary consultation.

[1] The House of Commons Library

JESSICA PATTISON

SMB SECTOR LEAD

Jess has a wealth of experience in working with customers on their Cloud journey, driving effective change and modernising workplaces through the use of Cloud technology. Prior to joining Transparity, Jess had over 13 years' experience as a Senior Account Manager , with responsibility for some of the company’s biggest accounts. Jess’ key strengths include strategy, change management and user adoption, process improvement, and bringing together multi-disciplined teams.