For any business, the ability to reliably communicate with partners, prospects, and customers is an essential prerequisite for success. Not that long ago, landline phone systems based on copper wires dominated the business landscape, but such systems are now falling out of favor and out of use.
In their place, businesses are turning to modern cloud-based phone systems because they offer many important advantages, and switching to them is easier than you think. In fact, you might already have all the necessary prerequisites in place.
Traditional Phone Systems vs. Cloud-Based Phone Systems
Traditional phone systems date to the late 1800s, and they rely on the public switched telephone network (PSTN), which is the aggregate of all national, regional, and local circuit-switched telephone networks—much like the internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks.
The PSTN started as a purely analog network, but it has been almost entirely digitalized to improve its performance and support features like Caller ID and voicemail, among other things.
Cloud-based phone systems are basically Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems that deliver voice communications over the internet and are managed by a service provider hosting the system as a software solution within their own infrastructure.
Unlike their traditional counterparts, cloud-based phone systems are not limited to endpoints that are directly connected to the PSTN, typically through a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) switch. Instead, they work with remote VoIP telephones and softphone applications (running on mobile devices and computers).
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Benefits of Cloud-Based Phone Systems
The benefits of cloud-based phone systems stem from their use of the internet to facilitate the exchange of voice data and their managed nature. They include:
- Cost-effectiveness: Cloud-based phone systems don’t need a landline nor physical phones to work, so their implementation and operation costs are much lower compared with traditional phone systems. As long as you have a decent internet connection, you’re ready to set up a cloud-based phone system.
- Easy implementation: The actual implementation of a cloud-based phone system is easy because there’s no additional hardware to worry about. It’s the job of the service provider hosting the system to provide and maintain the infrastructure the system runs on.
- Improved availability: Remote work arrangements are becoming more and more popular, and cloud-based phone systems are available anywhere and at any time. Employees equipped with them can make, receive, and transfer calls to and from landlines and mobile phone numbers just as easily when working from their homes as when working from the office.
- Lots of features: The features of traditional phone systems pale in comparison with the features of cloud-based phone systems. They include call monitoring, advanced call routing, video conferencing, automatic voicemail transcription, and more.
- Unlimited scalability: The providers of cloud-based phone systems scale their resources based on customer demand, so you can add as many endpoints as you want (or as your subscription plan allows) without extra hardware or IT personal costs.
When choosing a cloud-based phone system provider to take advantage of the above-described benefits, you should always consider your existing IT infrastructure to ensure the system can integrate with it well.
Businesses that rely on Microsoft’s world-leading software products and services can effortlessly implement the cloud-based phone system that’s included in Microsoft Teams and offered as part of the Microsoft 365 productivity suite.
Microsoft Teams Phone System
Many businesses already use Microsoft Teams for hybrid collaboration, scheduling online meetings with high-quality audio and video, getting things done in chat rooms, and sharing files from all kinds of work devices.
The same businesses are sometimes not aware that the business communication platform can not only replace existing PBX systems but also be used to make external phone calls to any landline and mobile number.
These capabilities are provided by the Microsoft Teams Phone add-on, which works with all Teams clients and certified devices. To use Microsoft Teams Phone with external calling, you need to purchase a Microsoft Calling Plan (domestic or domestic and international) or leverage your existing telephony infrastructure for on-premises PSTN connectivity.
Once implemented, Microsoft Teams Phone users can benefit from features like:
- Auto attendants and call queues: make it possible to set up menu options to route calls based on caller input.
- Cloud Voicemail: can deposit voicemail messages in a user’s Exchange mailbox, complete with automatically generated transcripts.
- Calling identity: displays a detailed caller ID that pulls information from the corporate directory to show a picture ID and job title in addition to a phone number.
- Music on hold: plays music when an external call from the PSTN is placed in a call queue.
- Forwarding and transfers: let users forward calls to colleagues or voicemail, and they also allow them to transfer ongoing calls from, for example, their computer to their smartphone or IP phone.
- Video calls: provide users the option to make face-to-face video calls with their contacts using a dedicated or built-in webcam.
It’s Time to Switch
Cloud-based phone systems like Microsoft Teams Phone (and alternatives such as 8×8 or Ring Central) offer a ton of attractive benefits and useful features when compared with traditional phone systems, and employees love their convenience and ease of use.
If you have a reliable internet connection, then you’re ready to take your phone system to the cloud. We at OSIbeyond can help you choose and implement the right solution for your business in a secure and cost-effective manner. Get in touch for more information.