These days it must be a struggle for businesses to keep track of their subscriptions. It’s smart to have staff protected by an antivirus, tracking the company’s finances is so much easier with online accounting software, and having an enterprise subscription to a password manager could help bolster the system’s overall security. And now a VoIP subscription should be added to the ever-growing list of services that businesses have to subscribe to?
Granted there are benefits to signing up to a cloud phone service – integration with third-party software can be useful, for example – but let’s face it, it still wouldn’t properly solve the problem that is the need to hop between different platforms developed by different companies. However, that’s not the case if you have a Microsoft Office 365 subscription; in fact, it only takes a few clicks to move your whole phone system to Microsoft’s cloud and make it part of the Office 365 network.
What Office 365 Calling Plans Have to Offer
One of the best things about Office 365 subscriptions is that not only do they contain all available Office programs – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and the like – but they also come with Skype for Business, a more advanced version of Skype with many extra features that the basic program doesn’t have. The issue here, however, is that Skype for Business underperforms as a VoIP, and not just because it’s impossible to handle calls placed to and received from landline and mobile numbers without Skype credits and a virtual phone number.
This is where Office 365 Calling Plans enter the picture since they perfectly complement the already existing Skype for Business subscription with the most important features associated with VoIP, namely call forwarding, dial by number, call holding, voicemail management, and even the option to hook up desk phones to the system. Although there are certain features that can only be handled within the Microsoft Teams app, when Office 365’s calling plan is up and running, call handling features become available in the Skype client, too – but only after they are activated within the Office 365 admin center.
Introduction to Office 365 VoIP
A Pricey Add-on
Even if it’s convenient for businesses to rely on Microsoft to handle everything from word processing and emails to instant messaging and calls, this still comes at a price – in both a figurative and literal sense. For starters, Office 365 Calling Plans are only available for those users who have already purchased an Office 365 E1, E3, or E5 subscription. And this is just the beginning: not only do the domestic and international calling plans cost $12 per month per user and $24 per month per user respectively but you will also have to add Microsoft’s Phone System into the mix – unless you own an Office 365 E5 subscription – which increases your expenses by $8 per month per user.
Admittedly, the prices of Office 365’s calling plans aren’t that different from those of other VoIP providers and the company provides the most necessary cloud telephony features – as well as a decent number of free domestic minutes – but when it comes to value for money, it’s safe to say that there are indeed better VoIP solutions than Microsoft’s virtual phone service.
An Offer Worth Reconsidering
Seeing that Microsoft is more than capable of providing advanced VoIP features for its Office 365 subscribers via Skype for Business, it’s kind of a disappointment that the company’s calling plans cannot up the ante and become a true competitor of other VoIP providers. However, not all is lost for Office 365 users: they just have to adopt unconventional methods to enjoy the benefits of Microsoft’s applications alongside an enterprise-grade VoIP solution that truly provides everything that businesses need no matter their size. RingCentral offers just that by providing its clients the option to integrate their cloud phone systems into Microsoft Office 365.
Once the merge is complete, RingCentral becomes an integral part of all Office applications in the form of a convenient widget. It also seamlessly integrates with Skype for Business as well, meaning that you can continue enjoying the advanced instant messaging features of the software while placing and receiving landline and mobile calls within Skype’s client by using your RingCentral minutes. And if that’s not enough, not only do all RingCentral plans provide unlimited minutes and features like faxing, advanced conferencing and much more, but they are all available at unbeatable prices that get even cheaper the longer the subscription is and the more people use the same system.
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