If your medium- to small-business model doesn’t include telecommuting, remote work, or a bring your own device (BYOD) policy, ignore the rest of this post. However, if your business meets one of these elements, then read on.
The following examines a few ways a hosted VoIP integrated with Microsoft Lync (now Skype for Business) is right for your business.
A single application for your telecommunications needs
Office 365 and Lync combined make up a fully integrated hosted VoIP solution for business. Rather than purchasing and managing individual applications and components, Lync includes chat, video, call center, phone clients, and more. This solution combines multiple telecommunications pieces under a single umbrella.
Lync uses your calendar and usage history to notify your phone when you are busy whether you are on a call, in a meeting, or not in the office. This way, co-workers know your availability so they can attempt to contact you when you are free. This minimizes the time others spend trying to contact you if they already have an idea of your schedule.
If Microsoft is your vendor of choice, why use an external vendor for business meetings? The need for an additional login and password for another vendor’s product is eliminated since you can integrate Lync with your other suite of Microsoft tools. Lync allows those internal and external to your business to share information by following a link. For example, if you are on a call with a client and want to share a presentation, you simply just click the share button while on the call so both you can be viewing the same presentation simultaneously.
You can save your business money with hosted Lync by adding more features at no additional cost. Hosted VoIP contains built-in call center functions, which eliminate the need to install more software at an additional cost. Hosted VoIP also eliminates the need for a separate IP PBX or legacy servers to run a telephone system. This also eliminates annual maintenance and additional configuration. If you don’t wish to have a complex solution, Hosted VoIP through Lync is perfect for your business.
Because Lync is brought to you over the Cloud, you can record chat records, video, and conference calls quickly and easily. Local and long distance calls are built into the monthly fee for Office 365. This is perfect for remote and telecommute workers. As long as you have an Internet connection, your workers just have to set up the connection and begin their call. For BYOD employees they can simply download the Lync app and connect to your network.
Establish a consistent presence
If you use Office 365 already, Lync can establish an integrated presence you cannot achieve with an external phone solution. Lync integrates with Exchange so when someone sends you an email and they see your online presence is green, that person knows they can follow up with a quick IM or call to ensure they received your message. This level of consistency is difficult to achieve if using another VoIP solution.
Keep your existing phones
Other hosted VoIP solutions require you to purchase special IP phones in order to benefit from additional features. With Lync, you can use virtually any phone or headset you wish as long as it is IP compatible. With Lync, the features are tied to the software not the hardware.
Use your existing LAN
If you already have a VoIP system, you can utilize Lync over it. You may wish to do an assessment before deploying any new VoIP system. Lync connectivity places major emphasis on Quality of Service (QoS) settings through Express Route.
Lync calls are even secure without a VPN. Let’s face it — if your remote workers happen to stop by a pizza place with free WiFi, they are going to connect to it. Security is often at the back of people’s mind when it comes to Internet connectivity. This is why Lync comes with its own security built-in.
Think outside the VPN
A VPN doesn’t always offer a feature to manage the QoS of a voice network anyway. If your business spans multiple locations, you need to ensure a way to support QoS. This is possible through the Multiprotocol Label Switching to connect locations while offering the optimal performance standards for your hosted VoIP.
Back to basics
Unless you are a large enterprise, your business doesn’t need all the bells and whistles offered by mainstream hosted VoIP features. Does your business really need an auto attendant or find me follow me capability for a phone system? An auto attendant may make your business seem larger than it is, which can actually be a turn-off to some customers. Sometimes customers just want to be able to dial a number and reach a human in the first call instead of being dazzled by an auto attendant that provides multiple options and just routes all calls to a couple of numbers anyway. In business, sometimes less is more.
Are you ready to integrate your hosted VoIP with Microsoft Lync? Learn more about Agile IT’s VoIP phone system for Office 365 services to find out how we can help.