When it comes to integrating calling into Microsoft Teams, integrating calling services from a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) provider provides small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) with a number of benefits.
In a recent survey of 187 SMBs (defined as those with up to 400 employees) in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, Metrigy found that the majority of SMBs prefer using dedicated UCaaS services for calling, even if they use Microsoft Teams for messaging and videoconferencing. Further investigation revealed the benefits of this approach include:
- Lower costs
- Greater reliability
- Advanced calling and contact center capabilities
In fact, according to a recent Metrigy report, 72% of SMBs currently using Microsoft Teams for messaging and meetings—along with a separate UCaaS provider for calling—plan to maintain their existing calling services.
👀 When it comes to Microsoft Teams and telephony, why do small businesses prefer UCaaS providers? Access the full Metrigy report to find out.
Why it’s important to invest in communications
Let’s face it. If you have a small business, you can’t afford to spend money that doesn’t profit your business in some way. You need to see a good return on every investment you make.
But how do you measure the return on investment in a UCaaS solution? The research revealed that almost half (47.1%) of SMBs measure the benefits of communications investments in one of three ways:
- Cost savings that result from spending less on legacy or disparate apps
- Revenue increases that result from improving sales team support and expanding business capacity
- Productivity gains from improving process speeds, shortening project cycles, and reducing the number of apps employees must access throughout their day
Survey respondents who saw measurable benefits from their communications investments achieved, on average, the following results:
That’s pretty impressive!
Let’s take a look at the current landscape
Just like larger enterprises, many SMBs are now working with a distributed workforce with either a hybrid or completely remote business model. More than ever before, SMBs must ensure that all employees can communicate and collaborate effectively from anywhere at any time.
How can you ensure that for your business? If you’re like most SMBs, you’re likely turning to cloud-based apps to get the job done. Approximately a quarter of SMBs (22.4%) now use UCaaS as their only communication suite, and another 12.7% use UCaaS in combination with an existing on-premises platform.
Why SMBs adopt UCaaS
UCaaS attracts SMBs because it:
- Enables SMBs to scale as they grow—without requiring additional investments in on-premises hardware or extensive management costs
- Reduce costs (specifically management costs to run on-premises servers)
- Offers better support for remote employees
- Enables better user experiences
- Provides better security (especially for toll-fraud prevention)
SMBs expand to CCaaS
Over a quarter (28%) of SMBs also choose Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) to take advantage of even bigger benefits. CCaaS provides a fully-featured call center service that can support sales, customer service, and technical support teams. Companies that combine UCaaS and CCaaS see, on average, the following results:
- 16% increase in agent productivity
- 16% improvement in customer satisfaction ratings
- 21% increase in annual sales
- 12% reduction in operational costs
Top benefits of integrating Microsoft Teams with a UCaaS provider
By integrating Microsoft Teams with a dedicated UCaaS provider, you can maintain your existing UCaaS services, while allowing users to place calls through the Microsoft Teams app. Typically this is accomplished through the use of a Microsoft Teams plug-in that routes PSTN calls through the UCaaS provider and gives users access to a full set of UCaaS features.
Among organizations currently using Microsoft Teams and UCaaS from another provider, nearly 72% plan to maintain the relationship with their dedicated UCaaS provider.
Below, we’ve outlined the top benefits of this approach.
1. Lower costs
Let’s start with the big reason. Using Microsoft Teams Phone System costs companies big bucks. On average, using Microsoft Teams Phone System costs $1,497 per-user, per-year on operational costs like licensing, end-user support, and training. Compare that to the industry average of $1,196 for a UCaaS provider. And it’s easy to see how the savings can rack up quickly, especially as your team grows.
2. Greater reliability
You’ve likely heard the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Companies that rely solely on Microsoft Teams for calling, messaging, and meeting risk one outage taking out their entire communications and collaboration services.
It’s true that Microsoft offers 99.99% reliability, but some other UCaaS solutions offer 99.999% reliability instead. You may not think that the extra 9 matters much, but it does. It’s the difference between 52.6 minutes of downtime per year versus 5.26 minutes per year.
3. Intuitive Teams experience
By integrating UCaaS natively into Microsoft Teams, you and your team can enjoy the same Teams interface you’ve been using with no additional downloads, bots, or plugins. You get the best of both Microsoft Teams and your dedicated UCaaS platform in one app, improving productivity and making adoption simple since no retraining is required.
4. App integrations
If you only use Microsoft Teams Phone System, you may find that you have to rewrite any custom integrations you have with apps like your CRM (i.e., Salesforce), your help desk, and any other popular business apps. By contrast, UCaaS providers can often accommodate custom integrations with no problem.
5. Global coverage
Microsoft Teams Phone System currently provides calling services for 33 countries, whereas UCaaS providers typically offer support for more than 40 countries and offer broader global support for toll-free calling as well.
6. Innovative calling features
UCaaS providers often include more calling features than Microsoft Teams Phone System, including:
- SMS (to allow for texting from business phone numbers)
- Fax services
- Call controls
- Integrated voice response (IVR)
- Call handling
- Automatic call recording
- Call queues
- Advanced reporting and analytics
- Integrations with third-party CRM and IT service management apps to enable click-to-call and automated updating of records
7. Advanced analytics
Migrating to Microsoft Teams Phone System may require additional investment in third-party call monitoring, management, and analytics features to obtain the same level of insight. On the other hand, UCaaS providers can offer advanced analytics to allow IT and business leaders to gain insights into call performance and app utilization.
8. Integrated call center services
Microsoft offers call center integration with its Dynamics 365 CRM platform, but that’s it. If you want or need more, you will have to rely on third-party integrations. But most UCaaS providers offer fully integrated call center capabilities for inbound and outbound calls, omnichannel customer support, and even artificial intelligence (AI) for optimized call routing and customer interactions.
👀 Get the full rundown and access more insights by downloading the free Metrigy report.
The best way forward for small businesses
So, what’s the bottom line? In a nutshell, when it comes to Microsoft Teams and telephony, consider integrating Microsoft Teams with a UCaaS provider. This route will help you:
- minimize costs
- deliver the highest level of reliability
- ensure access to the broadest set of calling features
Are you ready to get the most out of your Microsoft Teams investment and tap into all the benefits listed above? Then turn to RingCentral Cloud PBX for Microsoft Teams. With RingCentral Cloud PBX for Microsoft Teams, all communication and collaboration essentials live in the Teams application, driving productivity across your entire business.
And remember: You’re never alone when it comes to RingCentral. Our Professional Services team will help provide guidance throughout the entire implementation process, including configurations, testing, and training. Whether your business has tens of employees or hundreds, RingCentral is here to help grow your business— and not just grow your business, but also grow with your business.
Thank you for your interest in RingCentral.
Originally published May 13, 2022, updated Dec 30, 2022