How to Turn Office 365 into a Phone System

Microsoft offers telephony?

Microsoft doesn’t offer telephony… EVERYONE knows THAT!  So, how is it possible to turn one of the world’s most ubiquitous software packages into a complete phone system for your business?  With Lync, that’s how.  Surely, by now you have heard of Lync… the moniker that was bestowed upon Microsoft’s Office Communications Server (OCS) back in 2010.

Old school telephony

Lync Online, which is a component of many Office 365 licenses, is a powerful communications platform, offering presence, instant messaging, voice over IP (VoIP) calling, desktop sharing, and audio and video conferencing… all from a single interface.  Lync makes it possible to handle just about all of your communications through a single desktop client, with one exception… voice.  Old school telephony.

Recognizing this limitation as a significant opportunity in the converging IT and telecom industries, which is a completely separate topic that warrants additional attention… perhaps in an encore blog, a handful of providers have developed a way to voice enable Office 365 (or O365 since just about everything in telecom becomes reduced to an acronym).  The mechanism for supercharging the software suite is Microsoft Lync.

Voice-Enabled Lync

As previously mentioned, Lync is already a component of O365.  What is missing, though, is voice enablement.  By replacing the Lync Online component with a voice-enabled Lync package, O365 becomes a comprehensive communications solution.  So the user is able to leverage their purchase of O365 and obtain a phone system that is fully integrated into everything else they use on their desktop, including Exchange for email and calendaring, and even Microsoft SharePoint for shared document management.  The value to the customer is the ability to replace a legacy phone system that they have outgrown or is reaching its end of life with a complete hosted telephone system.

This unified communications platform behaves just like the telephone systems that today’s businesses have come to rely upon for day-to-day operations, including receptionist switchboard features, call routing to “hunt groups” and full IVR capabilities.  Voice-enabled Lync can be configured to mirror the functionality of a legacy phone system, even to the point of feeding an office-wide intercom system to announce calls on hold.

Do you have a legacy phone system?

If it’s time for you or your customers to re-evaluate the value of a legacy phone system, Lync may well be your answer.  If you have already purchased Office 365, you are already halfway there!

Ref: Sound-Connect


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