How to Turn Office 365 Into a Phone System

 How to Turn Office 365 Into a Phone System

How to Turn Office 365 Into a Phone System

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 Microsoft Lync… the moniker that was bestowed upon Microsoft’s Office Communications Server (OCS) back in 2010.

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… dialtone. 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 article, 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.

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. There are even call center components that can be incorporated for high volume telephone operations. 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 completely 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.

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

Learn more about how Office 365 can be used as a phone system. Call or email me for a personalized consult to determine if this is a viable option for you and your business. I can be reach most anytime on 302.514.PLUM or greg@plumUC.com.

Face Off: Virtual Desktop or Remote Desktop?

One of the most critical decisions that companies have to take is whether to opt for a virtual desktop or a remote desktop, or a combination of both. For this, a comparative study needs to be conducted to compare and contrast which option would suit your business needs and functions.

Remote Desktop Connection
Remote Desktop Connection

While both the options have their own advantages and disadvantages, mentioned below is a gist of virtual and remote desktops that will aid you in making the correct decision:

Remote Desktop

Initially known as terminal services, the remote desktop is a Microsoft service that allows users to have a virtual session by accessing files and applications through a server. The experience of using remote services is more or less like using a local desktop; the only difference is that the session is processed on a server not the desktop.

Remote desktops are relatively simpler as little infrastructure requirements are needed to be met; thereby reducing implementation costs. Moreover, it helps in enhancing remote worker’s efficiency because it is most suitable for remote workers, contractors and corporate workers working from a remote location.

However, the biggest drawback of a remote desktop is that it has compatibility issues. Since it has a terminal environment, many applications fail to work. Nonetheless, improvements have been made over the years and many applications have started working, but still some applications do not work till date.

Virtual Desktop

Also known as VDI, the virtual desktops are basically interfaces that run on a virtual environment and not on a local desktop. However, the virtual desktop environment and infrastructure tends to be more convoluted than the remote desktop. The administrators are responsible for managing numerous virtual desktops

Some of the important benefits of a virtual desktop are: the administrators find it easy to adapt or allocate the RAM capacity, disk space and various other peripherals; the data on the virtual desktop can be backed up and easily restored using snapshots; virtual desktops are easily deploy able as it has the capability to replicate and develop templates in a span of a few minutes.

Although VDIs are a costly option, they have the capability to provide numerous benefits that outweigh this drawback.

It is important to understand that both desktops are meant to be operated in a different environment; therefore, your needs and requirements must be matched to the features of these desktop services before deciding which one to go for.

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