Getting Started with Microsoft Teams for Voice vs Gamma Horizon / Hosted Phone System Battle

– Microsoft Teams is one of Microsoft’s very fastest growing products. It’s currently rolled out to half a million businesses worldwide. And so for the purposes of today’s video we are going to compare the Microsoft Teams phone system offering with the other common
phone system that we use which is the Gamma Horizon phone system that lots of our customers use which I think is a very stable, reliable feature-rich platform. So it’s got quite a lot to live up to, but is using Microsoft
Teams as your phone system actually gonna work and work well? Today we’re gonna find out. Welcome to another TekkTalk Tuesday. Like, subscribe, all those things. So Microsoft don’t have
the best track record when it comes to communication software. I think in the last 10 years
they’ve had four versions, or four iterations, of their
communications platforms. So they started off with
Office Communications Server. That moved to Microsoft Lync. That changed into Skype for Business and now we are at Microsoft Teams. I’m going to potentially
upset a lot of my staff because we’re going to
actually try and roll Teams out as a phone system and we’re gonna try and get this used throughout the whole company. To do this properly I’ve
also bought some headsets. So we have, I bought 20 headsets
’cause I want to make sure that everyone gets a chance
to use this properly. We went for the Jabra Evolve
20s I think they are, cool. So anyway let’s begin. So to begin this journey
you first need the obvious which is a Microsoft
Office 365 subscription. Once you have this you then
need to go and purchase add-ons that make this thing
actually sing and do its job. So you need a phone system add-on and you need a calling plan. So let’s go and do that. Let’s go into billing
and purchase services. Phone system, six pounds
per user per month. You are all set. So now we just need to go and assign these
users to the subscription. So we can go into find myself,
go to the product licenses and I’m assuming it shows
up here as a add-on license. – [Narrator] One eternity later. – So it does show up on the list. It just was taking some time. So let’s just activate that for myself. So that’s now the phone system added on. Once you’ve got your features activated you now need a calling plan for every user that’s gonna do this. Domestic starts at nine
pounds 10 per user per month and the domestic and international comes to eighteen pounds 10 per month. Now we have the feature enabled. We’ve got the calling plan. We should be able to
get some phone numbers. So for that we need to go into the Skype for Business admin center because they haven’t yet
moved all of the features and functionality over into
the Microsoft Teams portal. So we can go into voice. Go to phone numbers in here. Interested to find out if
it’s going to cost us money to buy phone numbers because
they seem to be quite keen to charge for everything here. So we’re gonna go to United Kingdom. We want de de de duh. Fareham, one three two nine. Interestingly not all
of the cities and towns and calling codes are on here. So let’s go for Southampton. So we have 37 numbers. We’re gonna acquire those numbers. The change has been saved successfully. So it looks like we have to wait for those numbers to be activated. Not sure whether that’s
an automatic process, whether we get an email to ask us to activate them ourselves. No emails waiting for activation. I wonder if I just refresh this whether that’s gonna show
me that it’s working again? Still pending, okay. Address validation is important. If for some reason the
phone number isn’t activated and is listed as pending you will need to create a service request. Thrilling. So we’ve tried to purchase
some numbers for us, but the number status is pending. So we now how to, following
Microsoft’s guide, open a case with Microsoft to get them to manually activate the numbers and apparently the call queue
is 21 minutes to get an answer so just waiting for
somebody to call me back. Come back to you in 21 minutes, hopefully when they answer the phone. – [Narrator] 20 minutes later. – And they are currently just showing as pending under number status when I go into the voice users on the Skype for Business
admin center, okay. ’cause when I go onto the, when I click on the help and about it takes me to a number
diversion that says for organizations 150 or
less we need to raise a case and you guys can activate
them on your side. I think, if a phone number isn’t activated and listed as pending it’s
because of address validation. – [Narrator] So much later
that the old narrator got tired of waiting and
they had to hire a new one. – It’s now four hours later and I’ve just got off
the phone to Microsoft who have fixed the number issue. So the numbers are now
activated in our accounts. The fact it’s taken four
hours to get that to be done is another issue that’s worth
addressing at some point. And so now we can crack on
and get the phones set up. Get all the hunt groups set
up. Get the call queues set up and basically figure the
whole thing and give it a try. – [Narrator] A few moments later. – I think we’re ready to
hand out some headsets. So let’s get that going. So as you can likely see
by the wardrobe change it’s the next day and
one that unfortunately ends the test deployment of our Microsoft Teams
phone system experiment and it’s been cut short for
a few technical reasons. Number one, there were
some technical issues with the number allocation
and number activation as we got to earlier in the video that every time we were
making changes to numbers we were having to get them reactivated which involved a support
ticket with Microsoft and it was you know four,
five hours at a time waiting for them to respond,
getting them to phone back, get them to fix it for us. It’s just not sustainable. Number two, once we actually
had the system up and running before we went live with it we realized there were
some horrendous delays in terms of the audio and so you’d dial a phone number and then wait five,
sometimes even 10 seconds before the other person’s phone would ring which was just, it was
just gonna cause problems and there were some workarounds
and we looked online and we opened a case again with Microsoft and it was a known issue
they were looking into. Other people online had found a workaround where you don’t use call
queues to do the call routing, but it kind of defeats the
purpose of the test really. So I guess that brings me to the summary of my thoughts thus far. So firstly let’s start with the goods. I actually do quite like the software. It’s definitely user friendly. It looks good. Microsoft Teams is already a bit of a powerhouse of a system anyway. The call integration features are great. The presence information
is really, really good. When you’re in an email and you can see that the person
who has sent you an email is available and you can give them a call to discuss it any further. That’s really neat. I do like that. The configuration, when
it’s working properly, is very, very simple. It’s really straightforward to set up. Number allocation could be a bit better, obviously given the issues we’ve had, but also the fact that
our Fareham dialing code didn’t appear anywhere
on the available numbers. So we can’t actually buy a Fareham number through Microsoft 365
which isn’t that great. You can get a Portsmouth number. You can get a Southampton number. So it seems like cities but not towns. The call reports are actually quite handy for when you’re troubleshooting
call quality issues. You can see what device they were using, the call quality rating,
the connection they had. That’s really useful. And of course you wouldn’t
expect anything less, but the audio and the video conferencing on Microsoft Teams is very, very good. And if you’re looking
at something like Zoom for your video conferencing
that is very, very good. So it’s a very good comparison. The bad stuff. As you can tell this wasn’t a
successful deployment for us. Whilst it’s easy to set up, the settings can be slow to apply, particularly with the licenses. When we’re applying license changes you’re sometimes having
to log out, hit refresh, close the browser, open the
browser, log back in again and then sometimes having
to wait half an hour or so. Most of the time I actually
made the changes, walked away, did something else, came back and then hopefully they would
have updated and be working. So that was quite frustrating in terms of needing to make some changes and get things done. The platform is still
missing some features if we are comparing to
something like Gamma Horizon. Call recording which doesn’t exist. You can record webinars and conferences and those kind of things but
you can’t just have a policy to record all phone calls
in and out of the platform. Full reporting, whilst it’s there for things like call quality, you don’t get anywhere near
the level of call reporting that you can get with integrations from the likes of Akixi with Gamma Horizon where you can see all of the calls stats, how many calls have been answered, what’s the average wait time,
how many calls were missed and how many calls are queued up. You can do the whole
wallboard, dashboard thing where you can see all of
the call awaiting stats and that information that you can get from Gamma is incredible. And it’s the weakest
point, is the support. You know, we’ve had quite
a few issues with the setup and each time you have
to raise a support case. When you need to make small changes like activating new numbers and you’re having to
then raise a support case every single time. It’s just not viable. I looked back through support cases over the last 30 days. There is an outage from just nine days ago where it was reported at 25%
of inbound calls were failing and this took them through
from the 27th of June through to the 2nd of July to resolve. So that in itself isn’t a good start. Even today there’s a Tweet from Microsoft to say there are more
issues with Microsoft Teams, sign in issues, calling issues. So the reliability just
isn’t there just yet. And then the issues we had of course with the calls taking a
while to ring the other end and which was again another known issue. There were some workarounds that we, to be honest we
just didn’t have time to try and we couldn’t be bothered when the platform should
just work as it is. We don’t have any of these kind of issues with any other system we’ve used so we shouldn’t really expect it from, particularly not Microsoft Teams. Microsoft is a huge player in the market. So that’s really the
biggest bugbear we’ve got and I personally would not
recommend Microsoft Teams as a phone system just yet. Lastly, just the cost. If
we add up the features, the phone system is six pounds per month. You’ve gotta add on the calling plan which starts at nine pounds
10 per user per month. That already takes you to 15
pounds 10 per user per month which means the Microsoft
Teams phone system costs more than the other
systems that we offer. Gamma Horizon, we offer that at 12 pounds 50 per user per month. You get free handsets within that cost whereas with Microsoft Teams you have to either buy a handset or you have to buy a headset. So that’s another additional cost that you have to factor in when you’re looking at Microsoft Teams. And yeah, so that’s really my summary. I think it’s a very, very good system. I think it can be a very good system. It just needs some more
tweaking from Microsoft. So that’s it from me
today. I’ll leave it there. Like the video if you did. Subscribe if you’re not ready and I’ll see you in the
next one. Thank you. Bye bye.

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