Microsoft Cloud PBX

Microsoft began selling their Cloud PBX service with Office 365 on December 1st. It can be purchased with either the E3 license as an add-on or with the E5 license, where it’s bundled in the license.

Price

If you purchase Cloud PBX with the E5 license and international dialing, the total cost comes to $59 per user per month.  If you choose to only purchase it with a domestic dialing plan, you can save $12, but in the event anyone in your organization wants to make an international call they will be unable to do so.

With the E3 license, you purchase all the telecom features as add-ons, and after you add all features, it will come to a total of $56 per user per month.

Pros

  • One Admin Portal for Everything

    • By going with Microsoft for Cloud PBX, it gives IT administrators a single admin portal for Office 365 exchange and Cloud PBX voice, and it makes managing your company’s primary business infrastructure very simple. Initial setup and configuration of the Cloud PBX is also very simple to port or purchase numbers and assign them.
  • Easy Billing

    • With having Microsoft as your provider for email, cloud storage, software, and now voice all bundled in Office 365, you have a single bill for most of your company’s IT services.
  • Latest Server Version

    • Microsoft’s Cloud PBX is currently using the Skype for Business server, which many companies using a hosting partner or on premise setup have yet to upgrade to. Because it is on the Skype for Business backend, this adds several features unavailable to those still on Lync 2013 Server.  This includes the new Skype Broadcast meeting which is great for webinars and allows up to 10,000 users to be in a single meeting, as well as IM chats being synced across all devices including mobile devices.

Cons

  • Missing Key Enterprise PBX components

    • Right now Microsoft’s cloud PBX offering does not have auto attendants, hunt groups, persistent chat, or caller ID masking. For some organizations, these are deal breakers due to how their phone system is currently setup.  Given that companies hosting Skype and Lync have had these features for years, it shows that Microsoft’s offering is not complete.
  • Support

    • Office 365 in general is a fantastic product, but its biggest negative has to be its support. You can easily get on the phone with someone and they are great at following up on issues, but the time it takes to get full resolution and get the expertise needed to resolve issues does take considerable time. With your phone system being put in their hands, it could be worrisome that any issues will be dealt with by their support system.
  • Lack of Reviews

    • Given that Cloud PBX is only a month old, there are very few reviews from large enterprises. It will be hard for anyone to make the leap to Microsoft without having many use cases and reviews. Also, given Microsoft’s history with other products, companies should be wary of being first adopters until all the kinks and features are there to fully replace their enterprise PBX system.

 

Microsoft’s Cloud PBX is a great addition to Office 365, it is simple to setup, configure, and use.  Its major downfalls at this time is the lack of major enterprise features, its cost, and that its generally untested in the market place.

 

If you are in the market to replace your existing phone system with Skype for Business today, we offer our platform TeamWorkAnyWhere which gives you Skype for Business with Enterprise Voice paired with Office 365.  To learn more, contact me at andrew.saah@a8d.d87.myftpupload.com or 301.960.0488

 

 



Author: Andrew Saah
Andrew is a Skype for Business, Office 365, and Windows Technology Evangelist for TecFac.

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