M’akola Development Services is a values-based, fee-for-service development consulting organization that works with non-profits and all levels of government to build affordable housing and multi-use spaces.
M’akola Development Services (M’akola) set up their first satellite office in the city of Courtenay, a three-hour commute from their head office in Victoria, British Columbia, in 2019. They want all staff to be connected to a consistent communication experience. They also need their satellite staff to feel part of the regional office team to prevent feeling disconnected by the distance of working remotely.
Victoria staff would also be commuting back and forth between offices once a month. They needed a seamless experience that would not impact their ability to stay connected. They wanted to be productive regardless of what office they were located in.
M’akola leadership felt the push to shift from exploring phone system options to making a decision.
They knew a traditional setup with phone lines and handset was not the only option available to them. They wanted to avoid staff each using two devices – a handset phone when in the office and a cellphone when on the road. Two devices means two different locations where voicemails are stored that staff must remember to check.
Another challenge was to find a solution that would allow M’akola to keep the existing phone numbers. They wanted to keep the main office line, their toll-free number, and a few direct lines for certain team members.
Not having the archaic handset system has allowed us to be flexible with where, when, and how we take phone calls and how we work.Kaela Schramm, Director of Projects and Planning
M’akola worked with Regroove to assess their options. They decided to go with the cutting-edge concept of replacing their entire business phone system with a managed cloud service. M’akola was already using and enjoying Microsoft Teams for internal communication and collaboration. Regroove proposed the addition of Microsoft Teams Voice.
Microsoft Teams Voice allowed team members to make, receive, and transfer calls to and from landlines and mobile phones through the Microsoft Teams app.
People are always surprised when they call my office number and discover I am on the road. We have a soft phone system so I am able to take office calls wherever I am at.Kaela Schramm, Director of Projects and Planning
Regroove set the new system up and solved technical complications along the way, as a few unanticipated roadblocks did appear. One challenge that Regroove resolved was moving existing phone numbers into Microsoft Teams Voice.
Regroove provided post-support troubleshooting, including locating Teams Voice-compatible handsets for a staff member who could not use a headset. Regroove also set up a handset in each office. Every business is required by law to have a handset for staff to be able to call 911 from a landline during an emergency.
The project wrapped with a Regroove coach delivering a walk through of how to use the new cloud-based phone system interface to team members.
Regroove has a depth to their team with a variety of technical consultants that we can work with for different projects, while still maintaining one point of contact to manage the overall project.Kaela Schramm, Director of Projects and Planning
Outcome and Benefits
Teams Voice gives M’akola a phone system within their business without the complicated and expensive equipment. The call clarity is better along with a unified, consistent user interface across the offices.
Over time, M’akola will save money. Microsoft Teams is cheaper than many of the alternatives, and Teams-approved headsets are cheaper than physical desk phones. As a non-profit organization, M’akola has access to Microsoft licensing at a reduced cost. In addition, M’akola doesn’t have to buy cellphone data for their staff as Microsoft Teams works over Wi-Fi.
Teams Voice inserts its phone system into the Microsoft Teams app. M’akola is already using the Teams app for file storage and to communicate internally without needing to use email.
I find [Teams Voice] is super intuitive. I can easily setup a conference call in the boardroom using the Jabra speaker then add anyone with a phone number to a conference call. No need to get out the manual for the phone.Lindsay Monk, Manager of Development
Teams Voice gives you all the features you expect from a traditional phone system:
- caller ID,
- auto attendees,
- call queues,
- call sharing, and
- conferencing calling.
It also provides additional features that allow team members to be more responsive when they are on the road – such as:
- adding video to a voice call,
- adding screen-sharing to meeting, and
- voice-to-text for voicemails.
Future office moves will be friction-free. All they need at their new space is internet and Wi-Fi setup when M’akola moves their Victoria office to their new location in 2020. Staff can pick up their laptops, sit down at their new desks, and get to work.
This solution was built using:
- Microsoft Office 365
- Microsoft Teams
- Microsoft Teams Voice