Phone System Options

(Brad Crawley) #1

We are evaluating and testing phone system solutions and we have it narrowed down to Office 365 Skype for Business/Teams and Ministry Business Solutions Hosted Phone Solution.

We like aspects of integrating with Office 365, but I’ve heard both good and bad when it comes with Office 365 Voice Solutions. Is anyone out there using it and if so, what is your take on the solution? If you were once using it and left the solution, why?

We have been using Ministry Business Solutions Hosted Phone solution since July 2018 at our Paragould Campus (because the provider at our main campus in Jonesboro cannot have services in Paragould) and have been happy with it. I wish they had a better (easier) interface for me to have more control over being able to change things myself rather than having to contact them when it comes to setting up speed dials, name changes, etc. They have provided me ways to do this myself rather than opening up a ticket for these types of things that I’m used to being able to do on my own. Other than that issue, their solution has been rock solid and is extremely economical and their support has been great (although it is pay as you go, which is probably why the monthly cost of the solution is so economical). It’s also a plus that there are no contracts.

Our contract is up at our main campus with our current provider and we are wanting to move to a solution that is economical, yet gives us expanded functionality of a mobile app for our cell phones, soft phones, and traditional desk phones. We would also like presence functionality, if possible, in conjunction with our Office 365 solution.

Thanks in advance for your feedback as we finalize our decision for this solution.

(Chris Green) #2

I’m about to help an org deploy Microsoft Teams as their PBX using Direct Routing and Intelepeer as their SIP Provider. Really liking what I’m seeing with the product at the moment. We’ll know more about the fine details in a few weeks but I have a general idea on the costs and pros/cons of various methods of deployment. I’m not ready to compose a write-up about it but if you hit me up in Slack we can chat about it. I’ll follow up to this post in a few weeks with a full summary.

(Royce Tanouye) #3

When you say “affordable” what price range do you have in mind? I have been looking into replacing our aging VOIP phone system and have mostly found hosted systems that range from $25 - $40 per line monthly. To me, that is a lot of money paid out monthly since we don’t really pay any service provider monthly. “Affordable” to me really means $15-$20 per line monthly, but maybe I am dreaming.

We could try an upgrade our current Shoretel system which resides in-house but we would have to upgrade our server, software, and most of the maintenance/upgrading work would remain here.

(Brad Crawley) #4


I’ll shoot you a private message, but the public message is the two solutions we are looking at now are way cheaper than $25-40/mo/line (we are paying around $30 now with our provider at our main campus which is why I’m looking at changing). Ministry Business Solutions has tiers that include up to X number of phones and X SIP trunks. I’m looking at cutting my monthly costs by 50-70% over what I’m paying now. The downside is you have to buy phones up front, but my ROI is less than a year so it’s worth it.

(Jason Lee) #5

You should reach out to @dmast he has migrated a multi site org from Skype4B On Prem to Teams with Direct Routing.

We have gotten great milage out of S4B and probably will move to Teams eventually.

(Brad Crawley) #6

@Jason.Lee Are you using S4B through O365? If so, how has your up-time experience been? Have you had any extended outages? How has support been with Microsoft? Those are my main concerns that I haven’t been able to get good information because I haven’t found many using it at this point.

Also, what solution do you use to provision your phones and update speed dials, etc? Do your users have the ability to edit these settings? From what we have found so far a lot of it is handled through powershell.

(Jonathon Huff) #7

For those of you using SFB or teams, what are the benefits you’ve seen in your environment?

Our on-prem Mitel system is aging but I’m having pushback against a replacement because what we have works [usually].

(Jason Lee) #8

We are S4B on prem.
We moved to Lync, then S4B and have found it to be great solution for us.

Provisioning plastic phones with S4b are plugin the phone, login with your domain creds done.
Speeddials and such are all contacts in S4b so the admin doesn’t setup anything it’s all contact lists for the users.

For all our O365 tickets support has been super responsive… but we aren’t doing VOIP with O365 so i can’t speak to that.

(Nick B Nicholaou) #9

Hi Brad!

I apologize for MBS not serving you as well as you would have liked. We encourage our clients to communicate with us if that is ever the case, which is why we don’t require contracts. If we need to ‘up our game’, we want to know!

I’m glad to see you have found our service rock solid and economical. I understand you want to do changes on your own, and we’re always okay with that-- which is why we gave you access (very few of our clients want to do that!). I was unaware you were not happy with the interface we work with on the backend, but heard last week you may have a solution for that in hand now.

Brad, please feel free to email me directly ( if there’s anything we can do to improve your satisfaction with our service. We only serve The Bride of Christ, and are driven to do so in a way that makes The Groom smile.


Nick Nicholaou
MBS, Inc.

(Brad Crawley) #10

Hey Nick,

I appreciate the response and I definitely don’t want to make anyone think we are not happy with the solution we currently have at our Paragould Campus from MBS. Gary contacted me on Friday after seeing my post and told me about EndPoint Manager which appears to be what I’m looking for. I plan on buying it (since it is inexpensive) and having y’all install the plug-in so we can test and see how it works.

I have a co-worker pushing S4B and I’ve got a ton of questions as I’m apprehensive about S4B/Teams due to the expected pushback I’ll get from my users which is why I’ve been asking questions. Some CITN members have been gracious to let me pick their brains about S4B/Teams and while their information has helped alleviate some of the concern, I’m not convinced that it would be a better fit for us than the MBS system we are using at our Paragould Campus, especially if we get the phone provisioning system working! :smile:

My co-worker is like myself and very tech savvy but that isn’t the case with a lot of our staff, so we have to introduce a solution that will be embraced which is why I’m trying to do as much due diligence as I can! I was in a meeting today with our senior leadership and briefly mentioned the phone system options we are considering and they said, “I just need to be able to pick up the phone and make a call.” ha!

Thank again!
-Brad Crawley

(Nick B Nicholaou) #11

I’m glad we got you taken care of, Brad. Serving well is always our goal; let us know if there are continuing needs. And regardless of the decision you make about this, we’ll endeavor to graciously help you through it,