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Microsoft Teams as a Phone System

Microsoft has been bundling Teams into its 365 packages since 2017, so most people will know vaguely what it is. And, if you haven’t come across it yet, you soon will, as Microsoft has embarked on a major advertising push. However, is the hype worth it? What about using Teams not just for internal communications but to replace your telephone system?

What is Microsoft Teams?
Teams is a collaboration tool with group chat, audio and video conferencing at its cor. It deeply integrates into the rest of the Office 365 applications (your familiar Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc) It’s there to make working across teams and different applications easy and intuitive wherever you are.

Ultimately it can replace the myriad of applications we have all grown used to for group communication and collaboration: Skype, Slack, Webex, WhatsApp, Zoom & others, including email itself in many cases. Where it scores is in making it easy to work securely with internal and external individuals and team members using a very wide range of Microsoft and third-party applications.

Unlike some other messaging and collaboration tools, it integrates with the Microsoft 365 environment so that it’s use can be properly controlled, audited and monitored providing for far greater compliance and security, features which benefit all businesses in this world of GDPR breaches and cyber threats.

Microsoft Teams Phone System: true unified communications
The telecoms world has been pushing the concept of “unified communications” for 20 years but most people end up with multiple devices and applications for different types of communication. This feels a long way from unified, for example, a physical desk phone, Skype/Zoom etc. for video conferencing, a mobile or PC app for remote working & sometimes audio conference services and more.

Teams can replace all these and gives you one system for everything:

  1. Internal chat, audio & video one to one’s & meetings
  2. External audio & video meetings among multiple parties
  3. Telephone calls
  4. Global conference dial-in
  5. Screen share
  6. Collaboration & productivity apps

Traditional phone features
The phone system component of Teams provides a powerful business phone system which has a comprehensive range of normal telephony features such as voicemail, direct dial, auto-attendant, ring groups & call queues.

Additional features
Some of the extras which the system includes are:

Voicemail transcription: automatic and highly accurate transcription of voicemails to email, saving you time dialling into your voicemail & allowing you to easily store and forward voicemails
Presence: ties in with your Calendar to indicate to your colleagues if you are busy, free or in a meeting
Meeting recording: record your meetings, including video and screen share
Optional call recording: need call recording for MiFID II compliance or training/quality control purposes? No problem, just add cloud call recording although note that this is a 3rd party solution.

One system: multiple devices
Teams phone system works regardless of where you are or on what device and you can even swap between devices whilst on a call. Compatible with:

Teams app on your PC/laptop – just use headphones
Teams app on your mobile – have your office phone with you wherever you go
Physical desk-phone – a “traditional” phone for those who like one on their desk, but with additional features such as the ability to book conference calls and access your Calendar
Conference room audio & video phones – which integrate with the Teams app for meeting room collaboration with multiple parties

Global phone system with local telephone numbers
Being built on Microsoft’s global cloud platform, the system will work across the world, thus allowing a company with multiple worldwide offices to have a truly unified single system. You can choose telephone numbers from over 100 countries and can port your numbers to the system in the UK and many countries. And, unlike country-specific systems, you can be confident that Teams will be highly reliable and provide exceptional call quality.

Not a traditional phone system
Microsoft took a fresh approach to communication when they designed the Teams phone system component. It’s not based on a traditional telephone system which is its great strength as it’s designed to improve your productivity. In addition, it helps ensure that you are always contactable (should you wish to be). However, it does mean that some features work very differently to a traditional phone system and it is essential that these differences are explored by any companies looking to adopt it. And, that they choose the right Microsoft partner to implement and support it.

Are you interested in ditching your old fashioned on-site or hosted phone system? GET IN TOUCH with CLOUDBOXtoday.

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