New from Microsoft’s Ignite Event, here is the latest with Microsoft Teams Calling Made Simple.
Did you realize that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of remote workers was on the rise? Organizations that seek to modernize their workplace with solid communication platforms have many solutions to choose from for emails, voice and video calls, virtual meetings, and even events. But with the breadth of choices, your organization can easily fall into an unexpected pitfall – a menagerie of solutions that lack a seamless experience. Microsoft Office 365 transforms the workplace with Microsoft Teams that unifies communications of all types, including calling, from one central location.
Microsoft Teams is a centralized virtual workspace and intranet hub for communication, collaboration, connectivity, and more. Get a high-level view of the many ways that Microsoft Teams mobilizes workforces is described in our blog, “Build a Successful Remote Workforce with Microsoft Office 365.” It’s great that Microsoft Teams also supports calling features so that your organization can call, chat, meet, and collaborate virtually in one app. Ease-of-use is pivotal in Teams making the calling features easy to learn, quick to adopt, and streamlined for administration.
Here are the top three ways Microsoft Teams works as a single source for calling made simple:
1. Rich calling features for end-users, streamlined setup, and management for IT
2. Flexible choices – Microsoft Calling Plans, direct routing (or both)
3. Multiple device support including Microsoft-certified connected devices
1. Rich Calling Features for End Users
You have everything you need in Microsoft Teams to easily make and receive calls, as well as manage their call settings, queues, devices, contacts, auto-attendant, delegation, voicemail, history, and reverse number lookup.
A Simplified User Interface
Your user interface has been simplified to provide an easy, yet comprehensive calling experience, with all actions accessible from the same screen. Call history shows a full list of incoming and outgoing calls by name or phone number, duration, and date. It also has different filters to display only what is needed. Next to call history is speed dialing and space for future features such as notes. Call settings can be found in the lower left and displays which Bluetooth device is active.
To call colleagues, select “Calls” and dial a phone number, receive calls, and save frequent contacts or custom groups for speed dial. You can also select an existing contact to call. Settings can be adjusted to display availability such as on a call, out of the office, or do not disturb. Captions, recordings, and transcriptions that were once only featured for meetings are now enabled in calls as well.
Voicemail displays who has left you a message and allows the user to select a message to listen to by name or phone number and read its transcription. To change voicemail settings, go to Profile > Settings > Calls where you can set answering rules, choose a ringtone, and adjust accessibility settings.
Teams gives you collaborative calling features for any user responsible for fielding calls at the organization, all from a single pane. One side displays the call queues, and the other side the collaboration experience inside Teams. A shared voicemail queue can allow any authorized user to listen and process voicemails. The right-hand pane displays availability status, which users can set to available or not available.
A high-demand collaborative calling feature is Delegation. To see who is assigned as a delegate, users select Settings > General > Manage Delegates. From here, see a list of existing delegates as well as choose and add new delegates. Delegation allows users that have been assigned as a delegate to manage their delegator’s calls and access contacts, call history, and voicemail. Calls can transfer to delegates first, who can put the caller on hold, transfer to the intended recipient live, or to voicemail. Additional parameters can be set to route calls by time zone, language, and availability.
Streamlined setup and management for IT
And There’s More
This unified communications platform also streamlines management for IT through central management of:
Phone number assignment
Porting existing numbers right from the Microsoft 365 Admin Console
If you want to move to a cloud-based solution with Microsoft Phone System, the organization can stop relying on on-premises systems and eliminate points of failure. You can also connect the phone systems to the Microsoft worldwide network for power and reliability wherever the business goes.
2. Flexible choices – Microsoft Calling Plans, Direct Routing (or Both)
Your organization can experience the benefits of bringing their phone system to the cloud with Microsoft Calling Plans. They can also choose their telecom provider with Direct Routing. Alternatively, they can do both. For example, global organizations can deploy direct routing for one of their offices, and Microsoft Calling Plans for others.
Microsoft Calling Plans offer rapid provisioning to assign phone numbers and add minutes with no on-premises equipment required. Through number porting, the organization can use existing phone numbers and ensure compliance with all legal obligations. Local, long-distance, and international calling are all supported. Minutes can also be purchased ala carte directly if preferred. Calling plans are expanding global reach and are supported in multiple countries.
Organizations that want to stay with their existing telecom provider may go with direct routing. Teams makes this simple with certified Session Border Controllers (SBC) that safely connect your telecom provider to your Teams phone system. If your organization wants the greatest level of granular control to configure your telephony network, this would be the ideal option. Direct routing can also work with Teams offline mode with SBCs. Nokia is a recently certified SBC, and Erickson will be in the near future.
3. Multiple device support including Microsoft-certified connected devices
As fewer meetings take place face-to-face, Microsoft Teams maximizes interactivity on virtual calls with support for multiple devices. This includes transferring calls between desktop and mobile or by adding devices. Multiple devices can be especially helpful in collaborative meetings to pull in audio, video, slide presentations, and more at the same time.
Remote workers need to be able to work on multiple devices from anywhere. In addition, to support for most devices, Microsoft has a certified portfolio of Teams devices optimized for the highest quality Teams and calling experience.
Coming soon, certified all-in-one Microsoft Teams displays will feature an ambient touchscreen and hands-free experience. The devices seamlessly integrate with your PC to provide easy access to Teams chat, meetings, calls, calendar, files, and more.
Microsoft is also expanding their support for Skype for Business and SIP phones from Cisco in the first half of 2021, so that organizations can use existing hardware with more calling features. This cost-effective option provides cost savings to those organizations that already have this technology in place. No need to entirely replace their existing phone system.
Anyone interested in exploring all the certified devices as well as a diverse ecosystem of partner products can visit the online marketplace.
Ready to Get Started with Teams? JourneyTEAM Guides You
Consolidating your communication, collaboration, and productivity platform with Microsoft will save time and money for your organization. JourneyTEAM has a proven track record with successful Microsoft technology implementations and wants you to get the most out of your organization’s intranet system. Let us help! Contact JourneyTEAM today!
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