The excellent phone system inside Microsoft Teams
Many companies are now navigating a COVID-19 response phase, moving on from “remote everything” to a more sustainable, hybrid workplace, blending remote work and physical offices.
From a communication point of view, there is a broad spectrum of needs for employees, from being able to hold 1:1 meetings and calls to large group meetings and conferences, across multiple cities and time zones.
There's a Teams Calling capability that's built into Microsoft Teams. It’s not new and is currently available for quick deployment.
Teams Calling Direct Routing means you can make VOIP calls within your company out of the box. Microsoft also offers a Phone System add-on for Teams, which works with the public switched telephone network.
For calling outside your company, you need to purchase the Phone System add on (or if you have E5 it's included). From there you can work with a partner/Telco for direct routing or purchase a Microsoft calling plan (where available).
These calling plans include:
* Standard phone and video calls on net within your business
* Standard calls to landlines and mobiles
* Video conferencing/meetings.
What all of this means is that Microsoft Teams can replace your entire business phone system with a managed cloud service. This feature enables private branch exchange (PBX) business telephony capabilities from within Office 365. This feature can help your team members to be so much more productive for such a relatively small effort that we're surprised more businesses don't use it.
If you already have MS Teams, then you know that anyone in your company using Teams can make voice over IP (VoIP) calls to any other team member using a computer, tablet or mobile device running the Teams app (Teams Calling). However, these VoIP calls are basically an intercom system for employees inside a company because the Teams app does not connect you to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Most businesses connect to the PSTN using PBX hardware installed at an office location. Without access to the PSTN through a PBX, the Teams app cannot be assigned a phone number and therefore nobody outside your business can dial a number and talk to you.
Employees in your company can easily call each other from Teams without a phone number. For your employees who use phone numbers to make and receive calls with customers, partners, and vendors, those numbers need to be with them, wherever they are. With Teams Calling, a cloud-based phone system, employees can continue to do this whether they are in the office, working from home, or some combination of the two.
The telephony capabilities in Teams provides your business with a 100% cloud-based PBX system. The feature takes the complicated and expensive equipment needed to connect your VoIP calls with the PSTN and makes it a subscription service in the cloud. You can use Teams exactly like you use your regular phone—and do it from any device running the Teams app and from anywhere in the world as long as you have internet access.
Teams Calling makes it easy to call anyone, anywhere with any device. And, you can also move seamlessly between chat, calling, and meetings based on your needs. This saves IT time, reduces costs associated with multiple point solutions, and diminishes the need for employee training. Teams Calling is a secure, robust solution that is being used by both large contact centres and individuals alike.
You can add Calling Plans that fit your business needs e.g. where your sales team needs to make domestic and international calls while finance only make domestic calls. The app provides standard telephone features, such as call answering, call holding and retrieving, call forwarding and simultaneous ringing, call history, voicemail, and emergency calling. Most importantly, you can do all of this from the Teams app on your laptop, tablet, and smartphone or from a wide array of Teams-compatible headsets and conference-room speakerphones if you have investments in "traditional" office phone hardware.
And of course there’s more: with Teams Calling your staff will be enabled with video conferencing that allows them to have video calls with anyone (both inside and outside your organisation) without having to have any licence or download any software (like Zoom), plus so many more features and functions as standard. To see what else Teams calling can do read our guide to the really cool things Microsoft Teams can do.