Business IT

Microsoft Teams features your business should use

Microsoft Teams Voice - Communication all in one place

Replace your business phone with the cloud: Business Voice

If you already have Office 365 and Teams, then you already know that anyone in your organization using Microsoft Teams can make voice over IP (VoIP) calls to any other team member using a Windows PC, Apple Mac/iPhone/iPad, and Google Android device running the Microsoft Teams app. However, these VoIP calls are essentially 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 organization can dial a number and talk to you.

The voice capabilities in Office 365 feature provides your business with a 100% cloud-based PBX system. Microsoft took the complicated and expensive equipment required at your office location to bridge your VoIP calls with the PSTN and made it a subscription service in the cloud. You can use Microsoft 365 Teams exactly like you use your regular phone—and do it from any device running Teams and from anywhere in the world as long as you have internet access or use Teams App on your smart phone.

You can add Calling Plans that fit your business needs (e.g. your finance department employees only make domestic calls while sales makes both domestic and international calls) that provide standard telephone features, such as call answering and initiating (by name and number) with integrated dial pad, 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 from top brands if you have investments in “traditional” office phone hardware.

How to set up Business VOIP System in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams Business Voice is available as an add-on to any Microsoft Office 365 plan. In Teams, there are two options to enable users to make, receive, and transfer calls to and from landlines and mobile phones on the PSTN:

  • Enable Phone System and Calling Plans – In this option, Microsoft provides the phone number to your users and all PSTN services. Most small to midsized business (SMB) users go for this option because it’s a turnkey option that 100% in the cloud.
  • Use Direct Connect – An option favored by larger organizations that use an existing PSTN connection via a Session Border Controller (SBC) hardware device that links to Microsoft Teams.

To get the most out of these options, we recommend you first envision how your employees will get the best experience out of Teams’ voice services. For example, never underestimate the importance of network quality. When a call from Teams goes to the cloud, to the PSTN, and finally reaches your intended recipient, one low-quality link in that network chain can cause problems. The majority of urban and suburban offices in North America, western Europe, and Oceania should have no problems sourcing sufficient broadband to make Teams Telephony work splendidly. However, we caution potential Teams users with offices in rural areas with aged wireline or spotty wireless internet that their experience will be less than optimal.

Get everyone ready to collaborate with Microsoft Teams

When you make the choice to deploy Teams Voice at your company, there’s a good chance that you’ll see that generation gap open up again. It is very likely Millennials will start making calls using Microsoft Teams the day you offer it to them. Or they might not. And the Gen Xers could ‘get’ the Phone System but won’t get Teams. That’s why preparation for the change to Teams Voice is crucial to success.

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