Choosing the Best Plan for Calling within Microsoft Teams
Choosing the Best Plan for Calling within Microsoft Teams
09 March 2021
Investing in digital solutions like Microsoft Teams expands the collaborative experience to virtually every corner of your business network, but are you maximizing the value of this powerful platform?
Even digitally mature organizations who have enabled this Unified Communications solution often don’t realize its full potential because they aren’t yet using the calling feature to its fullest extent. Microsoft Teams has a lot to offer, but you may not know which is the best plan for calling for your organization. Let’s delve into what the calling feature entails and how you can choose the best plan for calling within Microsoft Teams.
The Calling Feature Within Teams
To unlock even more potential from your investment, consider adding the Phone System add-on to your Microsoft Teams platform within Office 365. With this feature enabled, leaders can help their own teams find better ways to communicate internally and externally. And by cutting out the need for expensive PBX equipment, they can also begin setting their sights on improving ROI.
But before enjoying the many great business outcomes that can take place, it’s essential to find the right breakout model. The first two steps to take are exploring your business needs while understanding all of the benefits and options available.
Why Use Teams for Calling?
There’s no arguing that people use all kinds of tools these days to communicate. Before now, however, it’s been hard to integrate PBX-like capabilities to this vast array of digital communication tools. For one, digital communication doesn’t often merge with yesterday’s business PBX phone systems for a unified communications experience.
What PBX Problems Does Teams Solve?
When using PBX, business users are often faced with a few key challenges, including:
You can’t configure a PBX system to integrate with Skype for Business.
You can’t see all your conversations in one place.
You also can’t connect your traditional phone system with your Exchange calendar.
You can’t use your old desk phone to make a VoIP call.
By providing solutions to all these issues and more, Microsoft Teams empowers full cloud voice service through the Teams platform. The Phone System is a major component of Teams and organizations use it for a wide range of business functions.
The Benefits of Using Microsoft Teams for Calling
While we have touched on one of the main benefits already; Teams as a PBX replacement system, it is important to know what else it has to offer. Here’s a closer look at some of the other benefits of the Teams calling:
Get rid of old, complicated equipment. Upgrading your calling system through Teams doesn’t mean you’ll need to budget for complicated (i.e. “expensive”) equipment.
Onboard new users effortlessly. Since Phone System doesn’t require hardware that takes weeks to figure out (like PBX), new users can jump right in and start enjoying the benefits of Teams calling.
Controlling calling policies is a breeze. For administrators who want to control users’ ability to make private calls or set up call forwarding, creating custom calling policies is an incredibly fast and easy process. Simply create custom calling policies, then select certain users to apply those policies to. If you’re in need of enabling a certain feature - such as call forwarding to voicemail - for everyone, you can select “Always Enabled” when creating your policy. If you’re in need of allowing users to control a certain feature, you can select “User Controlled.” Not all features are adjustable, however, and these are just a few examples of the settings you can fully manage through the simple dashboard.
The Options Available
Premium enhancements make your Teams collaboration experience even more powerful. Let’s get into a few of the options available and how they work:
Direct Routing - Here’s where you get even more flexibility to do business exactly the way you want. Direct routing means you can choose your own provider of voice lines coming into your Office 365 environment. This will allow you to utilize telephone services wherever you need them but also allow you to integrate in to third party applications such as Contact Centre applications be they in the cloud or on-prem.
Phone System - This is the powerhouse feature that actually does the lion’s share of the work to digitize and transform your old PBX system. You also get call control right from within the Office 365 world. When paired with these other features, everyone enjoys full calling capabilities.
Calling Plan - Whereas with Direct Routing you would choose a provider giving your greater choice, with Calling Plans Microsoft is the provider. And since it is all within Office 365, there’s top-level security, services, and support. You still get to create toll-free numbers, enable emergency calling, and choose from a number of flexible plans.
Teams Devices - The Teams platform can become even more conducive to collaboration by enabling its benefits in a conference room environment. By incorporating room systems configured for Teams, you can make presentations, start meetings on time, or simply upgrade the “huddle” experience from a single touch screen console. There are a lot of different Teams devices and systems that allow for customization within your meeting room, which enables the use of Teams as a conference room solution for collaboration.
Ensuring Unified Communications Success
Business transformations are complex, even when all you’re doing is adding a calling feature to your collaboration hub. Discovering exactly what you need requires that you know exactly what options are available. Even once you have the right solution, it’s another complex journey while your unified solutions roadmap is built.
SoftwareONE offers a Teams Voice Strategy Workshop, Direct Routing SIP Service, transformation and delivery, and a full managed service to support you, no matter what your unified communications needs are.