Choosing the Best Plan for Calling within Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams

Choosing the Best Plan for Calling

Choosing the Best Plan for Calling within Microsoft Teams

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 Microsoft 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 calling plan. 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.

For example “Music on Hold for Consult/Transfer.” plays music when an external call from the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) comes in through the Teams environment and gets placed on hold. The new feature, which is in development now, shows users that their call is still ongoing, meaning there should be no embarrassing hang-ups or disconnections due to wires getting crossed.

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 plans:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. 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 Microsoft 365 environment. This will allow you to utilize telephone services wherever you need them.

  2. 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 Microsoft 365 world. When paired with these other features, everyone enjoys full calling capabilities.

  3. Calling Plan - This feature takes all the capabilities of a traditional business phone system and transfers them to the cloud. You still get to create toll-free numbers, enable emergency calling, and choose from a number of flexible plans. Whereas with Direct Routing you would choose a provider, Microsoft is the provider with the Calling Plan option. And since it’s all within Microsoft 365, there’s top-level security, services, and support.

  4. 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.

If you’re using Microsoft Teams, it’s likely that you’ve configured more than a handful of apps to help you conduct business within Microsoft 365. It’s also likely that you’ve started using Exchange Online to coordinate emails and calendars, and discovered the wide selection of third-party apps that extend the communication and collaboration capabilities of Teams. As your capacity for intelligent, Unified Communications grows, you’ll want to incorporate cloud calling into your digital estate, too.

As an Microsoft 365 company, you have the capability through Teams to convert all your communications to the cloud under one dashboard. SoftwareONE's UC expert team helps you creating a hub to connect in real time with internal colleagues as well as with outside contacts sets the tone for a truly collaborative enterprise. And in times of hybrid work, that’s what you want to have.

Get Your Journey Started

SoftwareONE helps you to begin building out your Microsoft Teams strategy and choosing the best plan for calling. Learn more about we can help you to increase your business success with UC and Microsoft Teams.

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  • Unified Communications, User Productivity, Future Workplace
  • UCSimple, Collaboration

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