4.8 min to readDigital Workplace

Using Teams as a single communication platform

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John FariaProduct Manager – Unified Communications
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With the rise of remote work and the need for efficient interactions, organisations are turning to robust tools to enhance productivity and customer service. Microsoft Teams has emerged as a powerhouse, boasting over 270 million monthly active users, who rely on the platform for seamless collaboration and optimised productivity. In this blog post, we discover how Microsoft Teams, when equipped with voice capabilities, can become the ultimate communication hub for businesses, reshaping customer touchpoints and streamlining operations.

Empowering business interactions with voice capabilities

Imagine having a singular hub that integrates communication, collaboration, and customer service – Microsoft Teams with voice capabilities can make this a reality. By leveraging Teams' integration with the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), organisations can transform Teams into a genuine telephone system, complete with a real telephone number accessible to anyone. This evolution opens a realm of possibilities, enabling employees to work from anywhere while providing organisations with scalable technology and simplified IT infrastructure. The type of Teams Calling solution you choose hinges on your company's size, existing infrastructure, and unique needs. Each path offers a tailored solution for harnessing Teams' full potential.

The journey doesn't end with voice capabilities. Third-party providers offer additional tools to elevate Microsoft Teams' functionality, including robust call management, compliance recording, and contact centre features. By integrating these solutions, Teams can emerge as a modern alternative to legacy systems, serving as a hub for all customer touchpoints – from IT helpdesks to reception and even contact centres.

The ultimate customer touchpoint: the contact centre, plays a crucial role in many businesses. Microsoft Teams can serve as the platform for agents, providing robust routing options and extensive reporting. By aligning your contact centre with Teams, you can create a unified communication landscape that enhances customer service. There is a choice of options for how to integrate Teams with a contact centre but essentially it comes down to two possible approaches.

The integration approach

The integration approach

The first approach to integrating Microsoft Teams with contact centres involves creating a connection between these two vital components of business operations. This traditional method allows organisations to leverage the unique capabilities of both Microsoft Teams and their contact centre. Contact centres, equipped with proprietary communication channels such as web chats, calls, and video chats, handle customer interactions seamlessly.

In this scenario, customer service agents operate within the contact centre solution, and Microsoft Teams is integrated into the contact centre to enable collaborative customer support. This integration empowers agents to use Teams for communication with colleagues and to monitor presence statuses within the contact centre application. While offering a high degree of flexibility for various functionalities, this approach does require maintaining two separate platforms. Also, the depth of integration will depend very much on the specific contact centre, as they vary considerably in how they integrate with Microsoft. This method is particularly useful for organisations where there is very tight integration between the contact centre and a customer’s CRM or ERP.

Benefits and drawbacks of the integration approach

Benefits Drawbacks
Flexibility to choose the 'Microsoft way' Support and Maintenance of two separate platforms by IT
Independence from specific UC providers Agents working in siloed applications, navigating multiple platforms
Integration with multiple UC platforms Limited UC integration, often confined to voice
Complete control of the call by the contact centre solution Necessity for integration testing and potential adaptations with UC platform updates
Access to established features and functionalities, including CRM integration Delays in transferring calls between contact centre and Teams users
  Synchronisation challenges for agents' and employees' presence statuses

The embedded approach

An alternative approach is to embed the contact centre within the UC solution, with Microsoft Teams serving as the central communication platform. In this setup, contact centres do not provide their own communication channels but leverage the functionalities offered by Teams. When an agent receives a call within the contact centre solution, it is treated as a standard Teams call.

One notable advantage of this approach is the opportunity to integrate the contact centre seamlessly into the company-wide communication strategy. This strategy unifies communication across the organisation, with all employees utilising the Teams platform. This method aligns well with Microsoft-centric strategies, leveraging Teams and the Microsoft ecosystem to standardise communication practices. However, limitations arise from the availability of APIs and the functionality provided by Teams and other UC platforms.

Benefits and drawbacks of the embedded approach

Benefits Drawbacks
Holistic company-wide communication strategy Limited feature availability compared to standalone solutions
Simplified IT support and maintenance Restricted to Teams' communication capabilities
Expedited call transfers within Teams Inability to integrate with other UC platforms
Alignment with a clear Microsoft strategy
Compatibility with virtual desktops and multiple devices

Microsoft Teams, with its extensive user base and collaboration capabilities, offers a unique opportunity to revolutionise business communications. By integrating voice capabilities, leveraging cloud telephony, and exploring third-party contact centre solutions, Teams can become the central hub for all communication touchpoints.

The decision to integrate Teams with a contact centre or embed the contact centre within Teams, carries significant implications for your business operations. Each approach offers unique benefits and drawbacks, shaping how communication is streamlined and customer experiences are enhanced. As organisations seek to optimise their communication strategies and redefine customer touchpoints, careful consideration of these approaches is vital.

By aligning the chosen approach with the organisation's size, needs, and overall strategy, businesses can unlock the full potential of integrated communication solutions. Whether you're a small business or a large enterprise, embracing Microsoft Teams as your comprehensive communication solution holds the potential to redefine how you connect, collaborate, and thrive.

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Unlock the power of Microsoft Teams Phone

Talk to SoftwareOne about an Envision workshop to help you evaluate the right communications strategy for your business.

Unlock the power of Microsoft Teams Phone

Talk to SoftwareOne about an Envision workshop to help you evaluate the right communications strategy for your business.


A man with glasses and a beard standing in front of a blue wall.

John Faria
Product Manager – Unified Communications

Digital Workplace