Microsoft Teams: A Great Collaboration Tool, but a Not so Great Phone System

Brett Harney Application Integration, Bandwidth management

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Application IntegrationAt Corporate Technologies Group, Inc. we are getting more requests on how MS Teams can provide communication / collaboration services to our clients.  This is a pivotal time, as Microsoft announced that they would be phasing out their Unified Communications Platform, Skype for Business, and replace it with Microsoft Teams in 2017. Now that we are in 2019, Teams is taking it to the next level by going into the phone system space. With a collaboration tool like Teams, taking it a step further seems like the most logical solution, right?

Collaboration, better communication, and productivity are some of the important qualities needed for any business, and Teams is starting to deliver on all fronts. Teams might be the next wave of the future of collaboration and a phone system. We break down the pros and cons of Teams below.

Pros:

  1. 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
  2. You can purchase a calling plan that fits your business needs that provide phone system features such as:
    • call holding and retrieving
    • call forwarding and simultaneous ringing,
    • call history
    • voicemail
    • emergency calling

Cons:

  1. Teams needs to be connected to the public switched telephone network (PTSN)
    • Without this, the team’s app cannot be assigned a phone number and no one outside of your organization can dial a number to talk to you
  2. Microsoft Teams has some deficiencies that many customers will need including features like:
    1. 3 way calling
    2. On hold music
    3. External paging
    4. Special features like:
      • IVR
      • Omnichannel Contact Center
      • Call recording
      • Barge-in calling options
      • Call queues
      • Call reporting
      • Receptionist software
  1. Microsoft Customer Service is hands off, rather than hands on.
  2. Microsoft Teams requires Office 365 and Teams requires Microsoft’s Office Enterprise E5 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:

  1. 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 is 100% in the cloud.
  2. 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.

Teams can help move your business to the cloud, but you may be missing some key features required for your business to operate the way you want it to. Corporate Technologies Group, Inc. can help you navigate through the jungle of VoIP and how apps like Teams can help improve your user’s communication experience.