Most businesses have made improvements with their means of communicating and collaborating. It is necessary to choose a platform for efficient communication and engagement within your remote team and to provide services to your clients. It is beneficial to understand how to enable voice for Microsoft teams and it as your softphone. Teams with voice become the most leading communication platforms.
Note that to have an excellent team space is equal to creative team decision-making and efficient communication. So, if you want to learn more how you can take advantage of this application to communicate with your customers, vendors and partners, read until the end.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a platform for effective communication among remote workers. It is one of Microsoft Office 365’s cloud-based platforms and it will be efficient if you’ll start to turn the voice option to your MS Teams since Skype for Business Online (SFB online) will be completely discontinued starting on July 31, 2021.
This March 2020, Microsoft teams users spiked to 12 million users daily per week bringing it to a total of 44 million users. This is also because companies started to establish work from home setups due to the current pandemic.
Here are some Microsoft Teams features that can help boost your remote team collaboration:
- Create teams and channels. It allows instant chat and team conversations too which can make remote collaboration easier since messages will be visible to all team members.
- Your team will have its document storage in SharePoint. All shared files within the team conversation will be automatically saved to a folder on a SharePoint online site. Note that you can customize the permission for each document to ensure the security of sensitive information.
- Video conferences are also available in Microsoft Teams. Aside from that teams can share their desktop during the call. This will help you to boost real-time collaboration in your business.
- Audio conferencing is possible with Microsoft Teams if you will connect it to an SIP provider. You’ll have the option to participate in a call even without interruption which will be beneficial if you’ll conduct it with your client.
- You can conduct online meetings and even include anyone in or out of the business.
- Microsoft Teams can function as your softphone if you decide to connect it to ULTATEL so you can make and receive calls on any device.
One more thing: It is included in Microsoft 365 and Office365 for free. Microsoft Teams is an all-around hub for your team because you can also access Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, and more with just a fingertip.
Can You Use Microsoft Teams as a Softphone?
Microsoft Teams can replace your traditional PSTN line. It is available as an add-on feature to your Microsoft Office 365 subscription.
You can use Microsoft telephony with your headsets, laptop, or even using your mobile phone. So, you can now cut all the additional expenses for hardwired copper installation for your traditional telephony.
Microsoft Teams offers two options in order to make, receive, and transfer calls:
- Enable Phone System and Calling Plans – Microsoft will provide phone numbers to your users and all PSTN services and this option is 100% in the cloud.
- Direct Connect – use PSTN connection through a Session Border Controller (SBC) to connect Microsoft Teams to your old PBX, any cloud PBX or your SIP trunking provider. ULTATEL offers a certified SBC solution that can help you with any of the scenarios above.
Note that you should have the following licenses to connect Microsoft Teams to PSTN:
- Business Essentials
- Business Premium
- Enterprise 1 (E1)
- Enterprise 3 (E3)
- Enterprise 3 (E5)
These licenses have Microsoft Teams included and will allow your team to have internal chat, file and screen sharing, and conduct internal meetings. If you wish to dial someone or if you’ll conduct an audio conference with a partner outside your business, you can add this feature through Microsoft to enable voice connection through direct routing methods.
But it would be more beneficial to your business if you’ll take advantage of the services that ULTATEL offers. They can provide voice options to your MS Teams which is actually cost effective than the additional licensing from Microsoft. They can connect your Microsoft Teams account to your current SIP provider, if you have one, through its certified SBC or provide you with a complete solution with the SBC plus the SIP trunks
5 Reasons Why Microsoft Teams Should Be Your Next Softphone for your Business
Softphones will be the future voice of businesses. Aside from Microsoft Teams being user-friendly and straightforward, here are the other five reasons why it should be your next business softphone:
1. Productivity gains and enriched communication
Teams can help your business increase productivity because Microsoft 365 brings all the collaboration tools in one place. You can easily access your team’s conversations, meetings, shared documents, notes, and many more in one single app and interface. And Teams also has 3rd party apps that are integrated with Microsoft Teams that can help you stay in the app even working on the other tools to get your tasks done.
2. Increased focus on work
Teams help you to focus on work-related topics which will also help you to save time. You don’t need to go through all the messages in your inbox which also contains unimportant contents. Teams brings all the information you need in your channel and it contains your team conversations, meetings, and documents that are related to the topic of your organization.
You will not get lost since Teams also has a search bar. So you won’t be side-tracked with any random email and you can save time cleaning up and sorting your inbox.
3. Promotes transparency
One of the challenges that the digital workplace faces is keeping everyone on track and ensuring that all team members are still in the loop of what’s been going on in their organization.
With Microsoft Teams, this has been made easier since you don’t need to put extra time double checking if you were able to put all the necessary names on CC in an email. With Teams, you simply need to mention the team members using @ to notify them and to read your message.
If you’ll conduct a meeting, you can just send the message to a specific channel that you have wherein your message will be visible to everyone. In this way, you can make the relaying of messages much easier and increase transparency by enabling all members to “pop-in” in the channel.
4. Seamless move to a digital workplace
One of the huge benefits that a business could get from moving to a digital workplace in the cloud is you can access business information anywhere and on any device. Since Microsoft Teams is a fully cloud-based platform, moving to the cloud is seamless.
If you’ll build your workplace in the cloud, you can maximize the benefits of big data processing and artificial intelligence built for businesses. Also, if your team members are multilingual, Teams offer translations of conversations.
Another thing, if ever you’ll miss an important meeting, you don’t need to worry because you can tune in to any part of the meeting that you need the most by searching keywords that have been discussed in the video recording.
5. New team members can quickly get up to speed
In today’s business setup wherein everyone works remotely and talent sourcing from anywhere in the world is easy, you can use Teams to quickly get new employees up to speed and engage in your teamwork regardless of their geographic location.
Microsoft Teams Softphone Cost
The cost of Microsoft Teams is more beneficial to smaller companies since it is much cheaper than the monthly costs of typical phone lines or to any other cloud-based phone system.
But for big companies, you can easily add up calling plan licenses to all your team members. Microsoft will divide the calling plan minutes among all the team members. So if your plan has 30,000 minutes before overage charges and you have 10 users, each user will have an allotted 3,000 minutes.
Add-on license costs may vary from $4 up to $25 per user every month for commercial companies. But if your business is a non-profit entity, an Education organization, you can have it at a much lower price. License cost will depend on the needs of your business.
For audio conferencing, you need the Microsoft Audio Conferencing feature for $4 MSRP/user based on a monthly subscription.
For external dialing, you need the Microsoft License feature which is at $8 MSRP/user every month.
For domestic call plans, it’s at $12MSRP/ user monthly and for international call plans at $24 MSRP/user.
Are There Any Downsides and Limitations?
Any collaboration tool has its downsides and limitations. For your knowledge and to serve as your reference, here are for Microsoft Teams:
- Link sharing of the document that you edited on Word is not possible in Teams at this time. So, you need to send it via email.
- Microsoft Teams still doesn’t support Group calendars, so if you need to you’ll have to switch to Outlook.
- Whenever you move a file into a new folder, the link in Teams in all conversations will be broken.
- One of the benefits of Microsoft Teams is all team members who belong to a channel can access automatically all the information and files that have been shared. But if you want to customize the permission since teamwork isn’t always binary, it’s not possible at this moment. One thing that you could do is to create a private channel but adding “guest users” is not allowed.
Microsoft is working hard to address these issues. What’s important at this time is you’re aware of them and you’ll be guided properly. In that case, you can maximize the benefits that it has.
Switching to Microsoft Teams as Your Next Softphone
Just like with other business softphones, if you are planning to change your provider, you should be prepared and ensure that it will not be disruptive to your business and your team members. But expect that switching might cause minimal disruption.
You can contact ULTATEL to discuss more and to review your current licensing or if you don’t have any we can help you set up and provide all the necessary information until the installation.
There are several reasons why you should choose Microsoft Teams as your next business softphone and those have been discussed above. If you still have questions, we can help discuss them further.
It’s better to switch now to cut the cost of monthly plans with a traditional PSTN plan and to increase productivity in your team while maximizing the benefits of easy file sharing and efficient communication in different forms.