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5 Reasons for switching to cloud telephony and Microsoft Teams calling

Is calling via Microsoft Teams the right choice for your new telephony environment? In this article Paul Smit, Technical Consultant at Purple gives you his advice.

Switching to calling via Microsoft Teams?

Honestly, I've grown together with the telecom world. In recent years, the situation within many companies has considerably changed. I have experienced this myself, but I also supported customers in making this change. From telephone exchanges with analog devices to internet connections with IP telephony and peripherals. This is why I am working for Purple. As a consultant, I take the customer on a journey to a new and pleasant way of working. By making a successful transition to Microsoft Teams calling.

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In this article I will tell you 5 reasons to switch to calling via Microsoft Teams:

  1. Ultimate accessibility
  2. Supporting
  3. Cost-saving
  4. Automated call handling
  5. Improved service management capabilities

1. Ultimate accessibility

The Microsoft Teams telephony functionalities offer the possibility to make and receive calls to and from fixed and mobile telephones on the public telephone network (PSTN). By using Microsoft Teams as a professional telephony environment, you and your organization are always available to customers, colleagues and partners. You keep pace with the developments in hybrid working and at the same time you improve your overall business continuity and accessibility.

It's nice to be able to make your phone calls anywhere you are, with the devices on which you also perform most other tasks. Think about your laptop, mobile phone and tablet. These are powerful tools and essential to do your work efficiently. And when you combine these devices with a Microsoft Teams certified headset, you will get the job done easily!

During COVID-19, I have seen many organizations still using traditional telephony solutions with limited functionalities. This means that, during a lockdown, customer service employees had to physically be in the office to do their work. This was certainly not a desirable situation. With Teams calling you're available anytime, anywhere with your landline number. You only need an internet connection. So no matter the situation, you can guarantee your customer interaction and increase customer satisfaction and improve customer interaction. Even in times of COVID-19!

In addition, by accommodating telephony in Teams (as part of the full Microsoft 365 package), users have all their productivity and communication tools together in one unified platform. Think of files, notes, tasks, chat meetings and more. This increases the productivity of the employees and ensures that they can do their work more efficiently.

Consider the situation where you cannot leave your home when you have a flat tire or there is a violent storm. How convenient is it that you can work from home and still be available? The disappearance of distances and travel times immediately increases your productivity and opens new windows of opportunity

2. Supporting

During my work, I noticed that many organizations do not have enough up-to-date knowledge about the transition to cloud telephony. It is a challenging environment, constantly evolving and the expertise is rare. For example, there are many components to consider, implement and maintain. I am happy to explain to you what is needed for this transition and how your organization can be supported.

To make and receive calls via Teams, you need a Session Border Controller, or SBC. This SBC is a fully managed link between Microsoft Teams and the telephony network. Do you want your company to have its own SBC environment because of regulations, or do you want to take advantage of a shared SBC infrastructure environment with high availability and redundancy? These are important items for the decision-making process prior to such a transition. Previous projects have shown that the correct application of the SBC environment results in a secure, stable and scalable solution with an infrastructure that is fully supported and managed.

In addition to the SBC, we also have the SIP trunk: a telephone line that connects the existing telephony exchange to the public telephony network via the Internet. Do you want to connect to existing or new SIP platforms? Both options are possible. It's good to know that Purple has its own fully managed telephony network with coverage in more than 60 countries. An ideal solution if your company has multiple offices in different countries! Thanks to our Managed SIP, all telephone numbers and calling plans are managed from one solution and by one party. Providing benefits, as you do not need a separate telephony subscription in every country where you have an office.

Countries that have coverage in our Managed SIP solution for Microsoft Teams Calling

3. Cost-saving

Calling via Teams also saves you money. The costs of traditional telephony are quite high and have limited functionality when, for example, you have to be at the office to make a call. Calling with Microsoft Teams is cloud-only; because of the low overhead, you have fewer costs. It requires no hardware investments, such as data centers and local hardware at the customer. Purple offers competitive rates based on price per user per month. And don't forget: making calls between Teams users is free!

4. Automated call handling

The option to have calls being handled automatically within Microsoft Teams can be a real godsend. Microsoft Teams offers functionalities in which callers hear an automated greeting, are automatically transferred to the correct department or employee using a selection menu and hear music while they are in the queue. Useful!

For example, I recently set up such a telephony “entrance” for various customers at their reception. Customers who previously had fewer options available. Through smart use of the Microsoft Teams telephony functionalities, the handling of calls is now guided in the right direction and the abundance of calls is streamlined and distributed more effectively. This takes the pressure off the traditional telephony environment and improves the overall accessibility of your organization. It also improves your customer experience as calls will be picked up more regularly or routed with more control, even when it is busy.

5. Improved service management capabilities

Using Microsoft365 means you have access to various tools to create reports for calling with Teams. These reports are provided with standard templates but can be adapted to your wishes. The reports can be used within the so-called portal of Microsoft365 and locally within PowerBI: a powerful tool that visualizes your data.

The biggest advantage of this level of reporting is that, by improving the insight into your telephony environment, opportunities arise that allow you to manage and control the service even better. The data provides factual information on the utilization, quality, and types of channels that users actively use. Based on this it becomes easier to take focused actions to improve the experience, usage and overall customer satisfaction! For example by actively pursuing user adoption activities, adding new features, or providing insight to company stakeholders.

In addition, it can be beneficial to bring both the collaboration (meetings, audio/video calls) and communication (telephony) environments together in one powerful platform in Microsoft Teams. This gives you flexibility and all available user options with maximum control for service management and support.

And we add a 6th (extra) reason that will be available soon:

6. Easily manage your phone numbers

Number management via Microsoft Teams is a challenge for many customers: telephone numbers are bought in blocks/batches and these numbers often end up in a spreadsheet to hand out to employees. Then the numbers are handed out one by one (oftentimes manually) to employees, and Teams will be configured again via error-prone scripts. At Purple we see many customers struggling with this, so we decided to build a solution to make it much easier!

That's why we started developing a Microsoft Teams app that helps your organization with managing your available telephone numbers and assigning these to users. The goal is to provide an easy interface but securely manage the complete process. The tool itself is an end-to-end solution that can be used directly in Microsoft Teams. This app is currently still in development and will be launched shortly. Stay tuned!

Purple helps you to switch to Microsoft Teams Calling

Hopefully, these 5 (or 6) reasons give you a better picture of the Microsoft Teams telephony environment and convinced you to switch to cloud telephony. After all, calling via Teams comes with many tangible benefits! Not quite convinced yet? Based on a recent study by Forrester TEI, Teams calling improves employee and business performance while providing enhanced security, compliance, company uptime and mobility. Who doesn't want that?

Want to know more or do you have any questions?

Contact me!