Microsoft Teams: State of the Union

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How Does Teams Play In Today’s Evolving Work Environments?

Increasing pressures on businesses to enable hybrid work environments have caused many organizations to take a fresh look at how their employees communicate. How can they continue to deliver great customer experiences? How can they contain costs without sacrificing service? Some companies are accelerating plans to move their on-premises telecommunications to the cloud. Others are integrating contact center and back-office communications. One near-universal trend is growing Microsoft Teams adoption across numerous industries including Education, Government, Manufacturing, Retail and Healthcare, to name just a few.  So what is the State of the Union in telephony when it comes to integrating Microsoft Teams with more robust communications?

Kevin Keiller, of EnableUC published a nice summary of recent Teams growth. Microsoft reports 270 million monthly active Teams users. Concurrently, Gartner says “By 2024, 20% of total Microsoft Teams active users will adopt telephony services for external calling on Teams.”

So when you look at Microsoft Teams: State of the Union, assuming these numbers are accurate, simple math says there will be a minimum of 54 million users of third-party telephony services for external calling on Teams by 2024. And that number is likely to grow. One of the fundamental questions for these users is do they simply want a dial tone, or do they want the telephony service to act as a customer engagement tool or a source to collect analytics data? While there are many paths to adding telephony to Teams, the most common is via direct routing services or a Microsoft program called Operator Connect.

Microsoft positions Teams as an enterprise productivity platform, which means opening more APIs and enabling third parties to innovate around and within Teams including telephony for all employees. This includes agents in the contact center. This paves the way for customers to reap the benefits of adding telephony to Teams with minimal additional costs and service interruptions.

Better Together

SaaS companies are helping customers by adding new capabilities and benefits including improved global reach, cross-platform analytics, and support for analog devices such as shop phones, copiers, and fax machines. Organizations like common data platforms for the added agility and the need to reinvent business processes to cost-effectively manage customer experience challenges.  However, there are more complex technical components that must be addressed, which is where having a trusted telecom partner like Global CTI comes into play.

Is Your UCaaS Strategy More Than Voice, Video, and Collaboration?

As platform and integration technologies mature, the scope of what constitutes unified communications expands. Unified communications is no longer just voice, video, collaboration, and text messaging. Ninety-three (93%) of respondents said that CRM systems (e.g. Salesforce) and existing business apps are part of their unified communications strategy. It will not be long before Internet of Things (IoT) sensors report status and other information to humans within a chat app. Robots too, will eventually need to be a unified communications component in some kinds of organizations.

The vast number of choices that organizations have to enable business communications and the speed at which the landscape is changing reiterates the importance of having a documented unified
communications strategy. Communications tools are now receiving board-level attention because they are critical to business resiliency. Yet, in a recent 8×8 survey, 15% of respondents said they either have no unified communications strategy or are unsure. That number is too high in customer-centric environments, or industries that focus on customer experience as a differentiator.

The lesson is that before diving deep into any unified communications platform or direct routing solutions, work with your technology advisors. Develop plans that allow you to benefit from the applications that matter to your business most in addition to voice and video, for example. The study examined how important IT decision-makers felt contact centers ought to be part of their unified communications strategy. More than three-quarters (79%) of organizations who do not currently use Microsoft Teams as their contact center plan to integrate it in the future.

Do Your Due Diligence

Conducting Teams telephony due diligence will help you get the most value and performance from your Microsoft investments. Ask questions of potential direct routing solutions providers and your technology advisors. Access product demonstrations, attend online information sessions, and review what your peers are doing. Platform and integration technologies are more important than ever and will continue to be prime considerations this year and beyond.

Top Questions to Ask Potential Microsoft Teams Direct Solutions Providers

Here are some key questions to ask your Microsoft Teams Direct Routing provider when adding voice capabilities for Teams:

1. Does your solution still allow users to use the native dialer within Teams?
2. Can you enable non-Teams users to view the presence status of Teams-based clients?
3. Is it possible to enable call recording and how do Teams users play back their recordings without leaving their client interface?
4. How do you enable Teams users to access eFax and other messaging services that are not supported within the standard Teams client?
5. Does your direct routing solution require a Bot or Web extension installation on the end-user device?
6. In how many countries do you offer full PSTN replacement for Microsoft Teams?
7. Do your call plans include unlimited calling? How many countries?
8. Do you offer a Microsoft Teams-certified contact center solution? Does it integrate natively on a single platform with your Teams voice calling solution?
9. Does your Microsoft Teams certified contact center allow agents to make and receive calls within Microsoft Teams?
10. Does your certified Microsoft Teams contact center include omni-channel interactions, and workforce engagement management, for Microsoft Teams?
11. Does your Microsoft Teams Direct Routing solution support native business application and CRM integrations? Which integrations are supported?
12. Does your Direct Routing solution provide key insights into Microsoft Teams calls as well as non-Teams users, across the enterprise workforce and contact center agents?
13. Does your Direct Routing solution provide speech analytics and quality management reporting?
14. Which security and compliance certifications do your Direct Routing solution support?
15. Does your Direct Routing solution allow users to use the native dialer within Teams?
16. Do you enable call recording?
17. Do you allow Teams users to play back their recordings without leaving their client interface?
18. How do you enable Teams users to access eFax and other messaging services that are not supported within the standard Teams client?

Telecommunications Support

The good news is there are technical companies like Global CTI that offer several UCaaS and CCaaS options based on your company’s needs and goals, all of which  Telecomm providers today understand the trends organizations face with evolving and hybrid workforces. In many cases, we find the current solutions in place were piecemealed together as part of the company’s Covid-19 response and are now being evaluated for better cost-savings, functionality enhancements, and in some situations, carrier’s discontinuing legacy product sales and support like the recent Mitel Connect 2024 end of life announcement.

If your company is facing any of these situations, or if you are seeking to strengthen communications and collaboration within your organization, let’s talk. Give us a call at 800-366-1711  or email and get started on your path to more efficient and productive communications!


This report was published and shared by our partner, 8X8. Read the full report here.

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