We’ve written many a blog extolling the benefits of Microsoft Teams, the unified communication platform which sits within Office 365. We’ve explained how Microsoft Teams will ultimately replace Skype for Business altogether, offering a far more streamlined and integrated tool for collaboration within and between organisations.
In today’s blog, we’re looking specifically at voice calling in Microsoft Teams. It is powered by Office 365’s Phone System feature, initially launched back in 2017, and previously called Cloud PBX. It enables users to make voice over IP (VoIP) calls between Teams clients.
So far, so simple. But why bother with this if you already have an on-premise telephony system?
The point is, all organisations are going to have to migrate to IP-based telephony sooner or later, with BT planning to migrate all customers to IP services by 2025. Now is the perfect time to get ahead of the game and shift your organisation to a VoIP system – and voice calling in Microsoft Teams offers a raft of valuable functions. Four key features that were launched at the end of 2018 are as follows:
Location-based routing (LBR)
This allows calls between VoIP endpoints and PTSN endpoints to be restricted based on the location of the parties on the call. This might be required by local regulations, for example. Call authorisation rules are applied based on the user’s location policy, and their actual location as specified by the administrator.
Group call pickup (GCP)
This feature allows the creation of groups and also for users to nominate colleagues to pick up their calls when they are unavailable. For example, an individual can set their calls to be forwarded to a group of co-workers, and then place those colleagues in a desired ringing audio. Individual users in these groups can also choose to receive full audio and visual notifications for inbound calls to the group.
Call park (CP)
If employees within your organisation tend to be hard to contact whilst they are working, this feature, which is found on most traditional PBXs, could be particularly valuable. An incoming call can be ‘parked’ by reception, with a unique code generated for the user who parks the call. This code can then be sent to the target of the call by intercom, pager or text, and that target can retrieve the call from their Microsoft Teams client at their own convenience.
Shared line appearance (SLA)
An enhancement to the delegation feature which allows users to select someone to handle calls on their behalf, this feature allows multiple lines to respond to multiple calls by assigning a particular user as a shared number. Calls are not received to the shared number, rather, they are forwarded to delegates who then pick them up.
So that’s four great reasons to use voice calling in Microsoft Teams – and let’s add a fifth.
A quick glance at the Microsoft 365 innovation roadmap reveals hundreds of new features in development, with many relating specifically to Microsoft Teams itself. This is a flagship Microsoft platform, continually evolving and innovating, with ambitious plans to support genuinely transformative ways of working. If you want to foster collaboration within your organisation, Teams could be a great choice to get on board with.