The pandemic has impacted our day-to-day job, forcing many of us to work from home. So now the question arises, “how can I make my business calls when my phone is on my office desk?” I don’t want to make calls using my personal cellphone, otherwise, it would end up exposing my private phone number. So how should we go about this?
More importantly, it has impacted Clinicians as well. They are super busy treating patients and not looking into their desk phone missed calls or voicemails, which could result in missing vital information that is required to treat patients. One thing we learned during this pandemic is, the organization need to be prepared their employee to be able to work from wherever they are and needs to be effective. They can not rely on bolt-on desk devices and a plethora of applications to do their day to day job, specially for communications (Persistent Chat/Meetings and Telephony).
Most of the telephone servers or appliance called “PBX” is deployed in the data center closet, running for several years. It has hardwired desk phones for end-users to make and receive calls. Everything was working as intended prior to the pandemic. However, due to recent pandemic events, businesses are now required to adopt new methods for WFH (work from home) and the clinical mobile workforce to be more effective for communications and collaboration.
Scrambling for solutions, many organizations are not aware of what Microsoft Teams is capable of. It’s possible that some organizations are already using Teams for Instant Messaging/Collaboration and Peer to Peer calling, however, that is the extent of their usage. How about trying to enable that DIALPAD inside Teams to use as a telephone? See the picture below
Let's talk about Microsoft Teams for a moment. It is a cloud-born Microsoft product that has been adopted around the world, with 2.7 billion minutes a day, and 44M daily active users. Unlike other siloed applications for telephony and meetings solutions, Microsoft Teams provides everything a user needs from chat, collaboration, group chat, secure messaging, telehealth, virtual rounding, meetings and voice/telephony, and much more. A user does not need to open any other application nor requires any 3rd party software to manage security like DLP, MFA, etc. A user can download the Microsoft Teams app on any device and procure a consistent interface to consume. For example, Mac, Browser, iPhone, Android, and even Linux. If you are using Office365, you can use Teams. If you are not using Teams today but have Office365 deployed in your organization, you can download and use it from teams.microsoft.com. Please discuss with your IT department to enable Teams for use. If you haven’t used Office365 yet, you can sign up here.
Why Teams as a telephone?
People need a tool to make and receive a call for business. Instead of having shadow IT getting into unapproved telephony services from 3rd party and becoming unmanageable, let's enable users for what they are familiar with as it's secure and compliant. Here is a list of what Microsoft Teams telephony is capable of:
- Call Answer/Hold/Park/Voicemail/Simultaneous ring and many features listed here
- Users can simply make and receive a call like they are in the office
- Can get telephone number directly from Microsoft in a matter of seconds and enable users for telephony (supported countries, look for calling plan section)
- They can keep the same number in Teams as office number (DID) and even mask their outgoing number (DID) to organization IVR (Interactive Voice Response) or main office number
- Users don’t need to switch applications to do chat/meetings or even voice/telephony, uses Teams for everything for the modern workplace
- Security, privacy and compliance built-in and much more
- Co-exist with legacy PBX or eliminate existing legacy PBX
- If required, can port existing office number (supported countries) or use existing Telephone voice trunks that are sitting inside existing data center closets using certified Session border controllers like Audiocodes, Ribbon and more
How can you enable this service?
Assuming you are currently using Microsoft Teams, there are a variety of ways you can enable this service to function. Bottom line is, you will need a “Phone system” license + “Calling Plan”. Phone system license enables PBX function for user and the Calling Plan allows to make and receive calls. I highly recommend you discuss with your license reseller or Microsoft account representative to discuss licensing details and options.
Once you have licenses in your Office365 tenant, apply a license to a user, acquire/assign a phone number to the user, it's really that simple.
Additionally, few partners are willing to help organizations who are using Teams today to enable telephony by utilizing their cloud services with direct routing configuration. This means, you will still need a “Phone System” license from Microsoft, but Microsoft partners listed below can provide numbers and minutes using partners cloud services and that can be enabled in few hours.
- Net2Phone (90 days no cost for global calling plan)
- For details contact: Dano Ybarra firstname.lastname@example.org
- TetraVx (90days no cost calling plan)
- For details contact: Patrick Graves email@example.com
- Nuwave Communications
- For details contact: Gary Woods firstname.lastname@example.org
- For details contact: Geoff Newman email@example.com
- And many more…
Organizations should transform business by simplifying communications infrastructure, reducing the cost that improves overall efficiency/productivity/mobility and security using Microsoft cloud service.