Microsoft has a fantastic certification program and the value of this to employers is extremely high. As a CEO of a Microsoft Gold Partner, I can attest that the ideal candidate for me may or may not have a degree, but if they have up-to-date and continual progression of Microsoft exam certifications then I’m going to want to talk to those candidates.
There is a reason that Microsoft encourage the learning process – its because the technology changes at a rapid pace and to work in the Microsoft stack its vital that you are up to date. Just look at the Microsoft Ignite book of news – pages and pages of changes, new features, and updates.
Microsoft have invested heavily in the provision of information to help you achieve these certifications, let’s look at an exam I recently studied for MS:700 Managing Microsoft Teams. This is an exam, in the words of Microsoft for “Microsoft Teams administrators who manage Microsoft Teams to facilitate efficient and effective collaboration and communication in a Microsoft 365 environment.”
The exam covers all aspects of managing Microsoft Teams and while that makes is huge topic, I’m going to focus on the areas of Calling and Call Management for you in this blog post.
While the Teams Admin center has several obvious areas that need to be covered by this topic there are some not so obvious that you also need to be aware of for the exam.
Microsoft Teams is not just managed in the Teams Admin center, you also need to understand and have access to Azure and understand some principles of cloud / network infrastructure to grasp all the concepts if this is not a part of your day job.
As a Teams administrator you may think that you only need to research and implement features once in your organisation. However, Teams is part of a bigger ecosystem, the brilliance of the product, and the whole M365 cloud technology stack, is the integration. Changes to Azure security, on-premises governance policy and data classification in your organisation or the Microsoft toolset will have a knock-on effect to your Teams configuration. We are no longer in a set it and forget it technology era, which is why the importance of understanding the impact and technology behind Microsoft Teams to effectively administer it.
Calling and Call Management can be seen across the entire configuration of Microsoft Teams and Azure and are touched on in many ways within the exam itself including:
Looking at each of these areas then you should understand the options available so that, given a specific, real-life scenario you would understand which path to choose or how to configure for optimal performance.
Just like in real life, some scenarios can seem massively similar, however a small variance would take you down a different path – to pass the exam you need to get good at spotting these cues. It’s not essential to memorize too many facts and figures, port numbers etc so try not to obsess on them, but instead learn whey they are there and the impact of getting them wrong and, as you would in real life, you’ll be able to intuit the answer from the information and answer options given.
What you will need to understand is the why, when looking at scenarios available, why would I pick a certain route / configuration / option. Looking at the options available for instance on the Teams Calling solutions shown below.
Then dig into the finer details, i.e., are Calling plans available in the countries for your organisation scenario? Do you have a physical phone system to integrate with where only one solution fits?
Its also worth brushing up on the Acronyms used in the telephony industry such as PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) and PBX (Private Branch Exchange) – you don’t need to be an expert on these technologies, just how to integrate with them in the most secure and productive way with Microsoft Teams.
For the admin center the best way to learn is to go and play with the features, I would highly recommend getting a developer tenant west-up and playing with the settings, you’ll quickly see what make sense to set as options and there is a vast amount of content on YouTube and blog posts from experts like the amazing Chris Hoard - @Microsoft365Pro – Modern Workplace Blog focusing on Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams who you will find have documented a great deal of the features and options available on every part of Microsoft Teams configuration.
There are many other areas that the exam covers and as a topic I’d say allow several sessions to study it well, to play with the technology and read or watch others in tutorials and YouTube content. You will always learn something new even on technologies you are using daily.
One of the most fascinating areas of studying this topic for me, as I don’t work as a full time Teams Administration was the difference in the level of logging and analytics for calling and call management. To understand these its worth looking at a few in real life – if you have access to an active tenant great, if not you can look on your developer tenant, but they will be largely empty so have a look around on YouTube for some content on how these are used. There is again a great module in the Learning path on MS Learn on the Call Quality Dashboard, Direct Routing Health Dashboard, and the logs and client caches as well as the different admin levels needed to access the details of these reports which you’ll need to be aware of for the exam.
The exam does not yet feature the newer technologies announced at Ignite including Mesh and the new trust relationships with partner tenants, however the exam will be updated to feature these are they become general availability features and I would expect another exam update in the second half of 2022 to cover these.
So, where to begin on learning all these elements – well step 1 would be to sign up for the Cloud Skills Challenge from Microsoft Ignite, not just for a free exam voucher but because the challenge itself will connect you to the Microsoft Learn content associated to this topic. Let me also share a collection I created for my own MS:700 study here, in my collection I also added a learning path for Active Directory identity and access. If you are struggling with any of the concepts of reference to Azure Active Directory these should be useful context for you. I took the exam about a month ago and the Microsoft Learn content was a huge part of my learning process, I wrote a blog article on how I learn specifically for and while I was studying for this exam here: ”Learning, How I Do it? Why I do it?”
I hope this has provided some useful context for you around the coverage of the calls and call management aspects of the MS:700 Managing Microsoft Teams exam. Please share any other resources you use to study for this and your top tips for administration of Microsoft Teams. If you’ve taken the exam and have some tips to share, consider talking at a user group or sharing with the community online – as a reader of this blog you are already a part of an awesome tech community, and we’d love to hear from you. #CommunityRocks
Sharon Sumner has achieved the Microsoft Business Application MVP award for her dedication to community speaking, sharing technical knowledge, and helping as mentor and advisor to community members and IT professionals. Sharon leads the Cambridge (UK) Power Platform User Group and is also a regular speaker at Microsoft events and provided the Keynote with Microsoft speakers at the Dublin Power Platform world tour.
Sharon is CEO of Business Cloud Integration a successful Microsoft Gold Partner consultancy known for their focus on delivering value. In addition to consultancy, development, and managed services the company are also the creators of Casper365, a leading SharePoint Online & Microsoft Teams provisioning platform.
Sharon is currently writing Getting to Value Faster, a book that focuses on delivering real and lasting business value via Microsoft 365. This addresses the challenges of understating how a modern, change organisation needs to view and adopt technology using her own "Change Enterprise" methodology.
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