Voice Management and Microsoft Teams: Crucial points to consider

Microsoft Teams has rapidly emerged as the fastest-growing Microsoft application of all time. The ultimate tool for helping companies ensure business continuity in a world rocked by the pandemic, Microsoft Teams has evolved. Since its introduction, the tool has transitioned from a simple collaboration tool, into a fully-featured ecosystem for communication and productivity.

Currently, Teams has more than 270 million monthly active users, and Microsoft has already earned a position in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS as a “Leader” for flexible comms. However, a significant portion of the Microsoft Teams community still isn’t making the most of their investment.

For many companies, the transition to a Microsoft Teams communication environment was a rushed migration, accelerated by the sudden demands of the pandemic. Many companies needed to implement changes almost overnight, which created a number of gaps in deployment.

As the world begins to recover from the last couple of years, now is the time for companies to re-assess their Teams deployment, and determine whether their voice strategy is up to scratch.

Are You Following Teams Voice Management Best Practices?

Microsoft has its own guidance documentation for companies leveraging Microsoft Teams voice. According to the industry leader, companies should have started their transition into the ecosystem with a careful assessment of various factors, like network settings and topology, dial plans and routing requirements, and various PSTN connectivity options.

Unfortunately, when the pandemic hit, most companies didn’t have the time to develop a full plan for Teams voice. Instead, many implemented new solutions rapidly, focusing on keeping the lights on, rather than creating the perfect custom deployment.

A best-practice approach to Microsoft Teams voice management means assessing all of your available options and choosing a highly available and resilient voice solution, with guaranteed levels of exceptional service, security, and compliance.

Here are some of the best practice steps you might have missed during your transition to Microsoft Teams voice:

Assessing deployment options:

First, did you have time to consider all of your deployment options with Microsoft Teams? One of the most valuable features of Microsoft Teams is its ability to deploy voice in a range of different formats. Companies can access in-built Microsoft Calling Plans within the Teams ecosystem, or bring their own carrier into Microsoft with Direct Routing capabilities.

While you might have chosen the “easiest” option during your initial deployment, now could be the perfect time to consider whether Direct Routing or Operator Connect implementations might be better suited to your requirements.

Finding a Microsoft Teams partner:

If like 70% of the companies leveraging Microsoft Teams voice, you decide Direct Routing is the best way to replace a legacy PBX solution, you need to access support from the right partner. Microsoft works with a wide range of companies as “Gold Partners”. These partners can give you access to a host of useful value-added services for managing your voice needs.

The correct partner will give you access to:

  • Comprehensive endpoint mapping
  • User migration and service onboarding
  • Acceptance testing
  • Service documentation and training
  • Problem and change management
  • Teams tenant management

Simplifying Voice Provisioning strategies:

While Direct Routing can give you more freedom with your Microsoft Teams voice solution, it also comes with specific challenges to be aware of when provisioning voice capabilities and new tools. Working with the right vendor on a Direct Routing strategy can give you access to intelligent voice tooling, which improves your experience of Teams voice.

For example, Resonate has used Power Platform to create an app where you can ensure users have everything they need to easily request new phone numbers, make changes to existing phone numbers, or remove phone numbers. You’ll also have access to tools for built-in approval processes, voice policy assignment, custom dial plans, and reporting on number availability and license usage.

Planning for long-term business continuity:

When shifting rapidly to a new Microsoft Teams voice environment during the pandemic, you may have just been looking for tools capable of “keeping the lights on” and ensuring your teams can access the same tools they had in-house in a cloud environment.

However, as we progress into the post-pandemic landscape, many companies are beginning to discover the benefits of Microsoft Teams for boosting business efficiency and transformation long term. With the right solution in place, you can access tools for proactive platform management and incident management, so you always know you’re going to have access to the right communication capabilities when you need them most.

You can even work with Microsoft Teams partners to create Power Apps which give you a new level of control over your Teams ecosystem for current and future deployments.

Implementing crucial extra features:

Leveraging the true benefits of Microsoft Teams Voice doesn’t just have to mean enabling access to business telephony. The open ecosystem offered by Microsoft means there are countless ways to build on your foundation technology with new communication features.

The right Microsoft Teams partner will be able to set you up with new transformational tools for things like call recording and compliance recording, informal and formal contact centres, and Teams Room Systems deployment.

You’ll be able to design your own attendant console from scratch and build bespoke applications designed to enhance and empower your teams.

Leveraging the Full Benefits of Microsoft Teams Voice

Microsoft Teams has the power to transform the way people communicate and collaborate, particularly in today’s digital environment, defined by hybrid, remote, and flexible working practices. Unfortunately, the rush to embrace an agile communication landscape means many companies overlooked crucial steps in their Microsoft Teams deployment.

If you failed to follow the best practices for implementing voice during the pandemic, you could be struggling from:

  • Inconsistent voice and calling quality
  • Problems accessing the latest tools and features of Teams
  • Issues with uptime and guaranteed service levels
  • Concerns about compliance and security in your distributed workforce
  • A solution which can’t be accessed in certain global regions
  • Inability to provide new tools and services remotely

Ultimately, you may not be getting the most out of your Teams Voice experience. As the transition into a new age of work begins, companies need to look back over their existing ecosystem and ask themselves whether they could benefit from refining their deployment.

Evolving and upgrading your Teams strategy with a solution from a Microsoft Gold Partner like Resonate means you can access a highly valuable and resilient global service, with full regulatory and legal compliance. You’ll also be able to access proactive monitoring, and access to innovative new updates and tools at your own pace, thanks to a cloud-first strategy.

With provisioning strategies, fast-track services, and deployment solutions to suit every company, Resonate can help you discover the full benefits of Microsoft Teams. Get in touch to find out more.

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