Is Microsoft Teams Enough to Replace Your Phone System?
Microsoft Teams’ popularity grew enormously during 2020, particularly with so many people working remotely in light of COVID-19. The Verge reported Teams’ usage jumped from 44 million daily active users in March 2020 to more than 75 million in April the same year – a 70% increase in only 30 days. As of January 2022, Teams noted 270 million monthly active users.
You may now love this powerful application and wonder, can Microsoft Teams replace your phone system completely? This is a common question because traditional phone systems lack many of the Teams features businesses need and have gotten used to. While Teams offers a robust feature library and comprehensive services for its customers, it may lack some enterprise voice services your brand needs to make the most of its interactions with customers, vendors, and more.
Microsoft Teams Features and Limitations: Can Microsoft Teams Replace Your Phone System?
As you determine whether Microsoft Teams can replace your phone system, consider both the platform’s comprehensive features and the limitations that may go along with it.
If cost is your primary consideration, Microsoft Teams does offer a free version of its collaboration platform, but only for commercial Microsoft365 subscribers. According to PCMag, if you have this subscription, you can take advantage of unlimited chats, audio and video calls, 10GB of file storage for your team, and 2GB per employee.
This Microsoft365 package can enable you to use the features you use every day with Teams. Quickly access content from Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote directly within the Teams platform. You can also incorporate nearly 150 other business applications and add up to 300 people to your Teams’ contacts, even those outside your organization.
On the plus side, Microsoft Teams offers capabilities beyond those traditionally associated with phone systems, such as video calls, chat and file storage. It comes short of providing businesses with enterprise-level PBX call features, such as support for analog devices like fax machines, call routing, and call reporting.
You must remember that Microsoft did not build Teams as an enterprise communications system but as a collaboration platform with basic calling features. While the video, chat and file storage components have been critical to many working remotely, Microsoft Teams can’t wholly replace a phone system, particularly for more complex enterprise infrastructures.
However, telecom leaders have found ways to supercharge Teams with voice capabilities to convert them into a robust business platform.
Teams also continues to update its functionality to provide a more robust feature library for its users.
New Microsoft Teams Features in 2022
For 2022, Microsoft Teams has provided several critical updates and options that can help enhance connectivity and make communication easier for users. Those improved features may offer more services to help many organizations replace their existing systems and function more effectively. While many of those updates were not made directly to the phone system and calling options, they may offer an immense benefit that can help expand user functionality.
Dynamic Caller ID
Call queue agents can now control how their lines appear on Caller ID when they place a call, using the call queue phone number, instead of an agent’s unique number, as the Caller ID option. Considering whether Microsoft Teams can replace your phone system can be crucial since it may offer enhanced functionality for many call centers and make it easier for call recipients to figure out exactly where those messages have come from.
Now, meeting organizers can share co-organizer capability with up to 10 others in the chat. These users will be free to manage administrative functions during meetings, making it easier for large gatherings to function as smoothly as possible.
Integrated CART captions on web meetings can help users who need captions to help them follow along with the content presented during the session. Previously, captions were only available on a secondary window. Now, however, users can integrate them directly on the platform.
In addition, more languages are available for those captions and meeting transcriptions than ever. Users can include Czech, Portuguese, Turkish, Thai, Hebrew, and Vietnamese in transcriptions and captions, which may help meeting users feel more welcomed and comfortable.
Disabling Chat for Select Users
To help improve security, Microsoft Teams allows the option to disable chat for unauthenticated users. Since chat data can be used as part of data security breaches in some financial services organizations, healthcare, and other industries, this feature can prove vital to improving security and communication.
As a result of the comprehensive features available for Microsoft Teams, it’s little wonder that many businesses wonder if Microsoft Teams can replace the phone system for the company. However, it’s essential to consider what features your brand needs and what additions you may need to your enterprise phone system to make the most of Teams.
Analyze Your Current System Status
Before you decide if Microsoft Teams can replace your phone system, you must compare your business needs with all Teams’ features. For solopreneurs or very small businesses, Teams may work just fine on its own. You must stay within their calling plan parameters and settle for basic call features. Before you decide on the answer to “Can Microsoft Teams replace your phone system?” you may need to consider your unique business needs carefully.
Microsoft does offer calling plans, but they can be relatively pricey and somewhat limited compared to what most carriers provide, especially regarding feature availability in certain countries.
Think about the experience you want your incoming callers to have as well. Uptime, call quality, call routing, extensions and call transfers are just a few of the phone features they’ve expected. Suppose you cannot provide those features for your callers. In that case, it may decrease their overall opinion of your business and interaction with your brand, even before they reach a customer service representative.
You need to provide a seamless, pleasant calling experience that routes customers to the right person quickly and with minimal bouncing. Teams doesn’t have an enterprise-level phone system functionality, so if you replace your phone system with Teams, you’ll give up these features.
However, investing in your current infrastructure could be beneficial if you leverage the benefits of voice and Microsoft Teams to scale your communications network to fit all your business needs.
Related: Giving Microsoft Teams a Voice
What Features Does Teams Offer?
Teams does offer several critical phone system features that can help provide you with a high-quality experience for your customers. For example, it may allow you to:
- Control hold music
- Provide auto-attendants for your customers, which may help guide them through the correct menu options and even answer simple questions without having to connect to a live representative
- Forward calls or set up simultaneous rungs
- Incoming call sharing between users
- The ability to transfer to voicemail during a call
- Multiple Caller ID options
- Device switching, so users can quickly transfer between devices while maintaining a smooth customer experience
- Allowing the ability to block specific calls or to block all calls but allow specific ones through
- Video and voice calls with connected team members
- Voicemails are delivered to the Exchange mailbox at the same time a voicemail is delivered
- Shared line appearance
- Configuration for incoming calls when a user is already in a call or a conference, based on the company’s unique needs and plans
These features can be incredibly beneficial, especially as your business grows and you have more incoming phone calls. However, it’s critical to consider what isn’t offered by those solutions and how those features could improve your overall business communications.
Additional Features You May Need for Your Business Phone System
As your business grows, you may want to expand your communication options and offer a more integrated approach. You may need options that will allow you to voice-integrate Teams and make the most of internal and external communications. For example, you may want:
- Unified communications across all your systems. Keep voice, data, video, and mobile in one location so users can easily connect with your brand.
- Advanced call routing options that will allow you to ensure that every call gets where it should be.
- Messaging from within the platform, including communication with external customers over text and chat.
- Cloud calling creates a more seamless, reliable experience for your users.
- Disaster recovery options will allow you to keep better track of your data and bring everything back up again quickly in the event of an emergency.
Using the right enterprise phone solution can take Microsoft Teams from functional to exceptional for your business. As you consider, “Can Microsoft Teams replace your phone system?” make sure you consider the additional features you need to allow your business to excel.
Getting the Most Out of Your Current Phone System and Microsoft Teams
Look for a provider that can boost your Teams instance by filling the voice and service gaps you may experience using Microsoft Teams alone. A voice-enabled Teams solution transforms your Teams capability into a complete enterprise voice platform. You’ll get all the video, chat, file storage and Microsoft integrations you love about Teams, plus the enterprise voice features your growing business still needs.
Whether you have a SIP service or a UCaaS/hosted voice, Voice-Enabled Teams can support your network. Here’s how it works in different scenarios:
You already have a SIP service and Microsoft Teams
A leading provider will connect your existing SIP trunks with your current Microsoft Teams tenant using hosted SBC’s if you use a SIP service and Microsoft Teams Phone System.
You have a SIP service and aren’t using Microsoft Teams
If you have a SIP service and want to take advantage of Teams’ functionality, top providers can provide you with your required Teams licenses, hosted SBC’s, and connect your existing SIP trunks.
You have Microsoft Teams and no SIP service
If you are using Teams and realizing you can’t do as much as you want, you may want to consider replacing your hosted PBX with more modern SIP service. A true industry leader will provide you with SIP trunks, hosted SBC’s and connect them to your existing Microsoft Teams tenant.
You don’t have a SIP service or Microsoft Teams
If you’re looking for a voice solution and the Microsoft Teams capabilities, there’s never a better time to build your network. A leading company can provide you with your Teams licenses and SIP trunks.
You have a UCaaS-hosted voice service and Microsoft Teams
Suppose you already have a professional UCaaS hosted voice solution or a Broadsoft UCaaS hosted voice solution from another provider and Microsoft Teams. In that case, you can have your provider connect your UCaaS solution with your existing Teams to create a much more robust communications and collaboration platform.
You have a UCaaS-hosted voice without Microsoft Teams
If you’re using a top UCaaS hosted voice solution or a Broadsoft UCaaS hosted voice solution but haven’t leveraged Microsoft Teams yet, your chosen partner can provide you with the necessary licenses. They can also connect the two systems so you can enhance your existing communications and collaboration capabilities.
You don’t use a UCaaS-hosted voice system or Microsoft Teams
Ready to build up your existing phone system to create an enterprise-level platform that can support your organization’s communications and collaboration needs? Choose an experienced telecom company that can provide you with everything you need for a UCaaS solution and Microsoft Teams licensing and integration.
Integrating Microsoft Teams with Voice Capabilities Requires Expertise
You may not be on the road to having Microsoft Teams replace your phone system. Still, if you are interested in enhancing your current voice capabilities to include Teams, you may need to look outside your own IT team and let them focus on other network priorities.
When considering Microsoft Teams, be sure you work with a provider with extensive Microsoft experience. Integrations can be tricky, and the whole point of scaling your voice and collaboration capabilities is to give you all of the modern communications features you want without all the complexity.
Work with a Microsoft Gold Partner provider and a dedicated Microsoft team. Gold Partners must demonstrate best-in-class capabilities within a specific Microsoft solution. You’ll save time and headaches during implementation, and they’ll be able to troubleshoot any issues you may have in the future.
Similarly, suppose you are upgrading your existing phone system or integrating Microsoft Teams into your phone system. In that case, you want to work with a provider with both Microsoft experience and telecom expertise. While enhancing and streamlining your voice network brings significant value, you need to ensure you do it right the first time. Any glitch or mistake can result in extended downtime, leading to a substantial loss of productivity, customers, and poor customer service.
Today’s businesses require modern communications and collaboration capabilities. Make sure your employees have what they need to be successful no matter where they work, and your customers have the best experience possible when contacting your organization. BCM One guarantees it all and more. Contact us today.