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Calling for Teams: Telephony With Microsoft 365 Cloud Services

How to successfully implement cloud telephony for your business

Calling for Teams: Cloud Telephony With Microsoft
23.12.2021
Cloud
Digital Workplace
Digital Transformation

In April 2021, Microsoft announces a peak of 145 million daily active users for the Teams collaboration platform. Three months later, Microsoft Teams already reaches a new record of 250 million monthly active users (source).  The platform is going through the roof and, at the latest since the coronavirus pandemic, almost every company knows it - are you already using Microsoft Teams or are you about to make the switch?


As the leading cloud service for communication and collaboration, companies value Microsoft Teams for its numerous functions: Chat groups, document sharing and video conferencing are popular uses of the platform. With the cloud-based service Microsoft Teams Phone, you now also move your classic telephone system to the platform. In this article, you will learn how to integrate your telephone system into your cloud environment and which advantages you have with the cloud telephone system.

Why It Makes Sense to Switch to Cloud Telephony With Microsoft Teams

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Imagine that from one day to the next your employees can no longer appear at their workstations at the company location. Home office is the new standard and you are faced with the task of enabling process flows as usual. This is exactly what we all experienced with the pandemic last year. Companies were forced to introduce quick solutions for online collaboration - many without preparation.


Due to the generally high prevalence of Microsoft 365 platform products in corporate IT infrastructures, Teams is the ideal solution for many to make a quick transition. Administrators can easily implement, deploy and configure the platform in a way that is understandable to employees.


The pandemic, which was the biggest motivator for companies worldwide to implement Microsoft Teams, was followed by a chain reaction: If many customers and partners use Microsoft Teams as a communication platform, alternative solutions such as Skype for Business are no longer necessary. Collaboration is easier and more intuitive when all communication channels converge in Microsoft Teams. The new requirement is to now migrate the existing infrastructure

The Challenge of Migrating to Cloud Telephony

When introducing Microsoft Teams against the backdrop of telephony, various challenges arise both from a technical perspective and at the user level. We present key aspects when integrating your telephone system into the Microsoft Cloud architecture.

The Right Solution for Your Telephone System

One challenge lies in the nature of your existing infrastructure around telephony. Many companies have a heterogeneous telecommunications system that Microsoft Teams often cannot fully map. For example, companies in the manufacturing sector often use mobile phones in the production department in addition to Skype for Business in the office area. In most cases, special telephone systems in the company's data centre provide the mobile telephony and Teams cannot map this.


For this reason, a hybrid approach to your telephony often makes sense. In order for your hybrid solution to contribute efficiently to the productivity of your employees, it is essential to consider which areas you will operate in the corporate network in the future and which you will migrate to Teams. From your need to integrate teams in conjunction with fixed-line telephony, you should also derive a sensible strategy for the approach. For the migration, you will need both specialist skills in Microsoft Cloud Services and telecoms.

Cloud Telephony That Supports Everyone

The project success of Teams Telephone in your infrastructure ultimately depends on whether and to what extent your employees, i.e. the users of the platform, adopt cloud telephony. To increase acceptance, it is therefore important to implement targeted change management measures during the project. This includes regular and early information on the step-by-step migration to teams telephone and hybrid voice environment. But also the support of your employees during the transformation, for example through training and learning materials.


On the other hand, the focus on the user experience is crucial for the acceptance of cloud telephony. After all, it is the users who work with the system on a daily basis. The challenge here is to take a holistic view of the requirements when migrating: How do you ensure, for example, that your employees can participate in a Teams meeting from any end device and regardless of the operating system? And how do you create a user-centric architecture that addresses different conditions and requirements from your departments?

Options for Deploying Cloud Telephony With Teams

Microsoft Teams basically provides two options to integrate your fixed-line telephony. One option is a cloud phone system. Here, Microsoft itself acts as the provider for your cloud telephony. You purchase phone numbers directly from Teams and assign them to your Teams users. The biggest advantage of Cloud Phone Systems is the low effort involved. This is because you do not need your own telephony infrastructure in your own data centre or have to worry about connecting to a provider. Cloud Phone System is especially recommended for small company locations without their own telephone system.


Another option is Direct Routing. Here you integrate your local telephone system into Microsoft Teams via a Session Border Controller (SBC). The SBC can be connected to the existing infrastructure to distribute the existing phone numbers to your Teams users. The SBC then routes the calls to Teams. Alternatively, a direct connection between the SBC and a telephony provider for direct routing is also possible.

Switch to Cloud Telephony Now

Are you still communicating via your classic telephone system operated in your own data centre and would like to transfer your telephony to Teams? With Microsoft Teams Telephone, nothing stands in the way of your successful migration to cloud telephony. Our experts at Arvato Systems will be happy to support you in integrating Teams Telephone according to your requirements. With the Advanced Specialization of Microsoft "Calling for Teams" and many years of experience in telephony hosting, we are your reliable partner for cloud telephony.

Conclusion

The integration of Microsoft Teams against the background of telephony sounds simple at first. Nevertheless, the interdisciplinary project presents many companies with a special challenge - after all, the step into cloud telephony is a company-wide project. In addition to the IT department and the management, the various departments, the individual employees and their individual requirements are also relevant for the success of the project.


With the right project partner at your side, most tasks will be completed in no time at all, so that your fixed-line telephony will soon be integrated into Microsoft Teams.

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Written by

ArvatoSystems_MA_HeikoSteinweg
Heiko Steinweg
Expert for Microsoft 365