What impact does Teams have on telephony?

The recent pandemic has changed the way many of us work and interact with others. In this latest blog, we consider why Microsoft Teams has become the de-facto application for collaborative working, and the implication of this on our options for telephony.

The move to unified communications

In recent years, businesses have increasingly relied on technology to support collaboration and home or remote working. This change has been accelerated by the recent Covid pandemic. So, we have seen wider use of applications to provide voice, video, text messaging, and file and application sharing. Integration of all of this into a single platform is referred to as Unified Communications (UC) in the IT world.

Teams, from Microsoft, has gradually become just another one of those cloud-based systems that has become increasingly familiar, and that we have got used to using, not just in larger enterprises but also in the smaller businesses.

So why has this happened?

For one, the application interface that that Teams use is incredibly feature-rich with a user experience that is so intuitive, we don’t even need training – it’s second nature to swipe or tap where you need to.

Secondly, and probably most signification, is that it is part of the Microsoft Office suite, so already its effectively a native system, we all already have installed and tested.

Therefore, many large corporates have gone with Teams – not because they made an educated buying-decision, but because they already had Teams and it was already approved and compliant with their existing systems. Teams is part of the premium 365 packages they already use so for many, when Covid hit, they just used the tools they already had

So, what is the impact on telephony?

With the ascent of Microsoft Teams, the choice for businesses has changed, and in a way become simpler. It means the decision to invest in UC has probably already been taken as the solution is often in front of you and you are already familiar with it – Teams.  You don’ must make a choice between VoIP or unified communications.

Telephony is changing tool. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) has been a major part of the UK business environment since 2008 with a slow and steady migration of telephone technology from the old traditional analogue PABX (Private Automatic Branch Exchange) phone systems. In fact, the analogue service is being discontinued in 2025, and all phone systems will be digital.  VoIP basically uses the same uses the same data network as your computers, laptops, and other Internet connected devices.

Whilst unified communications applications, such as Teams, have VoIP is an integral part, not all VoIP systems can be extended to support unified communications (file sharing, video conferencing etc.)

So now, our telephone or VoIP system can now be just part of your unification communications system – you don’t need a separate VoIP telephony system.

Does this mean Teams is right for everyone? 

Absolutely not.

Most users in the VoIP space don’t even want to link their phones and their computer systems together, Schools, for example, want a phone in every room for safeguarding reasons.  Retail need portable phones, not laptops. And there and lots of businesses that just prefer a phone on the desk.

While it’s possible provide VoIP with Teams, it just doesn’t justify the cost of a user license to use it to just support desk phones.

On the other hand, if you work from home, want to support hybrid working, or have field or need to move around a lot with a mobile, Teams is ideal.  The Teams mobile apps is, without doubt, the best performing one on the market. You really do get what you pay for with Teams – it’s a great bit of technology that can help you cut down on the applications and systems you need.

So how do I move to Teams for UC and telephony?

If you are using Teams and a VoIP system, then you can simply switch to the Teams Phone app, saving on expenditure on your VoIP.

If you are using Teams, and have a traditional phone system, then you simply need to implement Teams Phone app, and make your phone system redunant, and enjoy the resultant savings on line rental and call costs.

And of course, as your Microsoft Partner, we are always happy to discuss how we may be able to help you.