Voice Integration to Microsoft Teams
The Microsoft Teams meetings experience has evolved, and it comes at a great time when many teams are still working remotely (with a high likelihood for some that the remote environment will become a permanent situation). If you haven’t initiated a Teams meeting, you’ve almost certainly participated in one. Teams is the single fastest growing product in the Microsoft ecosystem with more people than ever describing it as an essential tool for doing business.
“How can I integrate my voice platform into Teams?” is a question we are often asked. It’s a great question! If you’re wondering how to connect your Teams interface to outside voice users, or connect Teams to your voice system desk phone, we have the answers!
Analyzing all the possible paths here can be dizzying, but here we’ve broken it down to three broader categories we will call the 3 “C’s”:
Like most things, each direction has its tradeoffs. If you’ve already moved your voice solution to hosted voice (aka UCaaS), then skip to #2 below as #1 will not apply to you.
Surprise! The on-premise voice system is not dead. Although the popularity of on-premise solutions have declined in recent years, it is estimated that this method will still make up about one quarter of new voice systems implemented in the year 2024.
Like many, your organization may be in the position of having a legacy voice system on its last leg, or being nearly impossible to upgrade. In this case, you’re likely to pursue a whole new system. However, if your voice system acquisition was more recent – say, within the last 5 years – abandoning that investment completely can be a hard pill to swallow.
In that case, upgrades and enhancements fit the bill for many based on their particular circumstances. Manufacturers like Mitel have available integrations with various software solutions and Teams is no different.
Hosted voice is offered as a service from the cloud. It promises predictable monthly expenses, with unmatched flexibility for setting up shop anytime, and anywhere there’s an internet connection.
Management of cloud service is usually straightforward, via the platform’s web portal. If you’re there already and are happy with your provider, or you’re locked into a multi-year contract, it may be the perfect opportunity to connect your voice solution to Teams.
Almost all cloud providers have at least one method of doing this. One caveat to this is that overlapping features and a corresponding increase in costs may be likely depending upon what you need. For many, the presence of two platforms can offer a safety net in case one cloud provider goes down (it has happened!).
In this path we enable all or most of the voice features Microsoft offers, and your voice users jump in with both feet. A year ago, this would have been ill-advised, as the track record and voice feature set weren’t quite there yet. However, this is a much lower-risk play today, with more sophisticated direct routing options to voice trunks becoming available. In addition, features and smooth integration are getting better all the time as competitors up their game.
There are two primary downsides to be aware of, the first of which is the proverbial “all your eggs in one basket”. When Microsoft fails (and everything made by humans has) the exposure is much larger. The second downside is you will now be part of a bundle which will be difficult to extricate yourself from should you wish to switch.
Welcome to the Borg.
Still unsure which path is right for your business? Pavelcomm specializes in optimizing the technology tools you use in your organization. Are you looking to improve your communications flexibility or reduce costs during these high-pressure times? If so, then now is a great time to put a meaningful strategy together. Call us today to schedule a voice consultation and we can discuss all of your options.