If there is one thing we’ve learned in the last 12 months it’s that a remote workforce isn’t just viable, it’s most likely the future of a normally office based workforce. However, one of the major barriers to having this in place is whether you have a phone system and communications network that still presents the office phone number or enables staff to still use an office phone system for professional calls, even if the staff member isn’t in the office. That’s where Cloud based PBX’s come into frame to save the day.
Gone are the days of having a hard line phone system with a bulky install and cables going every where or having to have a clunky handset on your desk. Today, we go through softphone systems, specifically, the Microsoft Teams through Direct Routing phone system.
Microsoft Teams. It’s a product included with Office 365 that (if your organisation isn’t using it) you’ve probably batted away the login for more times than you can count. For those unfamiliar, Teams is a product that is used for instant messaging, collaboration, telephony and even conferencing, and it might just change your professional life. Essentially, it’s the swiss army knife of Office 365 applications. It integrates with a fair chunk of other Office 365 Services as well, including SharePoint and PowerBI, just to name a couple.
We could talk forever about Teams and it’s overall benefits, but we do just want to concentrate on the Telephony side of it today. “So, weird blog writing person, what makes Cloud Telephony on Teams so great?” you may ask. Well for starters good reader, mobility. The ability to be completely mobile and still receive phone calls through a central point & phone number, whilst also retaining the ability to call outbound using that same phone number using either the desktop app, or the smartphone app is almost essential in todays working environment. The DID (Direct In Dial) phone number is attached to the user, not the device, meaning you can access the same calls, from the same queue using whichever device you are logged into. As mentioned before, Teams is a ‘softphone system’ which means you don’t have to have dedicated hardware to run it either (outside of a USB/Bluetooth headset for a PC/Laptop). It’s just log in to Teams and away you go.
“Sure, but what if I like my handset on the desk?” I hear you ask. Well, there are options for that as well, it is absolutely an option to have a desk phone that connects to the exact same system. Meaning it’s down to user preference. We do recommend the softphone from a mobility point of view, but the choice is yours. You can even have some people on the softphone, and others using desk phone. Flexibility, and mobility.
To get into a little more detail with how it works, Teams Calling is the process in which the phone calls get to, and comes from, Teams. There are two general ways for this to operate, a Call Plan (in Australia, this is purchased through and managed by Telstra), or Direct Routing, which uses a system called a SBC (Session Border Controller) that connects the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) to Teams. The bulk of the day to day configuration (auto-attendants, call queues, user policies) are created in the Microsoft Teams backend, meaning again, we have complete control over how this is configured and where your calls end up.
For the Direct Routing side, we have partnered with CommsChoice to provide the best service and solution we can. We spent a lot of time researching and trialling different providers to ensure we partnered with the best of the best and can provide the absolute best Teams Direct Routing experience for our clients. CommsChoice was the obvious choice after our testing, providing crystal clear calls and the best support, which is why we chose them to provide our clients with this service and yes, before you ask, we are absolutely using the Teams Direct Routing with CommsChoice ourselves.
Obviously there is a lot more to Teams and Teams Direct Routing that we can fit in this blog (like high availability, better support and flexibility than a on premise system, ability to have fashion statement headsets) and maintain the attention and all around consciousness of the reader, so if you would like more information on Direct Routing through Teams, feel free to give us a call on (03) 9136 8131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book in a demo, or even just have a chat about how this Teams Phone system will change the way you and your staff work forever. Advice on headset fashion may not be as cutting edge, we are IT people after all, not legendary milliner Phillip Treacy.
(Yes, I googled headwear fashion for 20 minutes to find the term milliner, and the name Phillip Treacy purely for that joke)