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The limitations of Microsoft Teams telephony - and the solution

By Nick Forrester
Mon 24 Aug 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The year 2020 will be remembered for many things, but the rise of remote collaboration tools may be among the most ubiquitous – it’s likely that anyone previously attending school or working in an office has since used such a tool as a result of COVID-19 social distancing measures. 

Remote collaboration capability is now an absolute necessity for business continuity, and this is reflected in the surge in engagement and revenues for solutions such as Microsoft Teams. In April, Microsoft Teams chief executive officer Satya Nadella revealed the collaboration tool surpassed 75 million daily active users, rising from 44 million in the space of a month. 

Even so, as the year wears on, many businesses are realising that while Teams provides many useful collaborative features, there are gaps in capability that would benefit from further integration.

While Teams delivers an undeniably rich collaboration environment for Microsoft users, one of its most prominent shortcomings is its telephony capability. Many workers moved swiftly to Teams to enable work-from-home setups, only to lose further convenience when they needed to use a separate phone system to deal with customer queries.

And with lockdowns returning on both sides of the Tasman, the need to integrate a quality telephony solution with Teams is more significant than ever. 8x8’s Voice for Microsoft Teams is the answer for any organisation realising that Teams’ voice capabilities just aren’t enough.

“For many organisations that have embraced Microsoft Teams, adding enterprise-grade telephony natively to the Teams experience seems not only reasonable but also a natural extension of the collaboration platform,” says 8x8 senior solutions marketing manager Mayur Pitamber.

“This all-in-one toolset makes it simpler to run and maintain a single unified set of communications services to employees across all functional areas.”

What is 8x8 Voice for Microsoft Teams?

8x8 Voice for Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based PBX-to-PBX integration with Microsoft Phone System. It provides enterprise-grade telephony and global public switched telephone network (PSTN) connectivity to customers that want to retain Microsoft Teams as their sole collaboration interface.

The solution is an entirely complementary service to Teams, integrating seamlessly into the familiar interface – whether on the desktop, web or mobile apps – while adding reliability, global reach, voice quality, security, interoperability and more to Teams’ merely adequate voice capabilities. 

One of its key differentiators is the benefit afforded to organisations doing business all over the world – Voice for Microsoft Teams offers some of the most extensive global coverage of the PSTN among third party Teams voice services.

International reach

While Microsoft’s calling plans are limited to just 10 countries, Voice for Microsoft Teams gives users full public telephony access and PSTN replacement in 38 countries, as well as unlimited calling to 47 countries and virtual numbers in over 120 countries. It does this by connecting to a customer’s tenant using the Microsoft Phone System Direct Routing feature.

With a pandemic prompting closed-off airports to non-citizens and social distancing worldwide, communication and collaboration across borders is essential – especially on one of the world’s most popular remote collaboration tools.

Rich in integration

Of course, as we know, even a world-leading remote collaboration tool can benefit from improvements in the pursuit of heightened convenience, and it’s well known that CRM integration is yet another area where Microsoft Teams lacks. 

In fact, Teams has no native integration with the world’s #1 CRM system, Salesforce, forcing many users to manually associate Microsoft Teams calls a Salesforce lead. 

8x8’s solution rectifies this by blending its own Salesforce integration into Voice for Microsoft Teams. This allows users to make and receive calls, as well as register those calls in Salesforce, all within their Teams app. 

This is to say nothing of 8x8’s integration with other third-party business applications, including Zendesk, Netsuite and Microsoft Dynamics 365. Users can automatically log calls into these systems with 8x8 Voice for Microsoft Teams, along with the added ability to attach details, recordings and speech analytics to any customer record.

8x8 Voice for Microsoft Teams also supports complex contact centre applications with native integration, including IVR, inbound and outbound contact centre, workforce optimisation, and call screen synchronisation.

This support further enables collaboration between agents and functional area experts on all Teams apps in the contact centre.

The bottom line

In a world struck by a pandemic and characterised by remote working and learning, remote collaboration tools are essential to get on with daily business. Microsoft Teams offers its users a trove of useful capabilities – but with the demands of indefinite work-from-home protocols steadily rising, it’s clear some capabilities are missing.

8x8’s Voice for Microsoft Teams solution fills these gaps, offering expanded international calling plans, CRM integration, support for contact centre and third-party business applications, and more.

Amplify your Microsoft Teams investment now with 8x8 Voice for Microsoft Teams. Click here for more details.

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