How to turn MS teams into a full unified communications solution

If you’ve read enough of our content you will probably know that, at NFON, we hold Microsoft Teams in very high regard. 

Ultimately, that’s because we champion technology that gives businesses more freedom in how they approach communications and collaboration.

Put simply, this tends to constitute two things:- 

1) Technologies that open up new ways of working 

2) Technologies that make existing ways of working more effective. 

 

How people get collaboration tools wrong 

The year 2020 put a whole host of different platforms and applications in the spotlight. And many of these technologies were capable of achieving at least one of those two things.  

But a lot of organisations, in their attempts to nimbly unlock new remote working capabilities, inadvertently run the risk of achieving one while diminishing the other. 

If not done with sufficient foresight or strategy in mind, adopting new tools can open up new avenues of working while creating roadblocks for pathways that were previously clear.

This tends to be the result of using separate tools to fulfil separate (or seemingly separate) needs. 

 

The problem with piecemeal tool adoption

Platforms with a clear singular use – like Zoom’s video conferencing capabilities, or Slack’s channel-based messaging tools – are fantastic for enabling new abilities and real time communications within your team.

But what they don’t do, in of themselves, is erase siloes or plug gaps in communication. Fulfilling both the tenets of communicative freedom outlined above requires not just the opening up of new capabilities, but the unification of the tools that unlock these capabilities. 

And this is where we come back neatly onto the subject of Microsoft Teams. 

 

MS Teams + Unified Communications = Unrivalled one-platform functionality 

In terms of bang per buck, and the breadth of functionality made available through one interface, MS Teams is head and shoulders above the other solutions on the market. 

Through one platform and interface, it boasts a large number of unified communications capabilities.  

  • Instant messaging 
  • Voice calling 
  • Video calling and videoconferencing 
  • File sharing and real-time document collaboration
  • Team-focused/Project-focused communication 
   

Essentially, it has all the functionality required to effectively manage and organise a remote team, streamline processes, allow staff to work in the way that suits them best, and overall keep teams connected and productive no matter the time, place or device.

Having this breadth of functionality from one platform means that organisations using MS Teams can open up new ways of working, and make those ways of working (and those that existed prior) more effective. 

However, there is one thing that Microsoft Teams doesn’t have built in, and this is the thing that prevents it from being a fully integrated, unified communications solution* all by itself

Teams doesn’t have telephony at its core. 

 * Not sure what we mean by unified communications solution? Here’s a definition from the Gartner glossary 

 

How to transform Teams into a unified communications solution 

While Microsoft Phone System does offer some functionality in this area, it doesn’t provide the enterprise-quality voice capabilities that would make it a true unified communications platform.

It therefore lacks all the benefits that come with that – such as interactive voice response (IVR) or the ability to queue calls. 

Nvoice for Microsoft Teams makes full unified communications a reality with just one simple integration. Nvoice for Microsoft Teams integrates Cloudya, NFON’s leading cloud telephony system into the Microsoft Teams platform, meaning you can benefit from enterprise-level telephony features from anywhere, on any device, through one simple interface.

This makes for better collaboration. Full stop. It also adds an extra layer to any team with a ‘work on what platform your prefer’ policy – by having a cloud based telephony system setup alongside Teams, Nvoice users can opt for a hybrid environment, with some employees working from the MS Teams app, while others work from their telephone system.

Leaning on the capabilities of Cloudya also means Nvoice for Microsoft Teams can further buttress the security and connectivity of the Teams environment, by granting you a fail-safe option in the event of an outage or other sudden disruption to your network. 

In short, if you want to maximise your remote collaboration capabilities across all comms channels while streamlining and simplifying all of these processes into the same simple interface, we recommend you go with Microsoft Teams, supplemented by Nvoice.

 

Summary - the key points

  • The best communications technologies should open up new ways of working, and make existing ways of working better. The problem with a lot of collaboration tools is they achieve the former at the expense of the latter.
  • UC solutions are capable of simultaneously fulfilling both of these requirements; Microsoft Teams boasts many of the features which comprise a unified communications solution, but it lacks enterprise-level telephony features
  • Nvoice for Microsoft Teams integrates leading cloud telephony with Microsoft Teams collaboration. This brings numerous benefits such as increased connectivity, flexibility, and failsafe business continuity.
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