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Microsoft Teams Is Your Future Phone System. Convince Me Otherwise…

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By Author: Gary Woods
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Did you know that Teams is the fastest growing Microsoft Business Application of all time and is quickly becoming the center of the Office 365 universe? Gartner just named Microsoft a Leader in the UCaaS Magic Quadrant thanks to Teams and the Office 365 adoption numbers continue to skyrocket. In fact, Microsoft recently announced that Teams has more active users while continuing to grow faster than rival, Slack.

Teams is a single pane of glass solution that brings content, people and tools together, all in one hub, wherever you are. Yes, it is a best of breed chat, meeting and document collaboration tool but it also does so much more including VOICE & Video enabling your workplace, File Sharing, Video & Voice Calling, Whiteboard, Transcription, Unified Messaging, Captioning, Translation, Auto Attendant, Call Queues, plus so much more all in one application from any device and any location!

Even with so many people already using Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, many are just beginning to realize the full potential of Teams, and in particular, Teams as a PHONE SYSTEM. Yes, Teams will Replace on-prem PBX’s (so many are still in service that are outdated, end of life, with no support) or inferior hosted voice/uc products. Teams as a UCaaS solution can add or improve upon UCC functionality, increase efficiency by providing holistic integration with O365, avoid on-prem equipment CapEx and related support resources, etc. Not to mention that many O365 subscribers already have Teams, BUT they are still paying for another voice and/or meeting service provider. Why pay twice and have disparate disconnected systems?

Fully Enabling Teams for VOICE requires specific O365 licenses and the addition of Calling Plans (aka PSTN). This enables you to connect with anyone outside of the Teams ecosystem (cell phones, landlines, etc). A flavor of calling plans are available directly from MSFT, but have some limitations and may not be flexible enough for many business’ needs.

The 2nd way to add PSTN calling plans to a Teams environment is by installing Session Border Controller (SBC) Hardware and voice circuits on-prem. This requires specialized Expertise, CapEx, as well as Support Resources. This scenario typically does not result in a carrier grade environment that will provide the level of reliability and robustness that the modern workplace demands.

The best way to enable Teams VOICE is the 3rd method, which is to use the Direct Routing Partner Hosted Architecture model. NuWave Communications is the first US Carrier Endorsed by Microsoft to provide this type of calling plans. They require No on-prem SBC’s or Trunks. This means that they are 100% cloud based on a Carrier Grade geo-redundant Network that successfully carries massive amounts of voice traffic and has done so without any customer facing service interruption in over 8 years. Unlike other plans, NuWave offers SHARED trunks so every user does not require a separate paid plan and NuWave offers unlimited inbound calls at no additional charge. NuWave service includes its own iPilot™ provisioning portal (or for those who prefer to self-provision we include, at no additional charge, a complete step by step tenant setup/provisioning guide) both options can have users up and running in hours, not days or weeks.

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