What is Microsoft Teams and why is it the perfect solution?
- 11 September,2020
I think we can all agree that Microsoft Teams has been around for long enough to know what its capable of, but for the avoidance of doubt and for those who might be hearing of or using Microsoft Teams for the first time, in a nutshell Teams is made up of four core pillars.
Pillar 1 – Collaboration
Collaboration is when the software i.e. Teams, allows you to use a number of different elements in one single pane of application. For example, you might need to collaborate on a Word document or Excel spreadsheet with other people either inside or outside of your organisation. Or maybe you need to create a centralised repository for documents across different departments between your company and your customers. With Microsoft Teams you have a rich feature list around collaboration and the need of emailing documents around for updates etc is removed. This helps significantly with version control, as everyone works from the most up to date document from just one file location.
Pillar 2 – Instant Messaging, Peer to Peer Audio or Voice and Group Chat
Another must have feature of any modern-day collaboration tool, is the ability to do ‘adhoc’, quick messages to an individual or group of people. In my experience, most conversations are primarily based as a starting point with an instant message and from there they scale towards audio, video or group conversations then into full collaboration. A key area of Microsoft Teams is the persistent chat history between people or groups. What I mean by this, is you can start a conversation today, and then you can come back to it in a month’s time, and the conversation will still be in your activity list with date stamps. Also, Microsoft Teams has the ability for an instant message conversation to start on your laptop, as well as opening and continuing the conversation on the Teams application on your IOS/Android device. The conversation is persistent on the mobile device as well. Equally, from any instant message wherever it originates you can bridge into a peer to peer audio/video call with just one click of a button.
Pillar 3 – Microsoft Teams Telephony (external inbound/outbound calling)
Microsoft Teams Telephony is a fantastic element which I think is simply overlooked as many believe it is too complex to deploy. Yes, you would be right. You do need Unified Communication specialists like CPS to plan, design and in most cases provide interoperability with a legacy PBX while transitioning the users over from an old analogue PBX world to the Microsoft Teams Telephony digital revolution; but there are thousands of companies around the world making this transition every day, due to their incumbent PBX system not providing the extended and essential tools needed in a modern telephony and collaboration world. You might be reading this and thinking, “We have a further 1,2,3 or maybe 5 years support on our PBX, so I’m going to have to sweat the PBX asset before I can move to Teams Telephony…” I’m pleased to tell you; this is not the case. CPS has many clients using Microsoft Teams Telephony while still having the PBX in-situ serving the calls to Teams. We achieve this by doing something call direct routing using session border controllers. Having this type of topology allows for the continued usage of the PBX while also providing that modern-day telephony solution needed by employees.
Pillar 4 – Meetings and Audio Conferencing
Microsoft has invested heavily in the audio conferencing part of Microsoft Teams and while they removed the ability to 3rd party audio conferencing providers, they had valid reason – to guarantee the quality in audio conferencing. In doing so, Microsoft allowed all major ISPs the connectivity to the Microsoft Dark Fibre connection which they have built around the world. Think of this in terms of Microsoft building one great big continuous motorway circling the world, with each junction being an internet service provider connection. In the old days when Unified Communications voice/audio was spoken about ‘going over the internet’ I myself used to wince in the thought of how bad the quality would be. However using the internet now for Teams is as highly available and robust and lightening quick as it possibly can get. Even to this day, Microsoft recommends sending Teams traffic and voice over the internet or via your dedicated MPLS link to your network provider. The days of a dedicated connection to Microsoft Azure are gone.
What this means for audio conferencing is that you have a have up to 10,000 users on a live meeting or up to 250 users on an audio conference – anywhere in the world.
For me, combining all four points above into Microsoft Teams is the perfect ‘all in one solution’ on the market today. The days of having to run multiple applications on your laptop are a distant past. In one single application pane you can work from anywhere in the world, just using Teams. You can collaborate on documents stored in the Teams Channels with others around your organisation just like you were sat next to them. You can do an internal peer to peer call (audio or video) to one or many people at no cost to your business on any desktop/laptop or mobile device of your choice.
Equally, with Microsoft Teams Telephony, combining your PSTN (External DDi Number) to Microsoft Teams, provides that single number reach wherever you are in the world.
Finally, meetings and audio conferencing in Microsoft Teams that utilises the four million miles of Microsoft dark fibre around the world, means you can confidently host meetings or events with up to 10,000 attendees at a time without issue.
So why not take a look at what your organisation is using and examine how complex the IT management of the application used is and think about how costly it is for the ongoing maintenance and support and think about how Microsoft Teams, using all the underlying technologies in the one application, can save you time, money and resources.
Final point: I believe I could reduce your organisation’s financial outlay year on year and within 12 months, provide you with a ROI based on the deployment of Microsoft Teams. So why not challenge me on this? Contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s see how much you could save.