Microsoft introduced Microsoft Teams in 2017 as part of the Microsoft 365 family. If you have a Microsoft 365 license, you have access to Microsoft Teams. 

At its most basic, Teams is a business communications application or client, that acts as a hub for chat, video calls, file-sharing and much more. It allows staff to collaborate around common tasks, topics or projects. It uses the metaphor of a Team to create a common work area. For example a Marketing Team or Sales Team. Within these teams, staff can create channels which let users post conversations, manage and store common files, co-edit files and post all sorts of information for each other to see and work on together. It makes it easier to collaborate than, say, sending a lot of emails back and forth. 

It uses 'presence' - a way to share your status, like being away or in do not disturb mode or busy. You can tell it to make your status available for everyone to see - so when you are on a call or in a meeting it can share that back to the rest of the team. This eliminates the frustration when someone is trying to reach you. 

People can choose to communicate in whatever is the best way in the moment or mirrors their work style. You may be in a video call, but can quickly text someone back an answer, for example.

Teams also makes it easier to find information. By storing all the communications in a 'persistent' thread, users can go back and search an answer previously given.

In the end, it doesn't mean working in a slightly different way, but it makes the whole company far more productive and saves wasted time waiting for answers or finding information.

Microsoft 365 Apps

Part of the larger Microsoft 365 platform.

Microsoft Teams is really the most visible and constant application as part of the larger Microsoft 365 platform. All users have access to the most up to date versions of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It also includes Microsoft Outlook for email, SharePoint for file sharing and building intranets as well as OneDrive for personal file storage. 

In fact Microsoft 365 has a complete 'eco-system' of apps and tools to allow recording and sharing videos, translating video calls, applications to automate tasks and even improve business processes with simple to create PowerApps.

Microsoft 365 Teams Platform

Phone Features

You may be wondering if Microsoft Teams can truly displace your PBX - does it have enough functionality? The answer is yes. 

We have to understand that the way we communicate has changed, especially when we have access to tools like Microsoft Teams. Many phone systems can't offer the same level of collaboration capabilities that are replacing PSTN phone calls. So many PBX features which were necessary and essential 20 years ago, are not so important today. For example, built-in presence, chat and file-sharing.

Notwithstanding that Microsoft Teams supports a wide variety of features including Automated Attendant, Call Park and Pickup, Call Forwarding, DND, Call Blocking, Distinctive Ringing, Speed Dial, Call Queues, IVR, Shared Line Appearances and more.

You will need a plan to provide PSTN connectivity to make and receive telephone calls. Microsoft provides three way to do this - Microsoft Calling Plans, Microsoft Business Voice (for SMB) and Direct Routing. (Click the link or menu for more info.)

We also offer our own inexpensive cloud phone system for small and medium business called Unity Connect that you can check out.

Microsoft Laptop iPhone Yealink phone easy intelligent calling

Devices, Rooms and Meetings

Microsoft Teams supports a wide variety of devices.

Headsets: Staff equipped with a laptop or mobile phone and their Microsoft Teams client simply need a headset to engage in PSTN calls (or video calls.) A good voice quality headset should be used. Our primary offer are from Jabra that are not only engineered for the highest quality but are also Microsoft certified. They come in a variety of form factors - over the ear, in the ear, on the ear; mono or stereo; wired or wireless and more.

Handsets: Yes, Microsoft Teams supports SIP standard telephone handsets. Unity offers handsets from Yealink as the primary handset with Microsoft Teams as they have great features at an incredible price. You may have areas like lobbies or meeting rooms that require a handset for guests, staff or for emergency situations. 

Room Systems: One are where Microsoft Teams excels is in handling meetings. Meetings can be enhanced with real-time translation, options for displaying video attendees, connecting remote users and those in a meeting room and the ability to share a whiteboard. People can be automatically joined to a meeting taking place in a conference room upon entering the room or using a device to connect to the in-room meeting without physically touching the controller. We offer room based systems from Logitech, who are currently leading this space and Jabra.

Logitech Microsoft Teams Room System