One of the most startling statistics to emerge from the pandemic had nothing to do with communicable illnesses but rather with communications between businesses.
In 2020, from March to June, the use of Microsoft Teams grew by 894%. And, between 2021 and 2022, the number of Teams users rose from 145 million to 270 million. Microsoft Teams has become the de facto communications platform for over one million organizations in just a few years.
This is, of course, good news for Microsoft. And it’s also good news for businesses already paying for Microsoft Office who essentially got a business-class collaboration platform for free, at least initially. But for companies who continued to rely on traditional telephony and vertical industries where video collaboration wasn’t the norm, Teams had some feeling left out.
Fast forward to today, and these customers face the prospect of evaluating Teams phones, taking on E3-E5 licensing and SIP-trunking costs, and they are finding that Microsoft Teams is not free anymore.
It’s a significant incremental uplift in expense for existing capability. Simply put, there isn’t an excellent way to tie legacy voice systems and Teams together without spending more money on additional phone licenses or introducing extra layers of complexity. Until now…
Mitel Delivers New Tools for Teams
For clients who have previously decided to adopt Microsoft Teams, Mitel recently announced a series of tools and applications that seamlessly integrate Mitel’s enterprise-class telephony features with the MS Teams platform for a single, robust communications and collaboration solution.
For example, suppose Teams users choose to activate the phone licenses available on Teams. In that case, they can now enjoy direct routing that connects with Mitel endpoints through certified session border controllers (SBCs), providing a unified telephony framework (albeit with fewer features) that can be controlled from the Teams environment.
What if Teams users don’t want to purchase Microsoft phone licenses? In that case, they can still integrate their telephony system with Teams through Mitel’s Telephony-only client available in MiCollab and enjoy all the robust telephony features that Mitel offers.
This is part of Mitel’s MiCollab offering and can be turned on with a simple toggle switch. In addition, Mitel Assistant is available for free on the Microsoft app store and delivers Mitel softphone capabilities to Teams users’ desktops as a floating app. Mitel Assistant allows you to make and transfer calls, search directories, set speed dials, import contacts, activate three-way conferencing, and more – all from your Teams screen.
Mitel also offers presence integration between Teams and Mitel telephony users, allowing Teams users to see whether a colleague is on a PBX-based phone call – even if that colleague doesn’t have a Teams client. A user’s phone status is visible from their Outlook emails and can help determine direct routing of calls to the next available user.
With these Mitel tools co-existing with Microsoft Teams, a uniquely elegant hybrid solution evolves, taking advantage of premises or private cloud solutions from Mitel’s MiCollab with a cloud-based collaboration solution in Microsoft Teams.
Making Teams More of a Team Player
Microsoft Teams is great for many things, from video meetings to sharing documents. But many businesses still need high-quality telephony applications to run their business.
Schools and universities, for example, rely on mass notification via mobile devices to notify students, staff, and parents of emergencies. Financial services companies must maintain inbound contact centers supporting call recording and other advanced telephony features. Retail businesses need to connect workers on the sales floor to customer service applications via telephone to help customers in real-time.
Let’s look at two more industries to see how Mitel plus Microsoft Teams can help businesses run better.
Healthcare – Consider a network of healthcare facilities. They use Teams for video collaboration between facilities, but what about emergencies where a doctor or nurse needs to respond when they’re not near a laptop? Telephony services can provide the critical link to life-saving answers in seconds. Or what about mobile service workers who are responsible for things like security and cleaning? Telephony apps keep them connected to colleagues with maximum efficiency.
Hospitality – Another sector that can benefit from a telephony-enhanced Teams environment is the hospitality industry. Hotels may use Teams for internal meetings or drive customer engagement, but telephones still play a critical role in their daily life. Guests rely on in-suite phone services to contact staff and receive messages. Cleaning staff can use those same phones to indicate when a room is clean and available for new guests. Combining those communications with Teams enables hotels to stay connected to colleagues and customers from one platform.
Phone calls, SMS notifications, and contact centers still play a vital role in many organizations, but most businesses don’t want to manage two separate communications and collaboration platforms.
With Mitel solutions, they don’t have to because the telephony functionality can be integrated with their overall communications experience, whether they’re collaborating in Teams and need to make a phone call from their laptop or desk phone or browsing the web and want the simplicity of click-to-dial automatically from any phone number.
Contact your local TCI experts to learn more about integrating your Mitel solutions with Teams: (703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.