As we move towards more modern working practices, including smart and hybrid working, the traditional telephony offering of a handset on a desk is no longer the optimum solution hence the move to a more flexible and practical telephone service.

Microsoft Teams is the College’s communication service of choice, providing video calls, meetings, and instant messaging in a single platform.

The benefits of Teams telephony

Improved Accessibility

With Teams telephony users can access their College extension from wherever they are provided they have a PC, laptop, tablet or mobile phone as well as a network connection be that a fixed cable, WiFi or cellular data.

Staff members working in smart offices can sit at any desk, switch on their laptop and be ready to make and receive calls. Hybrid workers can use their College extension from home and academics who travel can do the same from wherever they are in the world.

Improved Usability

Making and receiving phone calls is just as easy in Teams as it is using a traditional handset but the integration with Outlook contacts, the addition of speed-dials and other contacts and the improved searchability of made, received and missed calls enhance the user experience. Being able to easily see if the contact you are about to call is available, busy, in a meeting or out of the office enables you to make more informed decisions about how you choose to contact them.

Improved Voicemail

Users can define what happens when a caller goes through to their voicemail, which greeting they will hear and whether or not they can leave messages. When a message is left for you Teams will provide a text transcript of that message so you can easily see the content without having to dial-in to a system or enter an easily forgettable PIN.

Improved Pick-Up Groups

In Teams, users can define their own call-groups of colleagues who can take calls on their behalf should they be unable to do so. You can add and remove colleagues easily in the Teams interface and also choose when calls are routed to your call-group and in which order they alert the members.

Improved Call Control

Users can configure their own call answering rules for incoming calls. If you’re going to be in and out of the office you may want to fork your calls between Teams and your mobile phone so you never miss a call. If you’re focussing on a task and don’t want to be disturbed you can divert all your calls to voicemail or to your call-group.

Improved Call Queues

Known as hunt-groups on Cisco, these call queues can have a recorded welcome message on the front end, calls can be distributed to team members in a number of ways and unanswered calls can be routed to a group voicemail account that all team members have access to.

Improved Call Forwarding

You can immediately send all calls to your mobile (or any other number) in two clicks of a mouse, no need for a VPN connection or access to telephony self-service, this is now done quickly and easily from the front of the “Calls” page in Teams.