Chief Marketing Officer, LoopUp
Organisations that have adopted Microsoft Teams for internal collaboration should consider using the platform to move their enterprise telephony into the cloud, says communications services provider LoopUp.
Organisations can improve external collaboration and communication by using the Microsoft Teams platform as a solution for business telephony.
Cloud-based communications solutions are increasing in popularity as working patterns change, and businesses are demanding cheaper options for inbound and outbound calls and more consistency when hosting remote meetings.
“The trend towards digitisation of the workplace is accelerating and moving communications solutions into the cloud can improve business performance,” says Rob Jardine, chief marketing officer at cloud communications provider, LoopUp.
Jardine cites research by global market intelligence company, S&P, which suggests that 47% of all businesses expect to reduce their office footprint as a result of COVID-19. Meanwhile, Microsoft says the total number of daily users of its Teams software increased by more than 70% during lockdown.
Jardine says companies need a flexible and cost-effective business telephony solution as employees continue to work from home for at least part of the week.
Saving money on business communications
“Currently, people who do not use a cloud-based solution for calls typically redirect their office line to their mobile or home phone. This increases costs for the employer and is only an answer for inbound calls.
“A cloud-based telephony system enables users to make and receive calls on any compatible device that connects to the internet – for example, a desktop IP-phone if they happen to be in the office, a PC at home or a mobile phone on the go,” says Jardine. “Users have access to the usual business telephony features such as voicemail, directories, call transferring and hunt groups, where a number of people are set up to take incoming calls, without being tethered to a desk.”
According to analysts at research and consulting firm, Cavell Group, the number of cloud communications users in the UK is set to rise from 5.5m in 2020 to 13m by 2025. The company reports that, among the businesses that have already implemented a cloud voice solution, 81% said it had made it easier for staff to communicate and collaborate and 76% said it was now easier for employees to work from any location. 88% reported reduced telecoms costs.
Global solution for seamless international calls
A cloud telephony solution can certainly help global organisations. Many large international firms still have a disparate range of PBX (private branch exchange) equipment in their various international offices and have a different carrier serving each country.
The trend towards digitisation of the workplace is accelerating and moving communications solutions into the cloud can improve business performance.
“When it comes to telephony, IT teams at multinationals often struggle to provide a consistent solution to users in different countries around the world,” says Jardine. “By moving telephony into the cloud, firms can standardise the user experience across all offices and source everything from one service provider. Legacy on-premises PBX equipment is replaced with cloud-based infrastructure, and local carriers are replaced by a global managed service provider. This reduces complexity and cost, while improving control, flexibility, compliance and reliability.”
Setting up Teams is simpler with a managed service provider
To make and receive external phone calls using Teams, employees need a Microsoft Phone System license (which is often bundled with Microsoft 365) and a connection to the PSTN (public switched telephone network). Microsoft’s own calling plans are a straightforward way for smaller businesses to connect to the PSTN.
Larger companies typically choose Direct Routing, which is how managed service providers such as LoopUp provide phone connectivity to Microsoft Teams users. This gives enterprises more flexibility, wider geographic coverage, cheaper phone calls and more support. Cavell Group expect more than 90% of Teams telephony users will connect to the PSTN using Direct Routing from a managed service provider.
“Rolling out cloud telephony across large enterprises can be a complex process because telephony is obviously business-critical and organisations need to migrate from a mix of legacy solutions,” says Jardine. “Using a managed service provider with deep expertise in Microsoft voice solutions and the global reach to support a multinational, typically means that the transition can happen faster, with less risk and with a lower resource requirement on the IT team.”