Microsoft 365 Business or Enterprise subscribers who aren’t as familiar with Microsoft Teams (Teams) should know that the tool comes with useful features. These features may be able to replace—or integrate with—other workflow tools businesses have used in the past. Teams allows enterprise users to communicate through video and chat, hold large virtual meetings, share files, and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and other projects in real-time. Since the pandemic, it has become a more widely used resource and has more than 115 million daily active users. Microsoft continues to add new Teams capabilities and functionalities as its user base grows.
Teams’ features can be powerful resources for enterprises in all industries. Teams not only enables unified communications and collaboration through video meetings, calling, and chat but also supports effective workflow management for different projects and tasks. Team leaders and decision-makers who want to unlock the full value of their Microsoft 365 investments should read on to discover how Teams can improve productivity for their enterprises.
Microsoft Teams Voice Calling
Some of the most essential, familiar, and commonly used Teams functions are its voice and video capabilities. Calling a colleague or hosting conference calls with a department, customers, or clients is simple and economical through Teams—especially since it is already included in Microsoft 365, the second most popular office suite.
In addition to internal enterprise communication and collaboration, Teams is highly effective in supporting external calls. For example, if an enterprise has connected Teams to its phone system, employees can make audio calls to individuals outside of the organization. This flexibility provides teams with multiple methods for communication and fosters increased connections with customers around the world. Calls are simple to initiate or schedule, and users can join the call just as easily. Users can make and receive calls from PC, Mac, Linux, and web and mobile phones. They can also chat and make calls with individuals who are not Microsoft Team users.
Beyond the usability of Teams’ voice tools, additional benefits lie in the ability for enterprises to harness multiple collaboration features during a call. For example, users can add chat, video, and screen sharing within a call, giving them the option of layering other functions to ultimately enable better visibility into projects, improved collaboration across teams, and real-time communication. As a result, employees gain an opportunity to engage with others as if they were in the same room together, making remote workforces more effective and productive.
Microsoft Operator Connect
Operator Connect is an operator-managed service that brings PSTN calling to Teams. Using Operator Connect, admins can find qualified operators, such as Intrado, from the “Operators” tab. Then, they can choose a preferred operator and connect calling services. From there, admins can acquire phone numbers from the operator and assign them to users.
Microsoft Teams Direct Routing
Users can connect a supported session border controller (SBC) to a Microsoft phone system with Microsoft Direct Routing. They can then configure on-premises public switched telephone network (PSTN) connectivity with their Microsoft Teams client. With this functionality, users are able to virtually connect any PSTN trunk with the phone system. Users can spend less time switching between tools and more time responding to messages, sharing files, and moving activities forward—all from one place. Intrado is among Microsoft’s trusted partners that can power this capability.
Microsoft Teams Video Calling
Teams video conferencing allows users to virtually connect face to face with their colleagues and clients with a simple click of a button. Employees can schedule video calls in advance, or they can go from a group chat to a video conference on the fly. Teams of two or thousands can meet in one place, giving everyone a seat at the table. Video calls are powering virtual events, presentations, training sessions, and pitches—providing an opportunity for visual connection when meeting in person isn’t feasible.
Users have the added bonus to record a Teams video call, play it back later, or share the recording with others who didn’t join live. This capability makes knowledge sharing and documentation more accessible and fills a needed documentation gap that in-person meetings alone aren’t able to achieve.
Microsoft Teams Collaboration Tools
Teams is much more than a messaging or calling channel—users can explore several built-in workflow features that power their daily work activities. These features provide a number of benefits that remote, in-person, and hybrid workforces can use to boost productivity, store and share knowledge, and collaborate more effectively.
Becoming familiar with these features allows enterprise employees to use Teams as a more holistic cloud collaboration resource. While users can take advantage of a wide range of features, we’ve selected some of our favorites below.
When users flood a company chat channel, team members can filter content by using @Mentions to sift through the chat and find what’s most relevant to them without having to read every message. Users can reduce the time they spend searching for updates, which streamlines workflows and improves efficiency.
Users can save recordings and generate transcriptions automatically, so they can find information faster by searching for a given word or phrase in a transcript, rather than listening back to a lengthy call or meeting.
See events and create meetings within the standard Teams view, or open a Teams meeting with one click from Outlook. With Microsoft, accessing and navigating calendar items is streamlined and user-friendly.
Users can save specific content like messages or attachments that they want to read later or need to follow up on. Enterprises can also revisit content that is frequently needed, keeping it at the user’s fingertips and preventing them from having to spend time hunting down essential information.
At any given time, enterprise teams may be managing and sharing hundreds of documents and spreadsheets. With Teams, employees can escape the frustrations of trying to track down documents and oversee version control over email. Users can quickly share a Word or Excel file through a chat, and they can manage their documents through the Files area in Teams.
Ever send an email to someone who forgot to turn on their out-of-office responder or had an email “lost in the ether”? With Microsoft Teams, users know who’s available, busy, or away and when someone has seen a message sent to them.
Typing “/” into the Teams search bar makes it easy for users to make a quick, commonly used action. Users can explore several available commands like setting a status, making a call, or seeing their specific @mentions.
In March 2021, Microsoft announced Teams Connect, a feature that enables users to create a shared communications channel that people both inside and outside of the organization can access. This feature enhances collaboration with external teams and clients.
In place of physical whiteboards found in many office conference rooms, Teams includes a whiteboard feature that can be integrated into Teams meetings. The tool lets meeting participants collaborate visually by drawing and erasing in real-time.
Microsoft Teams Third-Party Integrations
Teams’ general tools and features suite provides a great starting point for enterprises and offers key foundational resources to facilitate connection and teamwork. Beyond the commonly used functionalities, some organizations may want to customize their Teams experience even further for their unique department needs.
Teams integrates with a number of apps and services that enterprises may already be using, such as sales tools, design applications, and project management solutions. These third-party integrations allow Teams to become even more dynamic and give enterprises a way to deepen their return on investment.
Several popular application integrations offer enterprises additional benefits when used in tandem with Microsoft Teams features. Applications might include a collaborative diagram app for flowcharts or SWOT analysis or visual mind-mapping solutions. By integrating other tools with Teams, each tool becomes an even more powerful resource and gives enterprises the most out of each of the tools in their toolbox.
Analog Device Support
Companies with legacy analog devices that use calling plans for telephony can leverage Microsoft Teams voice deployment. Teams Direct Routing (TDR) along with an analog gateway makes this possible and enables enterprises to maximize Teams while they keep their analog devices in use.
Automated Reports & Analytics
It’s essential for companies to learn how employees are using Teams. With this knowledge, companies can use Teams to its fullest potential. For example, admins can run a report in Teams to see how many people communicate within a given channel or chat to get an idea of usage. This information helps businesses educate their employees on best practices, encourages wider adoption within different groups, and provides suggestions for maximizing employee productivity.
With the rise of Teams calls, chat, and video comes the challenge of keeping records of communication to stay compliant with laws and regulations that require detailed communication logs. Companies can manage risk and stay compliant by integrating solutions that monitor and store virtual communications as outlined by governing agencies in their business sector.
Microsoft demonstrates different Teams actions and use cases by providing a well-rounded collection of video tutorials and downloadable resources within Teams. In addition to covering core concepts and tools, Microsoft provides tips and best practices, such as guidance around holding better meetings.
Businesses that want to improve their Teams experience can access proactive management for Microsoft Teams Rooms devices. The service allows organizations to save time and money and allocate their IT resources for other work by getting support that helps them keep their Teams Rooms devices up to date and monitored. Users can access ticket support 24/7.
With Teams, users get the flexibility to join a meeting from any browser, OS, app, or device. As a result, enterprises and users gain the freedom to attend a call or video conference wherever they are. This also makes it easier to schedule ad hoc meetings, knowing employees don’t need to be at their computers to participate.
Make Teams Your Own
Intrado customers can make Teams their own with personalized Microsoft Teams assistance. Our Microsoft-certified engineering and project management teams provide guidance at every stage to help customers plan, design, deliver, and operate at maximum capacity.
Microsoft Teams contains a full suite of connectivity and collaboration features that gives enterprise users more ways to communicate with others inside and outside of their organization through voice and video functions. In addition, Teams facilitates a host of ways to share and manage content—keeping what’s most important at users’ fingertips and providing unique ways to work with others within the tool. By adding third-party integrations into Teams, enterprises can take the tool to the next level and make their existing resources even more effective. Getting to know Teams features more deeply allows organizations to keep their workforces productive and collaborative as they navigate daily operations.