Traditional collaboration is typically when teams meet up in face-to-face meetings, have phone calls with each other or simply email.
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration tool which enables you to use multiple forms of communication, such as video conference calls, voice call, instant messaging and file sharing through one application. It is a form of Unified Communications. Unified Communication tools like Microsoft Teams are designed to provide a shared space which resolves hold-ups, delays and miscommunication whilst enabling your team to be productive and efficient and ultimately more effective.
Microsoft Teams comes free with all Office 365 subscriptions. Microsoft made a strategic decision to replace Skype for Business with Teams whilst incorporating more collaborate features and integration options. The aim of Microsoft Teams is to help businesses and their teams communicate and collaborate with ease. Microsoft Teams has been designed and developed to offer a solution that fits every kind of collaborative group, including small to medium-sized businesses, in a wide range of sectors.
By utilising a Unified Communications tool like Teams, you can:
Boost employee engagement - Improve productivity - Empower flexible working – Increase Efficiency
What is Unified Communications?
Unified communications was born from the need of businesses to be more flexible in their approach to working with suppliers, customers and internally with their staff.
Flexible working is a rising trend and it empowers the users to work from anywhere in the world. Mobile devices in particular are becoming an extension of the corporate network so workers can be productive anywhere.
Essentially, Unified Communications means a business can communicate using difference channels of communication from one seamless application which increases the efficiency, profitability and productivity of a business.
For example, a typical Unified Communications tool will be an application but from that application you can conduct a Voice call, Video call, Instant Message, Share Documents and Calendars with multiple people, internally or externally.
Unified Communications is really revolutionising the way businesses operate, especially for small to medium sized businesses, it enables them to have an advantage over their larger competitors.
- Easy collaboration with internal and external contacts via Chat, Conference call, Text or Video Call
- Included within Microsoft 365 license
- Integrate easily with other Office and over 150 third-party apps
- Share, access, and store documents
- Access previous meeting notes and recordings
- Access from any device; desktop, tablet or mobile (Windows, iOS, or Android)
- Hold any meeting live — large meetings, webinars, company-wide events, and presentations with up to 10,000 attendees inside or outside your business.
- Security - end-to-end security, administrative control, and compliance is included within Teams
- Streamlined Collaboration – built-in Office 365 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint, which makes adding suggestions, making edits, and giving approval simple
- Easy Implementation – as long as the business defines how the tool is to be used and encourage its use then this software is very user-friendly
- Enhanced Meeting Capabilities – you can host audio, video, and web conferences, seamlessly across web and mobile apps, regardless if its groups of 5 or 5000
- Increased Productivity - having one location for everything has its benefits. There is no longer any wasted time spend looking for a document or for information or communicating
- Increase in Focus – it’s easier to focus when your email isn’t clogged up with ‘Reply All’ type emails. All communication is put into the relevant channel on Teams where you can see all responses, meetings and documents related to the topic of that channel
- Increased transparency – it can be a challenge for businesses to keep all staff in the loop on the latest news. With Teams, you can post your message in the relevant channel e.g. Business News, @-mention the people you want to get notified and leave it for everyone else to read if they want which means everyone can “pop-in” if needed. It greatly reduces the CCing and Reply All emails
- It’s not a phone system – there are very little features available with the Teams telephony aspect. Phone System basic features such as Hunt Groups, Call flows, Call Transfers, Call Barring and Call reporting (plus many more) are simply not included in Teams.
- Not suitable for Contact Centres – they don’t have enough phone system features to be suitable for contact centres.
- Call plans – there is an extra cost to have the call element of Teams as well as the cost of the call itself.
- Voice quality – when using the Microsoft’s SIP Trunks element, it has been reported as being poor voice quality in comparison to other phone systems.
- Online Meeting Experience - The online meeting experience, isn’t as intuitive as other tools.
- Difficult transition from Outlook – The business needs to be clear about fully embracing Teams and when to use Outlook. In an ideal scenario, a business will stop using Outlook except for any necessary external communication however, Outlook is so ingrained that its likely to take time to break habits and ensure everyone uses the right channel.
Is Teams the only choice?
Not by a long shot, there are hundreds, possibly even thousands of different types of collaboration tools.
Teams is so well-known because it was headed up by a well-known brand; Microsoft. It instantly has more coverage especially when it is included in the 365 licenses.
- Keep Teams and your Phone System separate – keep the two separate and benefit from both systems but without the seamless element.
- Microsoft Teams but with SIP - Teams is a good choice for a lot of businesses and the main issues of call and video quality can be solved with Direct Routing. Essentially, instead of using Microsoft’s voice provisioning, we’d use our own SIP trunks, Call Flows and Call Plans.
- Teams integration with a phone system – a phone system will be integrated so that you have all of the features of a phone system but essentially will operate through the Teams application and most likely become like a softphone for your phone system.
- Other Unified Communication tools – we recommend several different tools which have a few more advanced features over Teams; Horizon Collaborate, MiCollab and Wildix Collaboration.
Demo the Perfect Solution for You
The perfect solution for your business can be decided once you think about your price point. Yes, it boils down to money. For more money you can get more features. For instance, one of the above options above would cost £3.50 per user, per month, whereas the other would cost you £25.00 per user, per month.
Teams is certainly a good entry point for a unified communications tool but it’s worth demoing a few different tools to compare.Book a FREE Demo