Teams is now Microsoft’s platform for all your collaboration needs

Written by Jackie Bilodeau

I am the Communications Director for CGNET, having returned to CGNET in 2018 after a 10-year stint in the 1990's. I enjoy hiking, music, dance, photography, writing and travel. Read more about my work at CGNET here.

March 23, 2018

Teams is now Microsoft’s platform for all your collaboration needs

Microsoft Teams continues to add better features to its collaboration platform. Microsoft Teams was designed to allow easy collaboration across organizations online. Most of its early functionality was chat-based communication. Now, it has expanded to voice communication.

Microsoft Teams

Introducing Cloud Voice Deployment in Microsoft Teams.

Audio conferencing in Microsoft Teams allows participants to bridge into meetings using any mobile or desk phone. Formerly known as Cloud PBX, it’s now referred to simply as Phone System, and provides management functionality for call-routing, user provisioning and policies. This feature integrates with the Office 365 Calling Plan.

Teams Audio Conferencing has full Video, VOIP and dial-in conferencing options. Users can set private invite-only meetings as well as open meetings.

Microsoft’s vision for the Teams functionality with Phone System is to integrate all its collaboration services into one seamless platform.

Phone System has already eliminated the need for a physical desk phone for general use and now Teams has expanded the capabilities to include voice messaging, hold/resume, speed dialing, transfers, forwarding, caller ID masking, multi-call handling and TTY support. These Teams features have been announced to work with future Polycom, Creston and Logitech devices as well as interact with Blue Jeans.

The features fit into what Microsoft is calling their “New Vision for Intelligent Communications for Office 365.” This means that Teams will be able to replace Skype for Business as a standalone service over time. Of course, you can use Teams while maintaining a separate telephone system. But Microsoft is busy rolling out telephony features so that organizations don’t have to sacrifice functionality if they want to standardize on Teams for collaboration.

Microsoft foresees users collaborating on a document, while having a video conversation that includes closed captioning voice recognition. The conversation can then be added to notes relating to the document. This seemingly eliminates the need for anyone to take notes during a meeting.

Of course, the Teams mobile application (available on iOS and Android) is also a feature that’s worth mentioning. It includes peer-to-peer calling, group chat, chat-history, and document collaboration. New features allow for call forwarding to numbers inside Phone System, customized voicemail, and “Do not disturb” mode.

Teams will also allow guest access from outside your domain. This is a significant addition, as it allows for cross-organization collaboration.

Microsoft has created planning scenarios for organizations to evaluate their need and process for transitioning to Teams. Microsoft is first recommending clients optimize their current environments for Teams. They have released everything from Network Readiness Assessments as well as a service known as “FastTrack” that connects CGNET and your organization with Microsoft engineers to guide you in making the transition.

The planning tools that Microsoft has laid out takes almost all the guesswork out of making the transition to using Teams as your communications provider. There are questionnaires for environmental readiness, pilot guideless to run Skype for business and Teams simultaneously, and even guides for how to choose pilot users during the testing phase. CGNET also has some presentations that Microsoft has shared with us; we’d be happy to share them if you’re interested.

Here is a very short summary of all the documentation Microsoft continues to build on, so check it out for yourself! (Check out the links on the left-hand side for the full guide):



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