The importance of unified communications has only grown with the rise of remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses of all kinds struggled throughout this period to accommodate remote collaboration, remote access, and integrated BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) strategies into workplace communications. Moving forward, businesses need more effective and sustainable strategies, and unified communications sits at the heart of this. Around 48% of businesses are already increasing efforts towards a unified communications solution. But what exactly is unified communications, why is it so beneficial, and how can businesses implement it?
What is Unified Communications?
Put simply, unified communications is a system in which every communications channel (chat, file sharing, phone calls, video conferencing, email and more) is integrated within a single platform. It goes beyond standard business collaboration tools to deliver internal and external collaboration in one place, simplifying access and accelerating workflows.
It’s worth noting that fully-functional calling (to and from real phone numbers) is one of the hardest channels to integrate with digital communication tools provided by business collaboration software. However, by making the right choices, a seamless outcome is possible without costly upfront investments. We’ll look at how Callroute can be key to this below.
What are the benefits of Unified Communications?
As it stands, 86% of business owners believe that workplace issues are a direct result of inadequate communication tools. In that sense, it’s not difficult to see what unified communications brings to the table. More specifically though, it offers:
How to Implement a Unified Communications system
While the benefits of unified communications are plain to see, implementation is another matter. Luckily, the rise of 5G is set to remove many of the setbacks that have kept companies at bay until now. But improved internet protocol alone isn’t going to facilitate a unified communications strategy.
Realistically, there isn’t just “one way” to execute one. It’s possible to invest in a ground-up bespoke system. However, it’s far simpler to start by looking at the tools you already have at your disposal, and thinking of creative ways to integrate that system into a unified communications strategy. And from our research, harnessing Microsoft Teams for this is the way forward.
Using Microsoft Teams for Unified Communications
What are the benefits of Microsoft Teams for your business?
We recommend Microsoft Teams as the best option for businesses. It’s not the only collaboration tool, but it’s a strong starting point for unified communications for several reasons:
- Teams provides a fully functional business collaboration interface that is rivalled by few other tools, evidenced by the 145 million daily active users it enjoys right now.
- The Microsoft platform has an active and growing number of app integrations in AppSource that add further value to it.
- Teams’ widespread use (deployed by more than 60% of businesses) makes it easier to use the tool for external collaboration, and most of your users will already have some experience with the platform.
- It provides simple integration with Microsoft Outlook, so it’s simple to include email within your unified communications stack from the start.
- Teams offers a number of sophisticated telephony integrations, meaning it’s possible to include the all-important calling capabilities that business collaboration tools generally lack.
How to add Calling to Teams
Investing in the right telephony solution is critical to unified communications. You not only need the ability to place PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) calls — phone calls to-and-from phone numbers — but sophisticated call management features provided by traditional business phone systems. This will let you actually replace that phone system and unify communications. Again, telephony is a potential strength of Microsoft Teams, but only if you make the right choices.
Microsoft Calling Plan and Microsoft Phone System
The answer to calling with Teams is Direct Routing. This solution sees the full integration of a digital PBX within Teams, providing complete calling capabilities within a streamlined solution that improves the Microsoft platform immensely.
At Callroute, we have simplified the process of Direct Routing with Teams by also being the PSTN carrier. This enables us to pre-configure integration and accelerate the rollout process from days to literally minutes. We can also get you started with a free channel for life, provide flexible and on-demand pricing, and guaranteed quality control and support.
What are the requirements?
Understand External Calling with Microsoft Teams
Visit our modern telephony page to find out about modern telephony systems, including the part played by technology like Session Initiation Protocols (SIPs) and Session Border Controllers (SBCs), and the advantages of integrating different communication and collaboration tools.