Microsoft Teams is the most widely used collaboration tool in the world. Millions use it daily to catch up with colleagues and customers via instant message, file sharing, video conferencing and making external phone calls.
Microsoft Teams provides feature-rich collaboration tools. You can now add voice calling for a fully unified communications platform. There's no further need for disparate systems for video calls, file sharing, calling or messaging. Everything is in one platform.
One size doesn't fit all, especially with a product as complex as Teams. Choose how you want to add voice to Teams, depending on what works for you in terms of cost, as well as your ability to manage it. If you're happy with your existing system, you can even choose to integrate it with Teams.
Teams wasn't built as a telephony platform. A lot of the things you've gotten used to with your phone system might be missing. Blackstar's service wrap ensures you don't miss out on things you've come to rely on, like analytics, call recording or a dedicated support contact.
Add the ability to call the outside world from Teams via Calling Plans or Direct Routing. This is something Blackstar has been doing for as long as Teams has been around. We’ll work with you to determine the option that will work best for your business.
Calling Plans connect you to the PSTN through Microsoft. They provide your lines and minutes – Teams effectively becomes a hosted system maintained by Microsoft. This solution is great for small businesses with straightforward telephony requirements although number-porting can be very tricky due to Microsoft’s lack of porting agreements with some common carriers. Using Microsoft Calling Plans does limit you to the feature-set available from Microsoft, whereas Direct Routing does not.
Direct Routing connects Teams with the telephone network using SIP trunks and a session border controller (SBC). You provide the SIP trunks and calling minutes through a supplier of your choice (ideally Blackstar!). Direct routing suits medium and larger sized businesses on commercial grounds alone but also allows providers like Blackstar to bring our value added products and services to enhance the standard Microsoft featureset.
The ability to record calls either automatically, or on an ad hoc basis is important. Recording may be required for compliance, dispute resolution, or simply to have some real-life notes to refer back to.
Ad hoc call recording is now available directly through Teams. It is user-initiated and the recording is transcribed as well. This option will need to be enabled by a system admin and it is not PCI or MFIID complaint.
If you have a need for compliant or automatic call recording, although not available through Teams, this is something Blackstar can provide as part of our Teams service wrap. We partner with third-party call recorders like Redbox to ensure your calls are recorded your way.
Being aware of call stats – like peak hours, call outcomes and call volumes – allows your business to easily make staffing and call routing decisions. The reporting that comes out of the box with Teams focusses more on the collaboration side of the software, leaving you blind to the voice element.
Beam is Blackstar’s Teams analytics package. Its main module – Beam Real Time – provides real-time and historical information on calls, including things like outcomes, call quality, and devices used.
Beam consists of three additional modules: Range Manager gives you usage stats on your DDI ranges; Device Manager give you insights into usage and quality with regards your headset estate; and Performance Analytics gives adoption stats around the collaboration elements of Teams.
If multiple people need to join the same Teams meeting or call from the same location, the experience can be less than brilliant. Too many participants in close proximity can cause audio issues like feedback or the ever-annoying echo.
A video conferencing room system will alleviate these issues. Everyone in the same location can join from a dedicated conferencing room account, or hook up one person’s laptop to the system. A conferencing system will typically include a camera, microphone/speaker and console/codec for sharing content from a computer.
Blackstar is pleased to work with Poly and Konftel to provide conferencing room solutions. No matter the size of the room you need covered – be it an individual huddle space or a lecture-style theatre, we will have a solution that will suit you.
Headsets remain the audio device of choice for both internal and external communications via Teams. Using a headset provides a comfortable, ergonomic solution for your employees that will work not only with their desktop, but potentially across their other devices too, such as their mobile and tablet.
Remote working is still very much an option when choosing to add voice to Teams. Using a headset when working remotely is a cost-effective way for users to be able to work from anywhere while cutting down on distracting background noise.
Blackstar partners with Poly, Jabra and EPOS in order to provide you with the best choice for comfort, features and price when it comes to headsets. For those who prefer the comfort of a traditional handset, we’re able to provide these as well from either Poly or Yealink.
Trying to navigate your way through Microsoft licensing can be a bit of a minefield. There’s a few different ones to choose from and it’s not helped by the frequency with which Microsoft changes how it all works!
On top of this, there are a is a key license you’ll need in order to integrate voice/telephony with Teams. This is the Phone System license and you’ll need one for each user who will be using Teams to dial out.
Blackstar is proud to be a Silver Microsoft Partner. We know our way around Microsoft licenses and know when they change and what that means. You can rely on us for all of your Microsoft licensing needs.
Looking after your Teams tenant isn’t straightforward. There are two separate elements – the Admin Portal which is a relatively simple point-and-click GUI; and the challenging PowerShell.
Although more administrative elements are moving into the GUI, Teams admin continues to require specialist skills that may not exist within your business. Add to that the need to look after a Session Border Controller (if you’re on Direct Routing) and your admin requirements become even more complex.
Blackstar’s Teams service wrap includes a support contract. We’ll fix things that break and help you with day-to-day changes. We’ve been dealing with Phone System for Teams since the beginning – we’re confident we will make up any gaps your business may have when it comes to Teams admin skills..
If you’re moving from a more traditional phone system to using Teams for telephony, you might be wondering if some convenient features you’re used to will still be available – things like click to dial from your CRM or screen popping a customer’s account when they call.
Teams is ready to integrate with your systems. It has built-in click to dial capabilities – that’s click to dial from just about anywhere, not just your CRM. If you’re using Microsoft Dynamics as your CRM, not only will it screen pop on inbound calls, but text from your Teams channels can also go straight into CRM, where it belongs.
Teams will also integrate with cloud-based systems like 8×8, Horizon, Zoom Phone and Ring Central. This gives you another element of choice: a hybrid deployment of your PBX and Teams allows you to take advantage of all of the benefits of Phone System for Teams whilst utilising the core telephony features of your PBX.
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We work with a range of carefully selected partners to provide our clients with choice and a solution that meets their communications needs.
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