Metrigy research found that doing so can provide several significant benefits to companies
Microsoft Teams has seen tremendous growth over the past two years, driving it to 270 million monthly active users.
The number of these users with voice plugged into their platform is not certain, but it’s widely thought to be incredibly low – creating opportunities for both Microsoft and experienced voice providers.
In fact, research from market analyst Metrigy shows “a clear preference” from businesses for maintaining a separate, third-party provider for voice – even when they are already using Teams for messaging, video, and collaboration.
Metrigy research found that doing so can provide several significant benefits to companies. These include lower costs, greater reliability, more features, and contact centre tools.
Businesses have two options when it comes to plugging voice into teams.
Plugging third-party providers into Teams avoids using the Microsoft Teams Phone System, saving businesses money because they don’t need to purchase additional licensing.
Metrigy’s research found that businesses taking this approach spend on average £910 per user per year, compared to £1,139 for companies using the Teams Phone System.
This approach also gives businesses access to features beyond those offered by Microsoft, such as advanced analytics, IVR, and fax support.
The second option is to use Microsoft’s own Phone System. There are various ways this can work behind the scenes, with users then able to make calls from the native Teams dialler.
Businesses can buy call time from Microsoft itself through Teams Calling Plans or plug third-party services into Microsoft’s Phone System through Direct Routing or Operator Connect.
RingCentral lets users bring the vendor’s services to Teams through both models.
RingCentral for Microsoft Teams lets businesses add RingCentral’s own dial pad into the Teams platform, allowing users to make calls from within Teams powered by the RingCentral application. Importantly, companies do not need to purchase any voice licensing from Microsoft.
RingCentral Cloud PBX for Teams is RingCentral’s Direct Routing offering. In this option, RingCentral provides the PSTN connectivity, with users making calls from Teams’ own dialler.
This second option was recently adopted by Howard Kennedy, a London-headquartered global law firm with 400 employees.
Howard Kennedy was looking to consolidate seven different platforms into one unified offering that would allow its employees to work more agilely.
This went from a preference to a necessity in March 2020 when lockdowns were put in place worldwide.
Howard Kennedy quickly made Teams the standard platform across its business.
According to Chief Information Security and Technology Officer Jonathan Freedman, the biggest obstacle to achieving this was its existing on-premises phone system.
“We already had different applications and vendors for everything,” Freedman said.
“We still had the on-premises phone and voicemail systems, several apps for video and audio conferencing, a standalone service for fax-to-email, and our company-issued mobile handsets, and now we had a new collaboration tool which brought us up to seven primary communication solutions—none of which were integrated.
“We looked at the leading providers in the industry, and RingCentral presented the strongest overall offering.”
Howard Kennedy now uses one platform in Microsoft Teams, with RingCentral powering its telephony.
RingCentral’s PBX has an uptime SLA of 99.999 percent, one nine more than Microsoft offers through its Calling Plans, giving Howard Kennedy peace of mind around stability – while it can also fall back on the RingCentral application if Teams experiences an outage.
The firm has also been able to merge its fax and phone systems, meaning Howard Kennedy employees can now use the same number for both systems – something that would not have been possible before.
Beyond the initial scramble to enable remote working, Howard Kennedy has now built on the deployment to prepare for a world of hybrid and anywhere work.
“We’ve just started implementing RingCentral Rooms in our office meeting spaces,” Freedman said.
“Part of our agile work strategy is to transition our headquarters to more of a collaboration space.
“Equipping our conference rooms with high-quality audio and video conferencing capabilities, using RingCentral Rooms, will go a long way toward making that happen.”