Something that became clear for so many of us last year was just how much we need direct human contact during a crisis, and (if that's not an option) a voice at the end of the phone.
Whether it's helping customers with a query or solving a problem with colleagues, picking up the phone to call without service interruption became essential in March 2020.
Fast forward to February 2021 and reliance on calling - whether that be video or voice - is still very much our reality. The majority of businesses now use cloud-based technologies to keep things ticking over and ensure employees and customers are connected.
Recently, we invited Cavell Group's Patrick Watson, to take part in a webinar alongside Amir Hameed, our VP of global solutions engineering. Patrick and Amir explored the rate of cloud adoption, what applications businesses have introduced to keep connected during the pandemic and the sharp increase in collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams. Beyond this, Patrick and Amir looked at how enterprises extend their Teams' telephony capabilities and what to consider when choosing a provider. Here are some of our learnings from the webinar:
A surge in collaboration adoption
Research from Cavell Group tells us that 77% of companies will have at least part of their workforce working remotely in 2021. On top of this, Cavell found that in 2020:
- 24% of companies had all staff working at home
- 72% had at least some of their workforce working remotely
- 65% used at least one cloud application
As enterprises reached out to keep workforces connected, many adopted multiple cloud applications and collaboration tools. Cavell Group found that overall there was a 62% increase in demand for team collaboration services since the start of the pandemic, and almost 80% of large enterprises adopted collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams.
Teams' voice limitations
Teams has become one of the fastest-growing collaboration tools of all time - with global daily active users increasing from 32m in March 2020 to 115m today. Despite its popularity as a conferencing and connectivity tool, there are catches to its capabilities.
Microsoft Teams is perhaps best known as a platform for virtual meetings, video calls, instant messaging or chatting. While many organisations adopt Teams for workforce communication thanks to its integrations into the rest of the Microsoft suite, it lacks a vital feature of collaboration; voice calls. Research tells us that of the 6.75m Teams users in the UK, 400,000 have had to add telephony functionality.
How to make voice calls with Teams
There are two ways to add telephony to Teams; Microsoft calling plans or Direct Routing. Direct Routing is a cloud telephony solution enabling users to make and receive phone calls through the public switched telephone network (PSTN) or PBX or Cloud PBX to and from both landline and mobile numbers. Teams calling plans allow people to reach landline and mobile numbers via the cloud.
However, Microsoft's calling plans are expensive. When businesses are looking to cut costs wherever they can, it makes sense to explore alternatives. Direct Routing usually works out considerably cheaper per user, per month than Microsoft calling plans. More than 85% of Teams voice users choose Direct Routing over Microsoft Calling Plans.
One of the research findings from Cavell highlights that 47% of large enterprises specify integration with other cloud apps like Salesforce as crucial criteria when selecting their direct routing provider. Within the webinar, we look deeper into why organisations should choose Direct Routing and what they should consider when it comes to their telephony provider.
As we push further into lockdown and employees continue to work remotely, companies need a secure, stable and reliable communications offering with built-in enterprise-grade telephony. Watch our on-demand webinar to find out more about the benefits of integrating Direct Routing and how RingCentral Cloud PBX enhances Microsoft Teams.