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Mitel Puts the “I” in Teams with Telephony Integration

3 min read

Paul Ginn

Paul Ginn | January 11, 2023


One of the most startling statistics to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic had nothing to do with communicable illnesses but rather with communications between businesses. In 2020, from March to June, Microsoft Teams use grew by 894%. That’s more than Zoom, in case you were wondering. And, between 2021 and 2022, the number of Teams users rose from 145 million to 270 million. Microsoft Teams has become the de facto communications platform for over one million organizations in just a few years.


This is, of course, good news for Microsoft. And it’s also good news for businesses already paying for Microsoft Office and essentially got a business-class collaboration platform for free, at least initially. But for companies who continued to rely on traditional telephony and vertical industries where video collaboration wasn’t the norm, Teams had some of them feeling left out. 


Now fast forward to today, and these customers face the prospect of evaluating Teams phones, taking on E3-E5 licensing and SIP-trunking costs, and they are finding that Microsoft Teams is not free anymore. It’s a significant incremental uplift in expense for existing capability. Simply put, there isn’t an excellent way to tie legacy voice systems and Teams together without spending much money on additional phone licenses or introducing extra layers of complexity for paying for two phone/collaboration systems until now.


Mitel Delivers New Tools for Teams


For clients who have previously decided to adopt Microsoft Teams, Mitel recently announced a series of tools and applications that seamlessly integrate Mitel’s enterprise-class telephony features with the MS Teams platform for a single, robust communications and collaboration solution. For example, suppose Teams users choose to activate the phone licenses available on Teams. In that case, they can now enjoy direct routing that connects with Mitel endpoints through certified session border controllers (SBCs), providing a unified telephony framework (albeit with fewer features) that can be controlled from the Teams environment.


Suppose Teams users don’t wish to purchase Microsoft phone licenses. In that case, they can still integrate their telephony system with Teams through Mitel’s Telephony-only client available in MiCollab and enjoy all the robust telephony features that Mitel offers. This is part of Mitel’s MiCollab offering and can be turned on with a simple toggle switch. In addition, Mitel Assistant is available for free on the Microsoft app store and delivers Mitel softphone capabilities to Teams users’ desktops as a floating app. Mitel Assistant allows you to make and transfer calls, search directories, set speed dials, import contacts, activate three-way conferencing, and more from your Teams screen.


Mitel Assistant


Mitel also offers presence integration between Teams and Mitel telephony users, allowing Teams users to see whether a colleague is on a PBX-based phone call – even if that colleague doesn’t have a Teams client. A user’s phone status is visible from their Outlook emails and can help determine direct routing by routing calls to the next available user.


Mitel Assistant in Desktop


With these Mitel tools co-existing with Microsoft Teams, a uniquely elegant hybrid solution evolves, taking advantage of premise or private cloud solutions from Mitel’s MiCollab with a cloud-based collaboration solution in Microsoft Teams.


This is a strategy that Microsoft promotes within one of its other entrenched products (Microsoft SQL Servers), as referenced by Rohan Kumar, Corporate VP for Azure Data, in a TechCrunch article, in which Kumar says, “…while the migration of on-prem workloads is happening, Microsoft’s customers are all moving at very different speeds and some, for a multitude of reasons, may never move to the cloud at all.”  In Mitel’s eyes, the parallels with unified communications are strikingly similar.


Making Teams More of a Team Player

 

Microsoft Teams is great for many things, from video meetings to sharing documents. But many businesses still need high-quality telephony applications to run their business. Schools and universities, for example, rely on mass notification via mobile devices to protect students, staff, and parents during emergencies. Financial services companies must maintain inbound contact centers supporting call recording and other advanced telephony features. Retail businesses need to connect workers on the sales floor to customer service applications via telephone to help customers in real-time.


Let’s look at two industries to see how Mitel plus Microsoft Teams can help businesses run better.


Healthcare

 

Consider a network of healthcare facilities. They use Teams for video collaboration between facilities, but what about emergencies where a doctor or nurse needs to respond when they’re not near a laptop? Telephony services can provide the critical link to life-saving answers in seconds. Or what about mobile service workers who are responsible for things like security and cleaning? Telephony apps keep them connected to colleagues with maximum efficiency.


Hospitality


Another sector that can benefit from a telephony-enhanced Teams environment is the hospitality industry. Hotels may use Teams for internal meetings or drive customer engagement, but telephones still play a critical role in their daily life. Guests rely on in-suite phone services to contact staff and receive messages. Cleaning staff can use those same phones to indicate when a room is clean and available for guests. Combining those communications with Teams enables hotels to stay connected to colleagues and customers from one platform.


Those are just some ways Mitel is committed to helping customers improve teamwork in a hybrid world. Phone calls, SMS notifications, and contact centers still play a vital role in many organizations, but most businesses don’t want to manage two separate communications and collaboration platforms. With Mitel, they don’t have to because the telephony functionality can be integrated with their overall communications experience, whether they’re collaborating in Teams and need to make a phone call from their laptop or desk phone or browsing the web and want the simplicity of click-to-dial automatically from any phone number.



Learn more about how Microsoft Teams and Mitel work better together.


Paul Ginn

Paul GinnProduct Marketing Director

Paul has over 25 years of communications marketing experience. Throughout his career, he's been responsible for all forms of marketing within the enterprise, carrier and wireless communications industry segments. Today, Paul leads Mitel’s product marketing team, which is responsible for planning, creating and managing all new product go-to-market introductions.

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