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INTELLIGENT COMMUNICATIONS | A ZDNet Multiplexer Blog What's this?

Transforming communications is not a discussion of whether to replace handsets with headsets!

There's no need to throw away telephones with an outdated telephony strategy. Let your staff choose for themselves.

In my last blog, I talked about how we have transitioned away from the big VoIP move of the 2000s, and we're now in a place where communication has gone beyond the humble telephone or even unified communications (UC). The advent of cloud technology has revolutionised the way we interact with our co-workers, near and far.

Just because we have to change our mindset about telephony, it doesn't mean we should throw out the hardware. One of the big things we did with Microsoft Teams was to ensure we built an ecosystem around hardware. Recently at Enterprise Connect,we demonstrated a new range of Teams telephony and video devices with our OEM partners. It's through these steps that we're providing choice and assuring customers that they don't have to give up their phones.

However, we're also seeing a flip side to forced telephone removals, where users actually want their phones removed because they take up desk space.

For example, in my previous role, I ran one of the largest telephony businesses in the world, and one of the first things I did when I moved from London to Melbourne was to pick up my desk phone and forward all calls to my mobile. I then put the phone under my desk as it was taking up too much real estate. My experience isn't unique - at work many people focus on their mobile phones and desktop or laptop devices, because that's the technology they want to work on. That being said, if people want to use desktop phones, then that's also part of Microsoft Teams' environment.

We have seen a real viral level growth in the first year of Microsoft Teams; it's easy to use and doesn't require a huge amount of training. For IT migration, what we have heard from a lot of IT decision makers is that moving telephony alone to the cloud is a lot more difficult because they have to look at all the different vendors that supply the separate pieces to make it work.

To address this, what we are doing inside of Microsoft Teams is to make it really intuitive. Now with added cloud calling, we've created a real turnkey solution for IT to switch on users in the cloud, porting across their numbers and dial plans to the Microsoft platform. It really is now an intuitive platform for migration from legacy telephony to Microsoft Teams and its calling capabilities.

The broader picture is that with cloud technology adding voice into the cloud, it means so much more than dialing numbers. As I said in my other blog, it shouldn't be a debate about getting rid of physical phones, rather about getting rid of old strategies and mindsets. Telephony has to become a really small part of a company's workflow and organisations really need to think about end-to-end workflow strategies. Communications is so much more than picking up the phone.

In my next blog, I will look at how we can take voice in the cloud into the meeting room and create virtual meetings that replicate physical ones.

Meanwhile make sure you read up on what else you can do with voice in the cloud.