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The significance of AI: Explore the future of collaboration and communication

Artificial intelligence (AI) in the digital workplace

Artificial intelligence has become prevalent across all aspects of our digital lives. AI now touches every industry and department within organizations, especially those with hybrid workplaces. AI is the current focal point of innovation in the digital workplace. AI improves productivity and creates better user experiences within communications platforms. Internal and external user experiences improve by integrating AI into Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solutions.

The next generation of artificial intelligence (Microsoft Copilot, Webex Assistant, etc.) enhances communications through an emerging portfolio of features. This post reviews recent developments and recommends best practices for incorporating AI functionality into existing workflows and processes.

How AI integrates into unified communications

There are two broad categories of AI use cases within UCaaS: Productivity enhancements and experience enhancements.

Productivity enhancements

Next-level transcripts and meeting notes

AI provides not just a transcript of a meeting or recording but also chapter headlines, action items, and name recognition. Suppose you are unable to attend a video meeting. AI generates action items assigned to you from that meeting. It also can highlight mentions of your name and provide a synopsis.

Voice call recap

This functionality works for voice calls, driving an improved customer experience while boosting employee productivity and experience. For example, an employee receives a call from a customer complaining about an invoice they paid but received a second bill. The employee can transfer the call to the billing department to further investigate. AI provides a recap of that conversation prior to the call being transferred, allowing the billing department to see everything that was highlighted and be able to take over that phone call quickly.

Real-time translation

AI can now translate live meetings into text for over 100 languages. Organizations with a global presence will find this feature invaluable.

Experience enhancements

Advanced noise suppression

Some AI functions go unnoticed or, in this case, unheard. Advanced noise suppression uses an algorithm to filter out disruptive sounds from video and voice calls without cutting out speakers. Gone are the days when a barking dog or crying baby could disrupt a meeting if one member didn’t realize they were unmuted.

Gesture recognition

An emerging capability, gesture recognition, can identify common symbols like “thumbs up/thumbs down” or “okay”, which can help meeting moderators “read the room”. Additionally, this technology has led to exciting research that will soon be able to convert American Sign Language into text and speech.

Also read: How embracing the latest AIOps technology can improve customer experience

Potential challenges and concerns related to the integration of AI in UCaaS

Security and compliance

Security is a core concern of implementing any new system or technology, and integrating AI in with communications is no different. To analyze and summarize, AI must receive data in some manner. It is crucial to determine how recordings, transcripts, logs, and analysis data are protected.

Additionally, organizations within highly regulated fields such as healthcare must ensure that their AI usage does not violate user privacy and data security compliance regulations.

Appropriate licensure and configuration

Correctly implementing and configuring AI tools often falls to IT departments with little experience managing the licenses and integrations involved. Working with an experienced third-party technology provider can help offload the burden for IT teams struggling to navigate AI or empower small teams to make informed choices.

Accuracy

Especially when utilizing generative AI, artificial intelligence is prone to errors. Occasionally, AI will generate false information or fabricate statistics, a phenomenon known as “hallucination”. Additionally, AI transcription is often thrown by the usual “ums” and “ahs” of everyday speech.

Employee resistance

Employees may resist learning AI technology because they may feel it may one day replace their jobs. The core idea to communicate is that AI is not about displacing human workers but rather improving performance, speed, and capacity. In other words, AI helps you do your job more effectively.

How organizations can embrace AI in their digital workplace

AI technology surges forward whether your organization utilizes it or not. Don’t let competitors gain an advantage. Proactively create an AI strategy to enhance the productivity and efficiency of your workforce. Below are several steps to achieving a cohesive strategy.

Review existing tools

In many cases, businesses may not have to change much, as the solutions they already utilize are currently integrating AI to improve the functionality of communications and collaboration tools. For example, Microsoft Teams Voice and Webex Calling have already integrated the previous functionalities in video and voice calls.

Determine use cases to filter into workflows

Rather than tackling every possible AI functionality to explore all at once, choose a handful of use cases most relevant to your business to develop best practices:

  • Omnichannel messaging – Customers want support across the channel of their choosing–SMS, voice, web chat, etc. Generative AI can create user-facing communications, and machine learning can automatically schedule follow-ups. Some platforms have proprietary AI built in, while others feature integrations with leading AI providers such as ChatGPT. Additionally, chatbots powered by AI are becoming increasingly sophisticated. They can intelligently route customers to the support path they need to solve their problem, whether elevating to human support staff or directing them to a support article.
  • Transcription – Transcription, intelligent meeting notes, and auto-generated summaries call out action items, usernames, and provide valuable reference materials for employees at all levels.
  • Security and biometrics – AI recognition of faces, fingerprints, and other biometrics is helping to keep devices more secure. The latest example is Apple’s latest security update with “Stolen Device Protection”, which relies on location data to confirm whether a user can immediately change passwords or make other significant changes. AI identifies a user’s home as the primary location and adjust permissions accordingly.

Human oversight

Appoint team members to oversee AI implementation, integration, and quality control. At least for the immediate future, AI is an advanced mimic. It can’t understand context – AI doesn’t know how it’s being used (or abused). Another option is to work with a technology provider to monitor AI deployment in communication platforms as part of a managed service. 

Also read: Top ten benefits of integrating your cloud-based contact center with UCaaS

Navigating the AI revolution

AI is a new frontier, and organizations need a trusted partner and adviser who can understand their business processes and requirements to help them understand how those processes map and how AI can improve and augment their processes to maximize the efficiencies of their users (internal and external).

CBTS is a UCaaS managed service provider for Webex Calling and Microsoft Teams Voice. We also support the major Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) platforms, including our proprietary platform, CXsync. CBTS certified engineers and project managers are highly experienced in implementing the latest features from UCaaS providers and creating custom integrations to maximize the efficiency of your workflows. If AI boosts the capabilities of your workforce, CBTS boosts the capability of AI by ensuring proper configuration, implementation, and compliance.

Get in touch to learn more about how CBTS can guide your organization in implementing AI across communications platforms.

The 2024 digital workplace roadmap: The future of unified communications and collaboration

The evolving digital workplace solutions market

What exactly is the digital workplace? It’s a question that every organization must face as industry and technology evolve. In the current communications space, hybrid and remote work are still the dominant modes of employment. However, offices are increasingly transitioning to expanded in-office time while retrofitting existing spaces to better suit hybrid work—fewer desks, more video phones, and upgraded collaboration spaces.

In this post, we will explore the current trends in the technologies that make up the digital workplace–unified communications, collaboration, and supporting networking and security solutions–and how CBTS sees these trends playing out in 2024.

Defining the digital workplace

As technology evolves to meet the needs of the modern workforce, it’s essential to define the digital workplace adequately. CBTS defines the digital workplace as cloud-based unified communications, collaboration, and networking solutions. We believe the power of the digital workplace extends beyond communication and collaboration to include security and networking solutions like SD-WAN, SASE, and Network as a Service (NaaS).

CBTS takes a full-spectrum approach, ensuring that all unified communications and collaboration are secured in a fast network architecture, embracing the latest security frameworks and thinking. As the definition and scope of the digital workplace continue to grow and change, CBTS continues to grow with it.

Core technologies of the digital workplace

The future of digital workplace solutions

Collaboration

The current trend in collaboration is to move away from individual applications and towards integrated platforms. Organizations are increasingly choosing platforms like Webex or Microsoft Teams that are fully integrated across the network to improve functionality, efficiency, and network simplicity. With custom applications and automation, the user rarely has to leave Teams or Webex to accomplish tasks.

According to Neal Marksberry, Sr. Product Manager for CBTS, “Collaboration is now a platform. It has expanded to the point where a particular communications application is the nucleus for all things relevant to the day-to-day needs of an end user, and it includes the additional integrations that make it that focal point for efficiency.”

Also read: Webex Calling vs Microsoft Teams Voice for your collaboration needs

UCaaS and CCaaS

Included in the trend towards the “platformization” of collaboration are Unified Communications as a Service and Contact Center as a Service. These two cloud services have traditionally filled similar roles but for different purposes. UCaaS is generally for internal communications, while CCaaS is customer-facing. More and more, UCaaS and CCaaS blend into a single, holistic solution. This unified platform is sometimes called a Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS), but the industry has not settled on a single term.

The benefits of merging CCaaS and UCaaS include an improved end-user experience and a centralized, single-pane-of-glass control.

Learn more: Top ten benefits of integrating your cloud-based contact center with UCaaS

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Modern businesses use enabling technologies like people analytics, AI-driven productivity assistants, and workflow management solutions to streamline work processes and boost productivity. Organizational AI can help improve office space utilization and promote team interactions. Additionally, next-gen security tools are powered by AI and intelligent networking routing tools. The digital workplace presents a significant opportunity for AI and automation to improve employee productivity, save costs, and provide a positive experience.

Professional service offerings

IT providers are developing custom professional services to help companies manage the changing landscape of the digital workplace. With hybrid and remote work, organizations are facing increasingly complex environments. A business may need assistance with a migration or help managing day-to-day tasks. CBTS provides customizable, white-glove professional services based on your unique workplace.

Also read: CBTS commitment to outstanding IT service delivery drives success

Partnering with CBTS to bring your digital workplace into the future

Into 2024, CBTS predicts that the trend toward Unified Communications and Collaboration platforms will continue. Additionally, we’ll see further merging of CCaaS and UCaaS. It’s unclear what term will define this trend—whether it will be CPaaS or a new concept altogether. AI will power each aspect of the digital workplace, including organization tools, security, networking, and many more areas. As the capacity and capabilities of natural language processing (NLP) within AI continue to grow, it’s reasonable to assume that AI tools will expand rapidly in this space in terms of functionality. AI recording and note-taking, auto-healing, and remediation are just a few of the new efficiencies already present with AI. And those capacities will become even more refined in 2024.

But making the most of the digital workplace is not automatic. Delivering key integrations built around day-to-day tasks is a vital service from CBTS Professional Services. CBTS offers a range of managed offerings designed to lighten the load for your IT team: managed unified communications and collaboration, managed networking (NaaS, SD-WAN, SASE), and managed contact center.

Get in touch to learn more and partner with CBTS as you bring your digital workplace into the future.

Answering a crucial question: What is SD-WAN?

Read this article to understand what SD-WAN is, why it is vital for your evolving business needs, and tips on choosing the right SD-WAN partner.

What is SD-WAN, and why is it vital for your evolving business needs?

A software-defined wide area network, or SD-WAN for short, uses software and cloud-based technologies to simplify the delivery of WAN services to branch offices. Software-based virtualization enables network abstraction that simplifies network operations, allowing busy IT managers to deploy Internet-based connectivity quickly and securely.

Although SD-WAN is a critical component of modern business agility, many organizations lack the infrastructure to stay competitive in today’s high-speed cloud networking environment.

Also read: SD-WAN for dummies

Companies relying on MPLS networks are stuck with high-latency/low-performance cloud applications, meaning remote users must settle for less from VoIP and other real-time applications. Moreover, security and management requirements often associated with MPLS tend to complicate branch operations and increase IT staffing costs.

It may be time for organizations considering a new beginning for secure branch networking to explore an SD-WAN solution.

Also read: Q&A: Secure networking utilizing robust SD-WAN solutions

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What SD-WAN can do for your organization—and what it can’t

Traditional MPLS systems that transmit traffic from a branch to a centralized data center don’t deliver high-performance access to cloud applications, which is a mainstay of SD-WAN.

As the hybrid work environments settle in as the “new normal,” SD-WAN provides a range of benefits:

  • Rapid deployment of bandwidth and firewalls removes the need for IT personnel to be on-site. The ability to easily add or reduce bandwidth means more agility for your business.
  • Internet connectivity through SD-WAN—including cable, DSL, and ethernet—is quick to deploy and costs a fraction of equivalent MPLS circuits. Ultimately, software-defined wide area networks provide the advantages of reliable, secure WAN services at Internet-comparable price points.
  • SD-WAN eliminates backhaul penalties of MPLS networks, leveraging the Internet to deliver secure, high-performance connections from branch to cloud. Remote users will also see improvements in their experience when using cloud/SaaS-based applications.
  • SD-WAN can lay the foundation for organizations adopting SASE or a zero trust framework.

Also read: Technical guide to SD-WAN

As applications migrate to the Cloud, so will network functions. By moving these operations to the Cloud, businesses gain upgraded visibility and analytical insight while no longer having to manage their communications infrastructures at the local level.

From there, mission-critical applications can be layered into the cloud-delivered network. SD-WAN drives bottom-line outcomes by giving customers an improved experience when accessing these applications.

Also read: How SD-WAN is revolutionizing hybrid networks for the cloud era

SD-WAN may be a comprehensive solution for your networking needs. However, SD-WAN:

  • Does not include the traditional, bookended WAN optimization applicable for private MPLS links and TCP-only connections.
  • Is not just multilink WAN bonding with path control.
  • Is not a last-mile cloud-gateway solution for providing application-based caching and acceleration techniques.
  • Does not offer multilayer integration of packet and optical networks in a telco backbone.
  • Is not private, dark-fiber networking that avoids telco services.

Watch: Why invest in SD-WAN?

How CBTS SD-WAN architecture differs from MPLS graphic

By harnessing SD-WAN, companies can:

  1. Virtualize their networks.
  2. Enable a secure overlay.
  3. Simplify the delivery of services.
  4. Provide interoperability.
  5. Leverage cost-effective hardware.
  6. Support automation within a business policy framework.
  7. Monitor usage and performance.
  8. Support interoperable and open networking.
  9. Enable managed services.

Also read: Healthcare provider requires secure network

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SD-WAN ensures network safety and security, even in remote environments

Many professionals working remotely struggle with insufficient wireless networks and constrained bandwidth—not the kind of “new normal” executives expect when maximizing branch capabilities and targeting mission-critical business goals.

Partnering with a proven service provider like CBTS empowers organizations to meet these new challenges. Use cases for a software-defined wide area network solution include on-premises, cloud, and hybrid deployment models that require a quality of experience (QoE) for VoIP and other real-time applications regardless of where users are located.

Watch: Enhance your end user voice and video experience with SD-WAN

Additional security strengths

SD-WAN delivers a secure cloud network through a secure overlay. This transport-independent overlay works across any combination of public-private circuits, enabling connectivity to both enterprise data centers and SaaS applications.

Additionally, an SD-WAN cloud security solution can be service-chained with another cloud solution to deliver protection from any number of external threats: phishers, scammers, bots, viruses, and more—even as users access the network remotely. This reduces strain on your organization’s data center and provides peace of mind for remote employees.

Also read: Protect your SD-WAN network with cloud-enabled security

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Industries that benefit from software-defined wide area networks

A wide variety of verticals can see significant returns on their investments into SD-WAN, regardless of location or sector of the economy they occupy.

For example, retail and food service organizations often have narrow profit margins that limit the scope of networking infrastructure they can invest in. Software-defined wide area networks fit this niche thanks to lower infrastructure costs—without compromising connection quality.

Meanwhile, the healthcare industry also has unique needs for which SD-WAN is suited. With SD-WAN, healthcare agencies can create specific policies and customized routing protocols for their mission-critical healthcare applications and their large, widely distributed environments.

Government agencies also derive substantial value from the streamlined application and service management that SD-WAN offers, especially those with public-facing entities that must field thousands of phone calls per day. SD-WAN provides these organizations with a single pane of glass interface to manage their local, statewide, or even nationally distributed network environments.

Also read: Staffing company has uneven call quality

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How to build an SD-WAN architecture

When the decision is made for your organization to begin transitioning to a cloud-delivered software-defined wide area networking environment, there are a few key factors to consider.

Search for an SD-WAN partner, set goals, and get executive buy-in to ensure a successful SD-WAN deployment.
Search for an SD-WAN partner, set goals, and get executive buy-in to ensure a successful SD-WAN deployment.

Firstly, your enterprise must determine whether to engage with a managed service partner to implement your software-defined wide area network architecture. There are many benefits to this, but care must be taken to choose an SD-WAN partner who will offer complete transparency into the transition process without demanding total control.

A successful SD-WAN deployment also depends on complete buy-in from your organization’s leadership. Executives must be thoroughly informed of the mission and goals of the SD-WAN transition to ensure an efficient and effective migration—having productive conversations early on and getting all sectors of the business invested in the smooth deployment of cloud-delivered SD-WAN.

Also read: Four considerations for building a remote network with SD-WAN

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Choosing the right SD-WAN partner for your business needs

Identifying the right partner for your managed software-defined wide area network solution is crucial for organizations looking to build a network architecture supporting high-level business imperatives. Providers should have expertise in smoothly transforming a legacy MPLS network into a cloud-powered hybrid or SD-WAN architecture, regardless of industry.

A provider must also work with a client’s IT team to:

  • Identify vulnerabilities.
  • Map out the existing network environment.
  • Plot out an optimal transition plan.

The right SD-WAN partner brings a modern approach to an enterprise’s security situation. Put simply, your would-be network provider should have layered and comprehensive answers to the question, “What is SD-WAN?”. Finding the perfect partner will help you assess your current network to optimize bandwidth and safeguard essential data and applications.

Also read: The key to finding the right SD-WAN provider for your organization

SD-WAN is defining both the present and future of enterprise networking. However, it takes an expert guide to navigate these turbulent waters. Choose your partner carefully to get the most out of this technology.

Follow the link for more information on how SD-WAN can modernize your network and threat management strategy.

Three pillars of contact center security

Ensure the safety of your organization customers with enhanced cybersecurity solutions and built-in contact center security tools from a security partner like CBTS.

The transition to a hybrid work model has led to a revolution in the contact center world. Administrators now oversee agents worldwide, responding to customer communications across various channels, including voice, chat, instant messaging, video, and SMS messaging. While this revolution offers new methods of reaching customers and greater efficiencies, it also increases security risks. CBTS offers a variety of solutions that integrate seamlessly to provide the best security for your Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solution.

Each CCaaS vendor provides built-in security features for every product. However, those features only protect the platform itself. Built-in security does not address many other threats, especially those that target contact center employees. To ensure the total safety of the contact center, your organization must combine built-in security with expertly implemented add-on tools to provide a complete defense.

This post will review the threats not covered by built-in security, as well as the three pillars that defend against cyberattacks.

Read more: How CXsync is transforming small and midsize businesses through cloud-based contact centers

Threats to contact center security

There are several categories of threats to contact center security. The three most common include:

  • Hardware failure – When storage devices fail, whether from a natural disaster or data corruption, it is vital to have backup systems in place to maintain business continuity.
  • Data leaks – A leak of sensitive data may be accidental or come from a malicious attack. Hackers have developed sophisticated ransomware, phishing, and other social engineering schemes that target the weak points of security systems.
  • Weak network security – Segmenting a contact center network from the rest of the organization is critical. In an unsegmented network scenario, a data breach in one area of the company could affect the contact center (and vice versa).

This post focuses on the latter two threats: data leaks and unsecured infrastructure. For more on creating secure cloud backups to protect against physical media failure, read Seven tips and tricks to manage disaster recovery solutions for the Cloud.

Built-in protections vs. add-on security

CCaaS vendors must provide secure platforms, not just from a compliance point of view but also to maintain their reputations. Vendors have a substantial investment in maintaining backend security to keep their customers safe and their brand image intact.

But those protections often end at the front end. Unfortunately, threat actors target weaknesses outside built-in security—such as employees, poorly written software, and unsecured infrastructure. The good news is that with a few simple steps and the guidance of security experts, your organization can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches. Additionally, your team will have a response plan to mitigate damage in the event of a successful attack.

Pillars of contact center security

The first pillar is focused on securing infrastructure, while the other two focus on securing the human elements of your organization—employees and customers. Each pillar will help your organization stay compliant with pertinent security regulations.

Pillar 1: Secure technology

Apply zero trust principles when building your contact center architecture including performing a threat modeling exercise against the target architecture to identify, remediate and mitigate vulnerabilities prior to implementation.

  • Secure all identities: Require MFA for contact center employees and implement continuous
  • Secure all interfaces: Require a web application firewall (WAF) to protect your exposed web applications, VPN access, and voice traffic.
  • Data encryption: Sensitive data such as personally identifiable information (PII)—social security numbers, credit card numbers, and driver’s license numbers—must be encrypted in transit and at rest (backups) to prevent unauthorized access or disclosure.
  • Keep technology stack current: Attackers probe systems continuously for vulnerabilities and weaknesses, like default usernames and passwords. A contact center must keep its technology stack updated with regular patching and vulnerability scans to block the attackers.
  • Restrict access to sensitive data: Sensitive data must be secured to mitigate risk.
    These efforts include:
    • Closely managing employee permissions by implementing the principle of least privilege and granting only the required access needed to do the job. Remove employee access and permissions as soon as they leave the organization.
    • Implement a data classification program and mask sensitive information from employees. Only display the last four digits of a PII number, such as a social security number or credit card.
    • Delete credit card information once a transaction is complete. While inconvenient for the customer, this is a more secure practice.
  • Logging, monitoring, and alerting: Last but not least, ensure you are logging all auditable events and have a monitoring and alerting capability to notify you of anomalous activity. This can be with a SIEM tool or similar log aggregation solution.

Pillar 2: Secure operations

  • Build a culture of security: It’s essential that leadership endorse and support a continuous security improvement program for contact center employees, as well as employees at all levels. To establish a culture of security for your team, provide quarterly training on how to spot malware, phishing, and social engineering schemes. Additionally, implement strong password best practices and shred (or digitally shred) sensitive data.
  • Test security: Routinely perform security audits and penetration tests with the help of your security partner. Schedule regular antivirus and malware scans. Provide secure devices for at-home agents and monitor usage, blocking untrustworthy websites and applications.
  • Prepare for a data breach: Create an Incident Response Plan that covers data breach incidents. This plan should cover how to notify customers and employees, as well as include instructions on how to maintain business continuity.
  • Bots and AI: Implement a WAF that blocks bot attacks and distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks. Make sure your users are trained on the latest AI generated phishing e-mails and voice (vishing) attacks.  

Pillar 3: Secure customers/users

  • User authentication: Implement phishing resistant MFA for your customer portal. Requiring secure authentication for your customer login portal will significantly reduce the risk of a breach. Microsoft estimates that 99.9% of account compromise attacks can be prevented by implementing MFA.
  • Data privacy policy: With new state privacy laws in California, Colorado, and other states, it is essential to clearly communicate to your customers how your contact center uses a customer’s data. Offering them insight into how their data is used and protected builds trust and brand loyalty. You will also have to provide a process for your customers to delete their data. This is known as the “Right to be Forgotten.”

Building your pillars

Hybrid work models create greater efficiencies for contact centers but also produce new security challenges. Even a single data breach could expose your organization to significant risk, both legally and in terms of financial loss. Many companies face steep fines, ransoms, and reputational damage. Some organizations never recover.

Choosing the right partner to help you build the pillars of contact center security is crucial. CBTS has decades of experience in telecommunications. Our team has overseen hundreds of contact centers transitioning from legacy systems to cloud-based communications. CBTS security experts speak to the security challenges unique to your contact center.

From security assessments to choosing the right CCaaS platform, our team has the depth of knowledge to help your contact center make informed decisions. Additionally, we can advise your company on merging CCaaS with Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) systems to create a more cost-efficient, streamlined system that boosts productivity and collaboration across the enterprise.

Get in touch today to learn more.

Webex Calling vs Microsoft Teams Voice for your collaboration needs

Collaboration solutions have become increasingly popular in response to the rise of hybrid work environments. Companies searching for a high-quality voice solution will want to explore Webex Calling vs Microsoft Teams Voice. These two solutions offer high-quality video and voice calling, messaging, and collaboration tools in secure and seamless platforms that span devices.

But how do you decide which collaboration solution is ideal for your business? Let’s explore the specifics and distinctions of Webex Calling vs Microsoft Teams Voice.

Both offer comparable services, so it’s essential to examine the details of each service and analyze them side by side. Once you understand the differences, you can choose an implementation partner that helps you install, optimize, and manage the solution in a way that aligns with your organization’s unique needs and key business outcomes.

Webex Calling vs MS Teams Voice: Where to begin?

Comparing Webex Calling vs MS Teams Voice, both offer similar functionality, so assessing your organization’s communication needs is essential before deciding.

Factors to consider include your current communication systems, the features your company requires, your IT budget, and the resources you have available for managing communications security. If your enterprise is already using Microsoft Teams or other Microsoft tools, enabling Teams Phone can be straightforward. Teams integrates easily with the Microsoft Office Suite and is compatible with hundreds of third-party Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, making it a seamless addition to your existing workflow.

On the other hand, Webex comes with a pre-installed Voice solution and integrates well with other Cisco products like Webex-integrated cameras or meeting rooms. This simplifies switching between voice, messaging, and video conferencing.

If your organization already uses communication solutions from Microsoft, Cisco, or other providers—or if you’re looking to transition from a legacy phone system—consulting with an experienced IT partner can help you explore your options and integrate them with your existing systems.

Telephony

Microsoft Teams Voice

Microsoft Teams may be the perfect choice for organizations that need calling support within the company’s directory. However, if you need to make outside calls, you must enable the Microsoft Phone system.

The MS Teams Phone system offers several calling plans, including Direct Routing, which is ideal for large companies that require a high degree of flexibility. Operator Connect is Microsoft’s latest in Voice connectivity options and offers a feature-rich environment like Direct Routing while enabling deeper integration and controls within Teams Admin Center.

The Microsoft Teams Phone system:

  • Fully integrates with Microsoft Office products like Outlook, OneDrive, and SharePoint.
  • Has ability to create custom workflows and applications within the platform using low-code solution PowerApps.
  • Provides an intuitive platform for making, receiving, and managing calls.
  • Includes various features like unlimited local and long-distance calling, intelligent call routing, call parking, auto attendants, and advanced admin and management controls.

Read more: Simplify your Microsoft Teams Voice migration with CBTS professional services workshops

Webex Calling

Webex telephony features:

  • Hosts calls on a VoIP business phone system with end-to-end encryption, allowing users to reach their business phone number from any device. Webex telephony features include:
  • Offers unlimited calling with a basic account and advanced performance and security for users utilizing legacy Cisco endpoints.
  • Integrates with hundreds of Cisco and third-party applications, including Microsoft Teams.
  • Advanced call management tools such as call merging, transfers, visual voicemail, and more.

Read more: Upgrade to future-proof phone services with Webex Calling

Meetings

Microsoft Teams Voice

With the scheduling tools integrated into the Calendars tab in Teams, scheduling sessions has never been more accessible. Live transcription is also available in six different languages, and each meeting generates a unique tab for collaboration purposes. Additionally, there are many engagement tools, including virtual backgrounds, screen sharing, whiteboards, and hand raising. The speech coaching feature also allows users to receive real-time feedback on their presentation skills. 

Webex Calling

Webex Calling is also an excellent solution for hosting company-wide meetings and seminars with video conferencing. It can accommodate up to 1,000 participants for 24 hours and integrates with popular scheduling apps such as Google Calendar and Microsoft 365. The engagement tools in Webex Calling include polls, Q&A functionality, picture-in-picture, and whiteboards. An immersive screen sharing feature allows speakers to customize their backgrounds over a slideshow or image. 

The AI-driven transcription in Webex Calling automatically saves meeting notes in the Cloud and creates searchable keywords and meeting recaps. Gesture recognition technology is also available, translating hand gestures into emoji responses. Finally, the high-quality noise removal feature optimizes the speaker’s voice, even in noisy environments.

Security

Top-of-the-line security measures are more critical than ever. Organizations can expect integrated security features when choosing between Webex Calling vs Microsoft Teams Voice.

Microsoft Teams Voice

  • Enterprise-grade security that shares its security foundation across the Microsoft suite—thus minimizing the risk of data breaches.
  • Integration with compliance tools and management systems.
  • Hands-off approach to security, with most features already included in the platform.

Webex Calling

  • End-to-end encryption for all communications makes it an excellent option for organizations with robust security teams.
  • Advanced admin configurations available to the entire organization.
  • Smaller companies with smaller IT teams may need additional resources for training and management. They can also consider seeking support from a managed security services provider such as CBTS.

Read more: Optimizing security for your UCaaS solutions

Collaboration

Microsoft Teams Voice

The Microsoft Teams next-generation messaging platform lets your team quickly organize chat groups based on department, location, or project.

  • Chat message translation into over 35 languages.
  • Activity tab that makes it easy to catch up quickly.
  • Secure file sharing integrated with Microsoft Cloud platforms, such as SharePoint and OneDrive, allowing you to work simultaneously on files within the Microsoft suite.
  • Optimized workflow with hundreds of built-in apps for polls, forms, and project management or integration with hundreds of other SaaS tools via API.

Webex Calling

Webex calling is an excellent option for those who want to utilize personal devices to make calls from their business number, message colleagues, and share files with end-to-end encryption through Webex Go. Features include:

  • Implementation with devices such as cameras, Wi-Fi gateways, and monitors.
  • Ability to seamlessly add equipment like a softphone or headset into the workflow..
  • Integration with hundreds of applications (including Teams) lets users stay within the Webex app and reduces time spent navigating between tabs or applications.

Analytics and admin tools

Microsoft Teams Voice

  • Access valuable data insights through real-time reports, call quality dashboards, and activity logs.
  • Use reliability and usage reports, surveys, and charts to understand enterprise-wide call quality and performance better.

Webex Calling

  • With the Control Hub, a single pane of glass dashboard, administrators gain greater visibility and oversight by creating and tracking custom analytics.
  • Manage real-time KPIs, monitor employee engagement call quality, and gain insights with interactive data visualization.
  • The Engagement tab provides a dedicated space to chart the usage of each channel and identify any performance issues.

A vendor-agnostic partner

Looking at Webex Calling vs Microsoft Teams Voice, both offer robust collaboration tools, high-quality video and audio calls, and a wealth of integrations to tailor the platform to your organization’s communication needs. Ultimately, choosing between the two depends on your company’s current communication situation and the goals you want to achieve through the migration.

The key benefit of choosing Webex Calling or MS Teams Voice is their ability to seamlessly integrate with your company’s workflows without causing significant disruptions. Seeking the help of a managed service provider like CBTS, who can assist in selecting and implementing the new systems, will ensure a smooth and successful transition for your company.

CBTS has extensive experience planning, managing, and implementing unified communications solutions, Contact Center as a Service, and security solutions. Our highly certified professionals will guide you through every step of the process, from choosing the best platform to optimizing it for your short and long-term goals and managing it for the long haul.

If you’re unsure which plan is correct, an implementation partner like CBTS can help you customize a plan tailored to your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of Webex Calling vs MS Teams Voice.

Simplify your Microsoft Teams Voice migration with CBTS professional services workshops

According to Gartner, 50% of all phone system users will be cloud-based by 2025. This trend is primarily due to the growing demand for a hybrid workforce and the secure communications and collaboration needed to fuel hybrid business models. To help enterprises manage the infrastructure’s complexity, CBTS provides a series of workshops to help companies better understand, plan, and migrate to Microsoft Teams Voice (MSTV).

Despite cloud-based voice presenting agility and flexibility for employees to work from anywhere, it also has a specific set of challenges to overcome. Each workshop from CBTS builds on the last and is meant to meet companies where they are in their digital transformation journey. Our expert guidance and critical tools enable organizations to get the most from the unified communications platform.

A complex, game-changing approach to communications

Commuting is a fitting analogy for a digital migration. Think of traditional PBX phone systems as a subway with a dedicated track from point A to point B. Cloud-based voice is more like driving a car. There are many routes to choose from, traffic to contend with, accidents, and so on. In this analogy, instead of going straight to the same office every day, your car travels to a different office by a different route each day.

Today’s hybrid employee might start a video meeting on a laptop at home, only to transition to voice on a mobile phone as they drive to a doctor’s appointment. This simple switch involves multiple devices and networks that must be monitored, secured, and optimized. Each employee becomes an extension of the company’s cloud voice system.

Also read: Key advantages of Microsoft Teams Voice Operator Connect

What can your organization expect from the workshops?

The CBTS professional services workshops are an excellent fit for businesses already utilizing Teams for collaboration. However, companies seeking to integrate and unify communications by migrating to Microsoft Teams Voice are also an ideal fit. The workshops provide the following benefits:

  • A greater understanding and visibility of your current communications environment.
  • A structured methodology honed over many sessions.
  • CBTS expert-guided consultations.
  • Identify problem areas that may need attention to ease the transition to Microsoft Teams Voice.
  • Avoid common migration pitfalls.
  • Support tailored to you. Get as much or little help as you need, with each session building on the last.
  • Minimal operational downtime during migration.

CBTS Microsoft Teams Voice professional services workshops: Phases to migration

Phase 1: Discovery

The discovery workshop aims to evaluate your company’s current communications system for a Microsoft Teams Voice migration.

Activities

  • Define business objectives
  • Fill out a communications questionnaire
  • Q&A sessions
  • Work directly with CBTS experts for up to four hours

Deliverables

  • Completed questionnaire
  • Statement of work (SOW) if clients wish to continue to the assessment phase
  • List of recommendations and action steps

Learn more: Microsoft Teams Voice Discovery Workshop

Phase 2: Migration assessment

The assessment phase serves as a deep dive into the viability and strategy of a Microsoft Teams Voice migration. Our team helps you evaluate licensing, your current telephony infrastructure, and your readiness for the MSTV transition. The discovery workshop is a prerequisite to this module.

Activities

  • Review the objectives set down in the discovery workshop
  • Work through Microsoft enterprise-level licensing issues
  • Deep dive analysis of current PBX phone system(s)
  • MSTV readiness assessment
  • Network readiness assessment
  • Location surveys
  • Mapping of MSTV and other relevant applications

Deliverables

  • Detailed remediation plan
  • Further action steps and recommendations
  • More detailed discovery documentation

Learn more: Microsoft Teams Voice Migration Assessment

Phase 3: Migration and transition to operations

In this phase, CBTS plans and executes the migration to MSTV. The previous two workshops are prerequisites.

Activities

  • CBTS project management that includes:
    • Migration planning.
    • Voice design.
    • Number porting.
  • MSTV Admin Center configuration
  • Day of activation support
  • Testing, training, and knowledge transfer

Deliverables

  • Administrator training and shadowing
  • End-user training sessions
  • Training guides and documentation
  • Correctly provisioned MSTV Admin Center Voice policies

Learn more: MSTV managed migration and transition support

Protect your communications solution with CBTS managed services

During this phase, CBTS transitions to full-time management of MSTV or ongoing support. Maintaining call quality and security is no easy feat, as any number of issues can crop up at any point. CBTS provides experienced guidance that smooths out your migration to and maintenance of Microsoft Teams Voice. Managed MSTV from CBTS is a hands-off maintenance solution for busy companies fighting to prioritize communications as a key to growth.

Beyond the many decades of Microsoft experience, CBTS has earned the following certifications and experience, qualifying them to manage any MSTV migration:

  • Microsoft Solutions Partner for Modern Work – End-to-end Microsoft solutions, including licensing, support, and management.
  • Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider – Extensive knowledge of the entire Microsoft Suite and products.
  • Advanced Specialization in Calling for Teams – Through a rigorous certification process, CBTS achieved this certification that Microsoft only bestows on partners demonstrating “deep knowledge, extensive experience, and proven success” with MSTV.
  • Reliability and expertise – Over 85 certified Microsoft professionals and 2,000 engineers (and counting) are profoundly experienced and capable of implementing high-end cloud voice frameworks.

Contact us today to learn more about the CBTS professional services workshop series, or learn more here.

Optimizing security for your UCaaS solutions

The rising digital workplace must merge UcaaS and collaboration and security solutions, but without proper implementation, your organization may be overlooking potential vulnerabilities.

The security landscape of the digital workplace

As the paradigm of work has permanently shifted, hybrid and remote work are here to stay. Even companies that have returned to “normal” operations face enormous pressure to offer hybrid options. The need for cloud telephony and collaboration tools has exploded in this environment. Various Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solutions have evolved to meet demand.

UCaaS platforms effectively unite collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams Voice or Webex Calling by Cisco with cloud-based telephony. It’s safe to say that, eventually, every industry will run its communications through a unified solution that utilizes a cloud collaboration environment. This development seems to be the progression arc of modern communications technology, and it’s overwhelmingly popularity among employees in every industry.

But with the emergence of UCaaS as a primary form of corporate communications, the demand for advanced security measures has increased. The increased reliance on cybersecurity insurance, HIPAA, and other regulatory requirements demands data is protected, driving the push for enhanced security practices. Additionally, the trend to merge UCaaS with Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) platforms means that security controls must be robust and flexible, as well as deployable across multiple environments and platforms.

This post will briefly examine the technologies driving the digital workplace and delve into the security threats to UCaaS and the security tools evolving to face them. 

Technologies driving the digital workplace

UCaaS solutions aren’t the only tech advances impacting the future of remote work. Other influential technologies include:

Learn more: SD-WAN and NaaS from CBTS pays off for alternative financial services companies

Threats and challenges of UCaaS security

Security is one of the chief benefits of embracing a Unified Communications system. On-premises data centers require enormous upkeep—patching, firmware updates, upgrades, replacements, and firewall maintenance. UCaaS shifts the burden of security to the managed service provider who holds expertise in maintaining security.

The move to managed services isn’t found only in collaboration or telephony, but in all sorts of workloads and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. Organizations want the same benefits of on-premises equipment without overloading their in-house IT team.

Even though cloud-based infrastructure and applications are more secure than their on-prem legacy counterparts, the move to the Cloud brings its own set of security challenges. The core threats to the digital workplace are the exploding complexity of hybrid networks and the increased sophistication of cybercriminals. Remote work multiplies the number of devices, connections, and applications interacting with your business network. Each user represents a potential security weakness.

Additionally, video conferencing and collaboration tools have their unique security concerns. Threats like “zoom bombing” and sophisticated eavesdropping techniques mean data, recordings, and connections should be encrypted end-to-end. 

Also read: Nine compelling benefits of a CBTS managed cloud environment

UCaaS security solutions

Next-gen security tools

The next generation of security tools, particularly SSE/SASE, is about delivering cloud firewall services, CASB, ZTNA, and cloud secure gateway services to any device. The shift in thinking is from building a “wall” around the organization to building one around each user. SASE is necessary in addition to Microsoft Security Protocols (native in MS Teams, MS Suite, etc.), SaaS, and custom-built apps.

Other emerging technologies include:

  • EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response): Next-gen, AI-powered antivirus platforms that flag irregular user activity in location, action, or time.
  • CASB (Cloud access security broker): Multi-cloud API flow monitoring and threat detection that merges with data loss prevention (DLP) tools.
  • Device identification and management: Gives admins greater control and visibility into the devices connected to their network at any given time.
  • Secure gateway: Restricts access to dangerous sites and malware.
  • Patching as a Service and vulnerability scans: IT admins push out patches through the network. CBTS can refine the process and boost patching success rates through testing.

Additionally, CBTS deploys these tools by following emerging security concepts like zero trust networking access (ZTNA) which mitigates risk by limiting access to only what’s necessary for each user.

Seamless integration

Many organizations lack an appropriate number of solutions to defend digital processes properly. However, the inverse is equally true for many companies. As more security tools emerge, an IT department may suddenly find itself managing a portfolio of five, six, seven, or more platforms. Tool sprawl is a challenge for even the most seasoned IT professional. In response, industry-leading companies like Palo Alto and Cisco are pushing to condense and merge their security offerings.

Working with a managed services partner like CBTS eliminates this issue. CBTS will partner with your organization to help select the right solution for your business and manage that solution—all while serving as the primary contact.

Single-pane-of-glass controls

The need for simplified controls also accompanies the push for integration. Vendors are working to make this a reality for their companies by creating an easy-to-use dashboard that controls multiple tools or works across vendor platforms. CBTS can design custom dashboards to help you manage multiple tools and vendors.

AI and machine learning

Advances in AI are fueling faster threat monitoring, identification, and remediation. Machine learning tools navigate the growing complexity of UCaaS solutions and the rest of the digital workplace to root out developing malware threats in near real-time.

Compliance management

Compliance movements like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) stateside are forcing IT leaders to rethink compliance management. Working with a managed service provider like CBTS removes stress by putting the onus of keeping up with evolving legislation and cybersecurity standards on the service provider.

Also read: Data protection and managed backup for secure cloud organizations

Selecting a digital workplace security partner

As discussed in this post, it’s only a matter of time before most companies must design and deploy a UCaaS solution to manage their communications effectively and ensure an efficient digital workplace. IT leaders should select managed service providers with broad shoulders. Why not partner with a managed services provider that can implement workplace solutions while ensuring maximum security through next-gen tools and emerging security concepts such as ZTNA?

CBTS offers full-spectrum solutions that support each phase of your digital transformation journey. Get in touch today to learn how CBTS UCaaS solutions and security measures can help your company thrive.

Always stay connected with MS Teams Voice

Why are so many companies turning to Microsoft Teams Voice (MS Teams Voice)? A large part of the drive is that so many organizations already use Microsoft Teams as their office Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution.

With the recent boom in remote work, MS Teams and Teams Voice have become integral to routine business operations for many enterprises. It is a logical replacement for traditional voice providers and seamlessly integrates with existing Teams clients. Considering all the benefits of Teams, adding purpose-built enterprise voice functionality is an easy choice.

Find out: How CBTS is integrating hosted UCaaS with Microsoft Teams for improved collaboration

Who is MS Teams Voice for?

This enterprise voice solution is an excellent choice for all businesses using Teams as their collaboration tool today. Microsoft Teams Voice empowers enterprises to take advantage of all Microsoft Teams collaboration features while fully integrating CBTS’ robust VoIP core capabilities like contact center, AI-enabled IVR, call recording, advanced analytics, call reporting, and many more advanced applications organizations require.

And because Voice integrates with MS Teams, you can turn any computer, phone, or tablet into a phone that uses your business voice number. Remote team members using Microsoft Teams can respond to calls anytime and anywhere. When you transition, you can keep your existing phone numbers by porting them to the new enterprise voice interface.

Also read: How to train your organization to use Microsoft Teams

When you make the switch to Microsoft Teams Voice, you can:

  • Unify onsite and offsite business calls.
  • Experience easy, on-the-go communication.
  • Stay connected anywhere.
  • Get all the standard phone system features.
  • Keep your current business number.

Download the e-book: Microsoft Teams Voice meets every business need

Benefits of MS Teams Voice

In addition to the beneficial features already discussed, MSTV also provides the following:

  • Instant connection. Short messaging exchanges make it much easier for your team to get quick answers to urgent questions and complete tasks faster.
  • Seamlessly move between communication modes. Launch a spur-of-the-moment call with screen share, file share, and whiteboards, or transition into messaging from a video call.
  • Support remote staff from anywhere. MS Team Voice securely supports remote employees working via computer or mobile devices.
  • Unify file sharing. Don’t waste time clicking between tabs or apps. Instead, find files, conversations, and applications all in one secure location.
  • Cowork on documents. Draft, edit, and review files in real-time with teammates or supervisors across the Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, etc.) without leaving Teams.
  • E-mail integration. Each channel has a dedicated e-mail address so that you can comment from your e-mail inbox.
  • Highly customizable. Build custom business processes, workflows, and applications within Teams utilizing the low-code Power Apps.
  • Integration. Teams integrates with 250+ third-party business apps and the entire Microsoft Suite.
  • Cost efficient. Potentially save money and lower OpEx by taking advantage of cost-efficient billing and licensing.

Keep your business connected offline

Whether you’re looking for a better way to keep your remote workers connected or want to bundle your communications and cut costs, MS Teams Voice can help. Seamless online and offline communication is vital for a business of any size. Teams Voice is the easiest way for growing businesses to stay connected regardless of their size and location, and it’s ideal for companies that need integrated communications with Teams-enabled clients. When you make the switch to Teams Voice, you get the following features and more:

  • Phone system. Standard phone features include voice mail, caller ID, call menus, shared phone lines, and emergency calls.
  • Domestic calling. Calls within your country or region are free. International plans and toll-free dialing are also available.
  • Video and audio conferencing. Host conference calls with people who don’t have collaboration applications or a reliable Internet connection.

Barriers to MSTV adoption

Many organizations still need help to meet the communications needs of a hybrid workplace adequately. For example, of the nearly 270 million active Teams users, only 12 million have enabled Voice features, citing concerns with:

  • Deployment.
  • Licenses.
  • Cost of migration.
  • Re-training staff and changing onboarding processes.
  • Technical difficulties.

Learn more: The seven-step roadmap for a successful Microsoft Teams migration

CBTS Voice solutions

MS Teams Voice from CBTS offers many solutions to improve hybrid work environments. As a Microsoft Solutions Partner and Certified Cloud Solutions provider, CBTS provides end-to-end support for deployment, licenses, security, training, and workflow optimization.

Microsoft Voice Plan options include:

  • Operator Connect. Ideal for midsize organizations, Operator Connect offers a feature-rich environment like Direct Routing while being more affordable.
  • Direct Routing. Direct Routing is meant for large organizations that need a high degree of customization in creating UCaaS systems and extra support in managing communications.

With CBTS deployment, you can cherry-pick the features from each Voice Plan to create a hand-tailored system to meet your organization’s communication needs.

Also read: Key advantages of Microsoft Teams Operator Connect

Making the switch to MS Teams Voice

Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity suite is among the most effective business tools available. Working with a certified Gold Microsoft Partner like CBTS ensures you get informed recommendations based on your unique IT environment and business needs. Even if you already use Microsoft 365 and Office 365, CBTS can help you optimize your use and integrate Microsoft Teams Voice.

Talk to an expert today to discover how CBTS can help your team connect.

The seven-step roadmap for a successful Microsoft Teams migration

According to a recent study by Gartner, 39% of global knowledge workers will work in a hybrid environment by the end of this year, with 51% in the U.S. working hybrid and 20% going fully remote. Gartner predicts hybrid work will “remain prominent” well into the future. Hybrid work is no longer a perk for many employees but rather a requirement.

And yet, many organizations are still struggling to meet the communications needs of a hybrid workplace adequately. To address the communication needs of remote work, many companies are turning to a Unified Communication (UCaaS) Voice system delivered via Microsoft Teams. However, of the nearly 270 million active Teams users, only 12 million have enabled Voice features, citing concerns with implementation, licensing, cost, and technical difficulties.

To help you start your journey to improved hybrid communications, we have outlined seven essential steps to migrate your organization to Microsoft Teams Voice.

Although there are significant barriers to deploying Microsoft Teams Voice (MSTV), the benefits are ideally suited to a hybrid work environment:

  • User-friendly interfaces designed with remote work in mind.
  • Greater admin control.
  • Powerful collaboration tools, including messaging, video conferencing, and file sharing, with the option to transition seamlessly between communication modes (i.e., messaging to a voice call).
  • Integrates with other Microsoft apps that operate within Teams.
  • Potential cost savings and lowered OpEx.

1. Take stock of existing communications

The first step of a Microsoft Teams migration is to evaluate your current Voice and communications system or work with an IT provider who can guide you. You will answer questions such as:

  • What is the role of your communications system?
  • Who does your phone system connect?
  • What are the ongoing costs of maintaining your communications system? What are the active contracts?
  • What routing system do you have in place? How is it documented?

An experienced communications provider will be able to guide you through this process and ask the questions that you didn’t think to ask yourself.

2. Define what success means to your organization

Determining your objectives for migrating to Microsoft Teams is a crucial part of the process. Your team might be seeking a means of streamlining operating expenses. Other common goals include:

  • Enhancing experiences for both customers and employees.
  • Better supporting remote workers.
  • Boosting efficiency and productivity.

Documenting these goals will help your team assess the success of the migration post-implementation.

Also read: How CBTS is integrating Hosted UCaaS with Microsoft Teams for improved collaboration

3. Determine vital features

After you know what success looks like, you can sort through the many features available in MSTV and prioritize. Several standard calling features include:

  • Auto attendant – The quality of “virtual receptionists” have greatly improved in recent years and can be managed with minimal oversight via a mobile device.
  • Voicemail to email transcription – Sends transcripts and audio recordings of voicemails to an employee’s email account.
  • Mobile phone pairing – In addition to Teams messaging, remote employees can receive calls from their work number to their mobile devices.

4. Select an appropriate voice option

Microsoft offers several phone plans with differing features:

  • Operator Connect — The next evolution of connecting to the Teams PBX, Operator Connect enables deeper integration with Teams, offering improved quality of experience (QoE) and additional administrative capabilities via the Teams Admin Center.
  • Direct Routing — Direct Routing provides PSTN connectivity to the Teams PBX.

CBTS engineers can help you select the appropriate option; they can assist with porting features over from the option you did not choose to create a truly customized experience.

Learn more: Key Advantages of Microsoft Teams Operator Connect

5. Verify the holistic strength of your network

Migrating to Microsoft Teams might lead to an uptick in bandwidth usage for your organization. As a result, it is imperative to test and vet the strength of your network in the following categories:

  • LAN – A high-speed local area network is vital to implementing a UCaaS VoIP system. When in doubt, work with a communications provider to audit your LAN to ensure it doesn’t need upgrades before MSTV migration.
  • Firewall/security – Modern firewalls are necessary to block malware and route and direct network traffic. They need a good amount of processing speed to prevent system slowdowns.
  • High-speed, redundant Internet – Fast and redundant service is necessary for remote workers. SD-WAN is baked into many modern firewalls and supports multiple network loads.

6. Investigate compliance requirements

There are numerous compliance laws revolving around emergency 911 calling and no-call lists. Regulations vary from state to state and throughout the world. CBTS can ensure you thoroughly understand what it will take to stay compliant before migrating to Microsoft Teams.

7. Plan for the transition

Migrating hundreds or thousands of employees to Microsoft Teams is a process. Take the time to carefully map out how you will maintain customer service and internal communications during system upgrades.

Other things to consider include:

  • Training for existing staff and new hires.
  • Device requirements and upgrades.
  • Mobile pairing.

Learn more: How to train your organization to use Microsoft Teams

Select a winning partner

Migration to Microsoft Teams is a long-term project, with optimization and refinements that could last years. One way to set your enterprise up for success is to choose an experienced UCaaS provider.

CBTS has guided many companies through successful migrations and provides ongoing 24x7x365 support once the solution is in place. In addition, CBTS is a Microsoft Solution Partner with an advanced specialization in Calling for Teams. So, not only is CBTS a highly experienced provider, but our team serves as an integrator, helping you get the most out of your MSTV investment.

Contact us today to begin your Microsoft Teams Voice journey.

Top ten benefits of integrating your cloud-based contact center with UCaaS

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions have evolved to address the growing communication needs of modern enterprise customers and businesses. CCaaS platforms are geared toward external customer communications, while UCaaS solutions are designed for internal collaborations. Cloud-based technology has revolutionized contact centers, making them more agile and able to meet customers in an omnichannel environment. UCaaS tools further amplify a company’s ability to guide customers to the necessary solutions.

An emerging trend is integrating UCaaS and CCaaS platforms into a single-pane-of-glass dashboard to streamline communications. However, integration itself is not enough. Simply applying APIs can lead to clunky and wooden workflows. To maximize results, companies need an integrator—a provider that can stitch together applications in meaningful ways and incorporate legacy systems, such as analog phone lines, into a simplified workflow.  

This blog will review the best-in-class UCaaS and CCaaS tools from CBTS and discuss the benefits of integration.

Read our e-book: UCaaS and CCaaS: Maximize your results with integration

UCaaS portfolio

CBTS leverages longstanding partnerships with industry leaders Microsoft and Cisco to offer superior collaboration platforms.

Microsoft Teams Voice

Microsoft Teams Voice (MSTV) is a leading contender for integration with a cloud-based contact center. MSTV blends voice services with Microsoft Teams to provide cross-organizational collaboration through video and messaging. In addition, Microsoft products integrate well with each other, making it easy to introduce other systems, such as scheduling and storage, into more efficient processes.

Learn more: How CBTS is integrating Hosted UCaaS with Microsoft Teams Voice for improved collaboration

Webex Calling

Webex Calling combines video, cloud calling, video conferencing, and scheduling into a singular platform that utilizes Cisco’s innovative Webex collaboration application.

Learn more: Upgrade to future-proof phone services with Webex Calling

CCaaS portfolio

CBTS contact center solutions utilize best-in-class technology to provide seamless communications with customers.

CXsync

CXsync is a CBTS CCaaS solution. Key features from this self-service platform include a streamlined agent experience, support for omnichannel communications, and an open API infrastructure that makes CXsync ideal for integration with UCaaS and other communication tools.

Learn more: How CXsync is transforming small and midsize businesses through cloud-based contact centers

Five9

Five9 is one of the largest cloud-based contact center providers, with literally billions of minutes of calls each year. Five9 offers a range of platform options, including a blended contact center. With CBTS deployment, Five9 can be fully integrated with Microsoft Teams.

Learn more: Future-proof your contact center with cloud-based tools from Five9 and CBTS

Webex Contact Center

Webex Contact Center is another diverse CCaaS solution that utilizes Cisco infrastructure and features phone, web chat, e-mail, and video conferencing to create rich customer experiences.

The many benefits of integration

There are many compelling reasons to integrate CCaaS and UCaaS tools, especially when working with an integrator like CBTS. They include:

  1. Efficiency. Joining UCaaS and CCaaS in a single solution drastically reduces the time it takes to switch between multiple tabs or applications.
  2. Omnichannel outreach. Cloud-based contact center agents can respond to customer questions at the channel of their choice, whether it be web chat, SMS message, social media instant messenger, e-mail, video, or phone.
  3. End-to-end control. Agents, managers, and admins can view and act on customer communications in each aspect of the communication life cycle—from the initial query through resolution and follow-up—regardless of whether the communication comes from the UCaaS or CCaaS workflow.
  4. Greater visibility of customer data. Integration makes a customer’s history visible for each new agent so they can focus on supporting the customer rather than spend valuable time getting up to speed.
  5. Enhanced collaboration. Agents can quickly route customer communications to the managers or specialists who can rapidly and expertly address their concerns.
  6. Merged analytics. Increase insight into the entire communications system across both UCaaS and CCaaS. Intelligent reporting allows your contact center to spot potential issues and create greater efficiencies in workflows in what were previously siloed operations.
  7. Cost efficiency. A merged communication system means you spend less on individual applications and make predictable monthly OpEx expenditures rather than costly CapEx purchases every few years.
  8. Better customer experience. Unifying CCaaS and UCaaS make for a smoother customer experience by providing agents with the tools to meet customers through various channels. Additionally, automated reminders tell agents when to schedule follow-ups with customers, callbacks, and send surveys.
  9. Focus on innovation. The IT department can turn its efforts toward innovation rather than maintenance by freeing up IT teams from maintaining legacy phone and communication systems.
  10. Integrations with calling tools and third-party applications. A unified CCaaS and UCaaS system makes additional integrations easier to implement. For example, Software as a Service (SaaS) tools such as CRM, project management platforms, and many other applications can have built-in style functionality, which allows agents to access data without clicking away to separate apps. In addition, calling features such as IVR, auto attendants, and voicemail can be incorporated seamlessly into the unified system. Because it is a cloud-based solution, your contact center will have access to cutting-edge technologies like AI and machine learning tools.

The value of an IT solutions partner

Each company and its workflows are unique. That is why a turnkey solution is not ideal for integration. Instead, organizations need white-glove, customizable services finely tuned to your company’s needs. Working with an integrator lets your company craft solutions across platforms to optimize workflow to ensure the best customer experience possible.

With over 20 years of telecommunications experience, CBTS has the knowledge and expertise to serve as an integrator for your company. No matter which cloud-based contact center solution is right for your business, CBTS can streamline your work processes into a unified communications platform that drives customer experience and boosts collaboration across the enterprise.

To learn more about integrating your communications systems, download our e-book UCaaS and CCaaS: Maximize your results with integration. To get started with the integration process, get in touch today.