Remote working has been on the rise for some time, but the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this trend. A recent poll of legal administrators found that 91% believe these changes in working practices will become permanent. Large national and international law firms like Husch Blackwell and Dentons have recently announced office closures, with staff working from home permanently. Great communication has always been at the heart of successful firms, and in the new normal, having the right technology to support effective collaboration has never been more important.
The growth of Microsoft Teams as a cloud telephony solution
In the last few months we’ve seen rapid growth in the use of Microsoft Teams, with daily active users rising by 70% to 75 million. At present it is used mainly for internal collaboration, with few firms using Teams for external communication. However, this is expected to change over the next two years.
Microsoft’s Phone System turns Teams into a full enterprise telephony solution. Users can make and receive external calls directly from Teams on any device from anywhere in the world. Microsoft’s own Calling Plans offer a quick and easy way for smaller firms to connect to the PSTN network, but larger firms typically use a third-party managed service provider. This approach, called ‘Direct Routing’, offers greater flexibility, wider geographic coverage, lower rates and increased levels of support. Industry analysts forecast that by 2022, as many as 90% of large enterprises using Teams will use Direct Routing to for PSTN connectivity.
Cloud telephony benefits for IT teams and users
While large enterprises typically maintain a consistent set of IT solutions for all users globally, telephony is often the exception. It’s common to find a disparate range of PBX equipment across offices, and a different carrier in each country. By moving telephony into the cloud, law firms can standardise their approach across all offices, leading to reduced complexity and cost, and improved control, flexibility and compliance. Specific benefits include:
- A single telephony platform with a consistent experience for all users globally – improving compliance and reliability, and allowing training and support to be centralised
- On-premises PBX equipment is eliminated – reducing complexity and cost by moving infrastructure into the cloud
- Local carriers can be replaced with a single managed service provider – reducing the number of vendor relationships and creating economies of scale
- No charges for internal calls between global offices or call forwarding – because these calls stay on-net, rather than breaking out to the PSTN network
- Users can be added, removed and managed centrally – increasing flexibility and security, and creating global data on usage and cost
By using Teams for voice calling, users are able to communicate and collaborate more effectively when working remotely. Specific benefits include:
- Making and receiving voice calls using Teams on any device from anywhere – this gives users the flexibility to stay connected while working from home, on the move, or hot-desking, for example
- A consistent user experience for external and internal communications - external phone calls can be made from the same Teams interface used for chat, internal meetings, file-sharing and other cloud services
- Existing direct-dial phone numbers can be retained – with number porting permitted in most major markets, users can keep the phone number associated with their existing desk phone when they move their voice calling to Teams
A fully managed cloud telephony solution for law firms
LoopUp offers a fully managed global cloud communication solution for law firms. We use Direct Routing to connect Teams users to our global voice network, allowing them to make and receive external calls. Our solution is delivered as a fully managed service with 24/7 multi-lingual support and local account management from 15 offices worldwide.
Our global voice network – built over the last 15 years for the stringent demands of professional services clients – integrates 13 tier-1 regional carriers from around the world over a resilient backbone. This allows real-time carrier selection and redundancy to optimise call quality, reliability and cost for customers. We provide number porting and management in all countries where this is possible, allowing users to retain their existing phone numbers.
LoopUp - a certified Microsoft Gold partner - has provided Microsoft voice solutions since 2010, working with OCS, Lync, Skype for Business and now Teams. We are a trusted provider to more than 5,000 enterprises worldwide, including 20 of the top-100 global law firms. Our global cloud communication service includes our premium solution for external remote meetings, used by law firms around the world. This can be fully integrated with Teams, or used as a standalone solution.