How to cut costs using Microsoft Teams
Teams can replace other technology in your business and reduce spending.
Microsoft Teams provides many powerful capabilities, some of which could replace existing technologies that are currently paid for by your business.
Teams can not only handle video and voice conference calling but so many other functions that are necessary for today’s remote and hybrid office environments. Because of this, it’s likely that your business could utilize Teams to eliminate costs and improve how you’re operating now. Also, Teams now comes with nearly every Microsoft 365 subscription, so you probably already have it.
Teams quickly gained traction when the pandemic hit because of its video conferencing capabilities. But if you only use it for that feature, you are missing out on many productivity tools and not getting the full value of this powerful product.
But what else can Teams do that you might be missing?
Teams can handle all these essential business needs:
- Video conferencing
- Instant Messaging (Chat)
- Integrate with other Microsoft applications
- Shared file storage and sharing
- Calling capabilities
There are many other capabilities built into Teams, but let’s look closer at each of these.
Video Conference capabilities spawn rapid growth of Teams.
Microsoft Teams was launched in March of 2017, and in November 2019 it had about 20 million users. But by April 2020, 75 million users were on Teams and it now has over 145 million users. Most of this growth was due to the video conferencing capabilities built into Teams that businesses needed to have staff working from home.
Here are some of the features available with Teams video conferencing.
- Up to 1,000 users can join a Teams meeting.
- Microsoft documents from applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are easily accessed and shared in a Teams meeting.
- Screen sharing by meeting participants is simple.
- Users without video capabilities may call into a Teams meeting.
- Meetings can be recorded and saved / shared for future viewing.
- Users can customize their video background.
- Meetings can be operated in Presenter mode for webinars or other presentations.
Microsoft has continued to develop and expand the video conference features in Teams. With all these features and the ease of use of Teams, you can see why so many businesses use it. However, there are so many other features in Teams that often go unused.
For a quick tutorial video of some Teams meeting features, check out this video. If you are paying for a different video conferencing service like Zoom or GoToMeeting, consider saving the cost of that service and use Teams instead.
Teams Chat is a great communications tool for both remote and on-site staff.
Chat capabilities built into Teams are incredibly useful for workers. Whether you are in the office or working from home, Chat allows you to quickly communicate with individuals or groups in your business. Another benefit of Chat is that it reduces the risk of your message being lost in a sea of email messages. Subsequently, this can result in increased efficiency and save you problems caused by missed emails.
There are several useful features on Teams Chat.
- Instantly send a message to an individual or group within your organization
- Attach links or files to an instant message
- Include images or videos in instant messages
- Use emojis to express yourself in Chat
- Review message history quickly in Chat
Chat becomes a virtual office space because it is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. There is even a mobile app that keeps you in the loop when you are traveling. Check out this video to learn how to get started with Teams Chat and improve communications in your business.
Teams seamless integration with other Microsoft applications.
Below are a few examples of the integrations available in Teams.
- You can schedule a Teams meeting and add it to your calendar in the Teams app or in Microsoft Outlook.
- Teams provides access to your Outlook calendar within the Teams app.
- Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint can be opened and used in Teams.
- Recent documents created in Microsoft applications can be located quickly in Teams.
- File can be stored in Teams using Microsoft OneDrive and Microsoft SharePoint. This allows for easy access and sharing of documents and other files.
In addition to these functions, you may find that some users don’t need the desktop version of applications like Word and Excel. Teams has these programs built-in so you could possibly reduce license costs for your business.
Sharing file storage in Teams.
Most Microsoft 365 subscriptions include 1 TB of file storage that is accessible in Teams and the total storage for an organization is combined. For instance, if a business has 10 users with Microsoft 365 subscriptions, they have 10 TB of total storage space on Microsoft OneDrive. Because of this feature, many businesses can eliminate the need for shared storage space on a server. Additionally, Microsoft uses its SharePoint product to add features not available in a simple file and folder storage scenario.
Here are some useful features of using OneDrive and Teams for file storage.
- Access permissions are handled within Teams with only members of Teams being able to access shared files or folders.
- Sharing is simple and offers accessibility controls like restricting the editing of a document.
- Team members can collaborate and work on a document at the same time.
- Documents can be restricted to require being checked out to edit them.
- Version history of documents is provided for restoring documents to earlier versions.
- You may share files and folders with users outside the organization with security rules appropriate for your business.
Are you using services like DropBox to securely share files in your business? Consider utilizing the storage accessible through Teams to eliminate the costs of other file-sharing services.
Microsoft Teams calling capabilities can replace traditional phone systems.
Calling other people within your organization is available in Teams without any extra subscriptions. However, if you want to use Teams for making and receiving outside calls, you’ll need the appropriate plan. Since calls use an internet connection, traditional telephone service can be reduced or eliminated often offsetting the cost.
Teams offers a rich set of calling features:
- Calls can be made from desktop application using a telephone handset, a wired or wireless headset, or a microphone and speakers.
- All common features such as voicemail, call forwarding, call transferring, etc. are included. If you have ever struggled to transfer a call on your current system, you’ll love how easy it is in Teams.
- The Teams mobile app allows for making and receiving calls.
- Voicemails send as an attachment to an email that includes a transcription of the message.
- Traditional-style handsets are available that have the Teams application built in, if you prefer that means of calling.
- Conference room speaker phones are also available for Teams.
- Dial quickly by clicking phone number links found on the internet.
To learn more, check out this video for a quick overview of Teams calling capabilities.
Other Ideas for Reducing Costs Using Microsoft Teams
Using capabilities in Microsoft Teams to eliminate a server.
Many businesses moved to Microsoft 365 initially to eliminate the need for an on-site Exchange email server. While that was a great incentive, there are other ways to reduce hardware needs using Microsoft 365 and Teams.
Microsoft 365 includes online storage space which presents an opportunity to eliminate storage needs for file sharing in your business. Additionally, Teams serves as the interface for people to store, locate, and share files within your business. As a result, you might be able to eliminate any need for on-site storage while keeping everything accessible through Teams.
Some of the cost savings possible in this scenario are:
- Eliminate the need for server hardware and licenses
- No more need for back-up of local storage devices
- Reduced labor costs for management of systems like Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint
Reducing expenses with Microsoft Teams Phones.
Recently we helped a client move to Microsoft Teams for all their calling needs. Because they were able to eliminate several phone service lines, they realized about a 50% reduction in monthly telephone expenses.
Microsoft calling plans cost around $20 per month per user. Because it is licensed per user, the number of calls coming in and going out is not limited by how many phone lines you have. With this in mind, could reducing the number of telephone lines you pay the phone company be a way to lower costs in your business?
A business can often lower expenses using Teams calling plans by eliminating costs for things like:
- Phone line service, taxes, and fees.
- Long distance calling plans.
- Phone system hardware.
- Maintenance costs.
Is your business maximizing the benefits of Microsoft Teams?
Can you reduce or eliminate any of these things in your business using Microsoft Teams?
- Phone lines
- Phone system hardware
- Server hardware and licenses
- Local back-up systems
- Zoom or other video conferencing subscriptions
- DropBox or other File Storage and Sharing Subscriptions
Learn more about Microsoft 365 on our website. You can also contact us today if you need help leveraging the benefits of Microsoft 365, including Microsoft Teams, in your business.