Microsoft Teams Voice

Microsoft Teams Voice

What is Microsoft Teams Voice?

Microsoft Teams, a tool to support in-office or remote messaging, meetings, video conferencing, screen sharing, and collaboration, was introduced Statewide in 2020 to support remote work needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams Voice extends the existing features to provide incoming and outgoing calling using existing State phone numbers. Adding this functionality in Teams will continue to drive the State’s strategic focus on supporting secure, functional, and practical remote work.


This project will include a complete replacement for the aging Cisco phone system at the State, and the Teams system touts the same features and functions, plus more. The transition will impact all Cisco phone lines currently in use, including personal lines, conference rooms, shared phones, and department/division main lines.

What are the key benefits? 

  • Staff has access to their business phone number and any other State phone numbers they monitor by logging into their Microsoft Office 365 account on any secured device, from anywhere. 
  • Microsoft is aggressively improving this secure, cloud-based solution. New features are rolled out seamlessly with no hardware upgrades, keeping the State on the cutting edge at no additional cost. 
  • The solution drives the State’s scalable remote work strategy and provides a platform to support functional, secure, and effective remote work.

Example Day in the Life:

What is the timeline? 

March 2022 is the targeted time frame for all ~13,000 Cisco phone lines to be migrated to Teams Voice. The project team is in the early phases of discovery and scheduling. Updates to follow.  

                      

The Implementation Process 

The Office of Information Technology will work with Department Technology Officers and Administrative Services Directors to validate all Cisco phone numbers for transition. The following are Teams Phone implementation activities departments will be involved in: 

  • Project Kickoff Meeting 
  • Formation of Department Project Teams  
  • Collection/Validation of Phone Configuration Data
  • Assessment of Site Infrastructure
  • Scheduling of Individual Sites for Transition
  • Awareness and Training – Comprehensive Awareness and Training to be Provided for all Impacted Staff
  • Day of Transition for Each Site
  • Retrospective Review of Each Transition
  • Transition to Operational Support by OIT
  • Project Close and Success Validation

Stay tuned for project updates!

Frequently Asked Questions

Teams Voice Training Materials (videos, user guides, etc.) are available on the Cisco to Teams Voice Transition Sharepoint Site.

Teams Voice will work with existing headsets. OIT will offer Teams certified headsets for those that don’t have appropriate headsets or a desk phone or conference room phone where required, based on business requirements.

New devices for new employees (post our deployment window allocation) will be the responsibility of the department.
OIT will provide SKUs and a contract vehicle for procurement. OIT Telecom will need to review purchase requests to ensure they meet devices standards but will not be purchasing on the department’s behalf. This is the same process that we are currently requesting customers follow with the Cisco phone system.

If supplied by OIT, broken desk phone devices will be OIT’s responsibility to replace. This is identical to the current OIT process with the legacy Cisco phone system.

The cost for any devices that a department should wish to procure, outside of OIT provided devices, will remain with the department.
By default, if an employee does not have an existing headset, a wired headset will be provided to them. Other offered devices will be provided, based on business justification.

Using your current headset with Teams voice is encouraged.

Teams Voice is not compatible with every desk phone. If a desk phone is required, based on business need, OIT will offer a Teams Certified replacement.

Voicemails in the new Teams Phone system, as well as the old Cisco phone system, whether in audio file or transcribed format, may be subject to disclosure in response to a discovery request in litigation or to a request under the Alaska Public Records Act. LAW should be consulted regarding specific use cases.

A softphone is software that enables employees to make and receive telephone calls over the internet from a computer with a compatible headset. Use of the Teams softphone is a great option for remote work as well as the preferred replacement for a traditional desk phone in the office.

OIT recommends leveraging existing headsets for Teams Voice. If required, a Teams certified, wired headset will be supplied by OIT or a desk phone will be deployed as required by specific job function or use case based on business requirements. Shared phones, conference room, lobby and public phones will be supplied, configured and set up by OIT.

User experience is superior when using the desktop application or softphone. Softphone allows the user to access all applications, manage calls, meetings, and file collaboration from one place while providing the best call quality and user functionality. Use of the softphone, especially paired with the mobile application allows for secure, remote, or in-office work.

Department staff may continue to leverage existing headsets or speakerphones with Teams Voice. If a user does not have a device, one will be provided to them. By default, a wired headset will be provided to staff who require a device. Requests for wireless bluetooth headsets or desk phones will require a business justification.

Device decisions are being made by department leaders, and you'll be notified a few weeks prior to your transition. Stay tuned and be sure to check all emails that come from TeamsVoiceDeployment@alaska.gov.

 

Department staff may continue to leverage existing headsets or speakerphones with Teams Voice. If a user does not have a device, one will be provided to them. By default, a wired headset will be provided to staff who require a device.

The two headset models offered by OIT are below. The determination of which headset is offered to users in departments will be based on business requirements (provided by department leaders):

Poly Voyager 4220 USB (Bluetooth) – This headset requires a business justification, made by department leaders

 



Plantronics BlackWire 3315 (wired)

 

Department staff may continue to leverage existing headsets or speakerphones with Teams Voice. If a user does not have a device, one will be provided to them. By default, a wired headset will be provided to staff who require a device. Requests for wireless ‘bluetooth’ headsets or desk phones will require a business justification (provided by department leaders).

Shared phones, conference room, lobby and public phones will be supplied, configured, and set up by OIT.

Teams Certified Desk Phones:

Poly CCX 400 (Small conference rooms, bobby, break rooms, etc.)



Poly C60 (Large Conference Room - 20+ participants)

Poly CCX 500 (Solo phone line – by use case exception and requires a business justification)

CCX 600 (by use case exception and requires a business justification)

OIT will support troubleshooting on the Poly Sync 20+ Speakerphone.

This device must be procured by the Department.  Alternate device costs and training on use will be the responsibility of the department.

If other alternate devices are purchased by a department, support will be the responsibility of the department. OIT strongly advises that any alternate devices purchased be Microsoft Teams Certified.

New devices for new employees (post our deployment window allocation) will be the responsibility of the department. OIT will provide SKUs and a contract vehicle for procurement. OIT Telecom will need to review purchase requests to ensure they meet device standards but will not be purchasing on the department’s behalf. This is the same process that we are currently requesting customers follow with the Cisco phone system.

Broken desk phone devices will be OIT’s responsibility to replace, if provided as a part of the Teams Voice Project. This is identical to the current OIT process with the legacy Cisco phone system.

911 calls placed from work sites will be routed automatically. Where there is no connectivity, staff will be advised in training to place a call via a personal cell phone or traditional land line.

Users can leverage the free Teams mobile app on cell phones. You can make/take calls with your cell phone/work cell phone using your work number. Additionally, you can send instant messages, attend meetings, and collaborate on content using the Teams mobile application.
In addition, other phones onsite may be working if a single computer is out of service vs. the entire network.

Not at this time. The request will be made known to Microsoft and SOA’s partner, AudioCodes. Project Engineers will discuss options/requirements for your department/sites during departmental validation/discovery. Stay tuned for more information by end of 2021.

There is an option for site survivability (called Survivable Branch Appliances) for business requirements where local trunks are required. Project Engineers will discuss options/requirements for your department/sites during departmental discovery.

OIT and SPS will provide user troubleshooting and support. IT help tickets will go through AlaskaNow. For CED staff, please use Track-It.

Users can leverage the free Teams mobile app on cell phones. You can make/take calls with your cell phone/work cell phone using your work number. Additionally, you can send instant messages, attend meetings, and collaborate on content using the Teams mobile application.
In addition, other phones onsite may be working if a single computer is out of service vs. the entire network.

Teams can be provisioned in several ways that allow a single number to be answered by multiple staff. Teams can support group calling, call queues, call forwarding, delegation, simultaneous ring and so many more features. Configuration of existing call queues, call groups, or other special phone functions will be captured during site validation/discovery and will be configured and preserved by our technical engineers.

Speech to text transcription may be poor if the quality of the call from the caller’s side and/or caller’s enunciation is poor.

Teams voice features closed captioning for calls and meetings, as well as TTY functionality.

Yes! It is easy to assign delegates to enable someone else to make and receive calls on your behalf. From either your profile picture or your initials, access Settings. From General settings, select Manage delegates.

  • Click on the second tab, Your delegates. From here you can manage the individuals that support your calls by adding/removing delegates, as needed.

Teams can support group calling, call queues, call forwarding, delegation, simultaneous ring and so many more features. Configuration of call queues, call groups, or other special phone functions will be documented during site validation/discovery and preserved in Teams.

Microsoft’s track record for ensuring Teams is online and operating properly is at 99.98% for the last 4 years. Microsoft’s commitment to excellent service, quality, and swift attention to any system issues can all be reviewed in their Service Health and Continuity Page. You can check this page out for more details on how Microsoft has created a strong, resilient phone system for the State.

It is true that making calls on Teams requires an internet connection. If you are receiving a notification about poor connection, consider some of the following actions. If you are working in a State office, you can call OIT to check on the State’s network. If you are working remotely, try the following:
• Turn off video (outgoing/incoming) to reduce the bandwidth required for the call.
• When possible, connect your device through an ethernet connection versus Wi-Fi.
• Attempt a different internet connection if available.

It is best to use a non-Teams phone whenever possible to place an emergency call.
• A landline is the best option.
• A cell phone is the next best option.
If you do place an emergency call in Teams, provide your precise location information immediately to dispatch. Efforts will be made to provide the most specific location information possible on your behalf, but this may not be accurate in all situations.

Stipends for using personal cell phones to receive Teams calls should follow the Department Justification and Approval process. Please review AAM 320.340, as well as related request forms for more information. Using the Teams Mobile Application is optional but recommended for the most flexibility.

This is dependent upon the regulations and requirements of the department. Generally yes, when a staff member leaves the organization, the direct supervisor of the staff member receives delegated access to the leaving staff’s account.

Voicemails in the new Teams Phone system, as well as the old Cisco phone system, whether in audio file or transcribed format, may be subject to disclosure in response to a discovery request in litigation or to a request under the Alaska Public Records Act. LAW should be consulted regarding specific use cases.

A contact center specialist from Enabling Technologies will meet with all contact center managers and leaders from groups who leverage the Genesis and Cisco Systems. This specialist will gather business requirements that will be used to write an RFP for a new system before the end of 2021. Please stay tuned for more details.

Yes! Please notify OIT of those dates and please make sure the department/division/site contact delegates communicate directly to the Analyst conducting on site/virtual interviews.

If you have an existing headset, you may be enabled for Teams Voice using your existing headset. If you don’t have a headset, a wired headset will be provided to you 1-2 weeks prior to your transition to Teams Voice. Department leaders are making device decisions and you will be notified in the weeks prior to your transition.

Yes, you will need to set up your voicemail and choose how you would like to have your voicemail configured. You can either record a traditional greeting, or type a greeting for the Teams system to share on your behalf. If you don’t set up your voicemail, you will still receive voice messages, but it is recommended to personalize your greeting. You can access additional information about voicemail set up and Day 1 activities at the Cisco to Teams Voice resource site, or by clicking this link to access the Day 1 Guide. (Click here for CED)

No, Cisco call history will not be transferred during the deployment process. If you need to recover phone numbers from your Cisco call history, please do so before 6pm on the day before your deployment. However, any previous calls made using Teams (calling other state employees) will be retained.

Yes! Any lines on the Cisco phone system will be converted to Teams. If you answer your own State line and manage a shared line or a hotline, those calls will be pre-configured to ring to you when Teams Voice is live. You’ll know the difference between the two types of calls in the call notification. Calls for you will come through with caller id only, calls for the other line you manage will include a header, with the name of the line you manage. This header will indicate that you are answering a call for that shared line, vs. your personal State phone number.

Note: Many people have multiple softphone personal lines. Teams allows only one personal line. If needed the other line can be configured as a shared line.

Yes, phone numbers are based on Position/PCN number, same as with today's protocol.

The cord for the new wired headset is 7.4 feet, which is great because even though it's corded, it's long enough to provide some added mobility to move around your work area as needed.

We will be placing Teams compatible desk phones in the areas where the Cisco phones exist today. Additionally, even if there is not a computer there but an existing phone, we will place a shared desk phone there as well. These shared phones will be logged into a phone account, but not tied to any individual. This will ensure you have the same ability to make and receive calls that you today.

As we get closer to migrating these areas, more information will be shared.

Do You Have Additional Questions?

Submit new questions by clicking here and completing the form. Responses will be sent weekly for the duration of the project.

Project Manager: John Natteford

Wostmann & Associates          |          Project Lead          |          john.natteford@alaska.gov

We are here to assit you. Feel free to reach out.

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