Imagine being on the bridge of the Mediterranean Shipping Company's Gulsun. It's one of the world's largest container ships, larger than four football pitches, and at 400m in length, it's longer than the Empire State Building is tall. MSC is a world leader in container shipping, delivering more than 10 million containers of goods each year to communities, customers, and international business partners around the globe. And its sheer volume of transactions demands robust communications.

Container ships can't turn on a dime, but to stay successful, companies like MSC need to see potential obstacles and respond rapidly. As part of their technology strategy to address this, they use collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams to bring employees together, stay on top of tight schedules, and respond to shifting customer needs.

As more businesses deploy Microsoft Teams, we've found they increasingly look for ways to bridge internal and external communications while improving productivity. To learn more, we polled 500 ITDMs across the UK and USA, and the trends offer strong evidence that the transition to Teams has potential, but several trends are frustrating their attempts:

Trend 1: A strong majority of companies want more comprehensive communications features with Teams.

US organizations are significantly more interested in global telephony capabilities (87 percent) than UK organizations (80 percent). While Teams offers standard calling capabilities, advanced telephony functions with international calling plans are limited, which means many ITDMs consider complimentary voice calling solutions.

Thinking about MSC, real-time communications and a strong local telephony presence are essential. That's why they use 8x8 integrated with Teams to communicate with different agencies and partners globally, to secure efficient transport of cargo to their destinations.

Trend 2: More than three-quarters of organizations are likely to integrate Microsoft Teams with 3rd party telephony providers.

80% of organizations would integrate Microsoft Teams with their current or another 3rd party telephony provider. And 92% would expect the 3rd party telephony provider to offer additional IT administration capabilities for voice services. The lesson is clear: Organizations are clamoring for direct routing services that integrate fully into the native Teams experience.

For MSC, it's vital to have local and national numbers and calling services across all international operations. With 8x8, MSC agents can connect a client in Malta, a sales manager in Chile, and a rail operator in Malaysia. They can now call from Teams to discuss transport routes, delivery lead times, or status of shipments.

Trend 3: ITDMs highly value their organization's unified communication strategy.

Interestingly, ITDMs universally agree that CRM systems (93%) and existing business apps (92%) are a part of their organization's unified comms strategy and that both are very likely to be integrated with Microsoft Teams (CRM-94%, existing business apps-92%). ITDMs need to ensure that the Teams voice communications experience remains intact when moving to the CRM or business apps.

MSC's approach to unified communications centers on streamlining IT workflows. They incorporated telephony with Teams collaboration to advance employee productivity, eliminate communications gaps, cut infrastructure costs, and simplify user management.

Trend 4: Data analytics and reporting can offer a better understanding of usage patterns and identify new opportunities.

Over 85 percent of larger organizations are significantly more interested in granular analytics for voice communications in Teams than smaller organizations.

Complementary analytics reporting that includes speech and sentiment analysis can support MSC's business decisions, which, in turn, leads to smarter business moves, more efficient operations, and happier customers internationally across 155 countries.

Trend 5: Microsoft Teams is easy to use as an organization's contact center.

Almost all organizations used Microsoft Teams as their contact center (90%), but larger organizations are significantly more likely to not use Teams as their contact center (10%). Of those that do not use Teams as their contact center, two-thirds utilize an on-premises contact center (64%).

In contrast, MSC is embracing cloud contact center so that agents can use Teams to collaborate internally, and connect faster using 8x8 to answer customer queries and stay ahead of changing customer expectations.

See how 8x8 Voice for Microsoft Teams is ahead of the curve.

Join me on a weekly live demo to learn more about 8x8 Voice for Microsoft Teams, and how it can add additional value to your organization. Come and be part of this webcast with industry experts explaining the best approach to create a true communications hub within Microsoft Teams.