City of Damme increases its accessibility by using Teams

Published on 15/12/2022 in Customer Stories

City of Damme increases its accessibility by using Teams

City of Damme staff call with Teams. This allows them to manage their accessibility more efficiently while taking the service to citizens to a higher level.

The City of Damme and its five boroughs have a combined population of about 11,000. Damme's communications service adopted Microsoft Teams as early as 2017. The application was, after all, already included in Office 365.

Telephone accessibility remains essential for our services to citizens and businesses.

Pieter Eerebout, ICT and GIS coordinator at the City of Damme

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Microsoft Teams as a central hub

"The communications department already had experience with SharePoint, so the move to Teams was easy," says Pieter. "The chat function especially was quickly a favorite." The use of Teams then expanded step-by-step to the other of the city’s services.

During the pandemic, meeting via Teams quickly become the norm. "When Covid meant that we had to switch to working from home, a lot of the administrative staff were already familiar with Teams," Pieter explains. Today, Teams is the central hub for communication and collaboration among colleagues.

Microsoft Teams is future-proofed

Meanwhile, the City of Damme has also integrated its telephony into Teams, not only internally within its own organization but also externally.

"We had separate telephone exchanges for each of our five sites. They were coming up for replacement," says Pieter. The City of Damme compared the offers of different suppliers. In that process, Proximus' Teams telephony solution emerged as the most forward-looking.

"Proximus advised us to not purely focus on our current needs, but to look five years ahead," says Pieter.

Fully-fledged telephony solution

Proximus prepared the implementation with its Teams Readiness Track: a vetting process that maps the existing environment and then matches the needs of the business with the right technology applications.

Based on that exercise, Teams emerged as a technologically modern telephony solution offering a lot of opportunities for expansion in the coming years.

"A real advantage was that our staff were familiar with it," says Pieter. There are now 80 administrative staff using Teams as a full-fledged telephony solution.

Always reachable on a single number

Telephony via Teams offers the employees at the City of Damme a great deal of new possibilities.

"The old-school landline phone is gone," says Pieter. It has been replaced with headsets. Telephone calls are made via software on the desktop, laptop or smartphone.

"The great advantage is that with Teams, you can always be reached on the same number, regardless of the device you are currently working with or the location you are in. All you need is a fixed or mobile Internet connection."

With Teams, you can always be reached on the same number, regardless of the device you are currently working with or the location you are in.

Pieter Eerebout, ICT and GIS coordinator at the City of Damme

Total control over incoming calls

With Teams, managing incoming calls is easy. "You decide what happens to calls you don't answer. You can forward them to voicemail, to a colleague, a call group, a queue, and so on."

This also makes sure that no calls are lost. As an employee, you also manage your accessibility yourself, via your presence status."

Efficient and flexible services

"Telephone accessibility is very important for local authorities," says Pieter. "It remains essential for providing services to citizens and businesses."

Through Teams, the City of Damme can handle incoming calls more efficiently. "Forwarding to a home worker, for example, is no problem at all in Teams. You can also easily add additional participants to a conversation."

Smooth implementation and training by Proximus

"Thanks to Proximus' training and documentation, we can do a lot ourselves, such as creating dynamic choice menus or emergency numbers. By using text-to-speech, we can even have the system read out written messages."

Meanwhile, Microsoft Teams continues to evolve rapidly. "Our partnership with Proximus gives us quick access to these new opportunities," concludes Pieter. "Among other things, we are now looking at how we can equip our meeting rooms too with Teams clients."

Three benefits of Microsoft Teams Telephony

  1. Supports place- and time-independent working, i.e. hybrid working.
  2. Increase reachability of remote workers by integrating landline telephony with Teams.
  3. Predictable costs: fixed price per month for telephony.

Proximus Teams Readiness Track in four steps

  1. Landscaping: presentation of Microsoft Teams' capabilities to subsequently capture business needs
  2. Business assessment: checking business needs against Teams capabilities
  3. Technical assessment: checking the existing technical environment against the set requirements
  4. Migration: scenario of the effective transition to Teams Telephony is defined in a plan of action.

Pieter Eerebout is ICT and GIS coordinator at Stad Damme.

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