How to use Microsoft Teams for your external IT helpdesk

IT helpdesks are integral to the functioning of an organization. Larger organizations often still have an internal IT support team, but smaller organizations are increasingly outsourcing this service. The maintenance of an external IT service desk is often more affordable. There are also advantages such as 24/7 support, freeing up IT resources to create more value elsewhere, and leveraging the expertise of a much larger staff. But there is one major drawback – the external IT helpdesk is not on-site and not part of the organization’s IT infrastructure. So how can the external IT helpdesk communicate with clients from external organizations and ensure that issues are solved quickly and efficiently? Microsoft Teams in combination with Luware Nimbus offers the solution.

External IT helpdesk with federation

In most cases, both the external IT helpdesk provider as well as the organizations using this service are already using Microsoft Teams for internal communication. Setting up Teams meetings with users outside of your organization can easily be done through an external access. It can even be used to communicate with people from organizations that are still using Skype for Business. However, contacting a service (i.e., a call group) such as the helpdesk on Teams is only possible within the same organization. Of course, if the organization is also using Teams for telephony, the service can be called through its PSTN number, but not only does this lead to additional costs, it also leads to longer connection times and reduces the audio quality. But don’t write off Teams just yet. There is a workaround.

By setting up a dedicated user account that is reachable via federation, calls can automatically be forwarded to the internal service Team. This makes it possible for users from external organizations to search for the IT helpdesk in their Teams client and to interact with the service directly through Teams. With this workaround, Teams can not only be used for the internal helpdesk but the same benefits can be leveraged by an external IT helpdesk.

Figure 1: Use the call answering rules to forward calls from a dedicated user account to an internal service (IT helpdesk)

 

Why you should use Microsoft Teams for your external IT helpdesk

Most skilled employee

Third-party applications such as Luware Nimbus can be used to route calls to your IT helpdesk team rather than to individual users. This helps you manage the workload across your team. Different types of distribution can be used such as routing the user that has been idle for the longest time or to the most skilled user.

All modalities

To deal with overarching issues concerning hardware, security, connectivity, and access, IT helpdesks need access to all communication modalities. Screenshare as well as telephony and video calls are a must. Microsoft Teams offers all of these. The IT helpdesk employee can easily take charge of the user’s screen and perform the necessary actions to get the system to work again.

Easy integrations

Most IT helpdesks have special ticketing tools. With Luware Nimbus, these can easily be integrated into Teams using Power Automate. Automations can also easily be put in place so that a new ticket is automatically created or an existing one opened. Because all the information is centrally managed in Teams, reporting becomes effortless.

Authentication

Using Teams for the IT helpdesk simplifies authentication. Employees are identified through their Teams login. It doesn’t matter where they are calling from – the IT helpdesk will have the necessary information at hand.

Summary

  • Third-party applications like Luware Nimbus let you integrate ticketing tools into Teams as well as route calls to the most skilled member in your IT helpdesk team.
  • Microsoft Teams lets you engage with users outside of your organization in a native-Teams chat
  • A native Teams chat gives the IT helpdesk many opportunities for support across all modalities – voice, video, chat, and screenshare.