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6 Ways to Connect Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex in 2023

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Connect Microsoft Teams and Webex

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6 Ways to Connect Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex in 2023

Connect Microsoft Teams and Webex

For many reasons and in many businesses, we regularly see organizations with instances of both Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex.

This post addresses how businesses got to this situation and highlights the best ways to connect the two platforms together.

Why Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex?

Common reasons for instances of both Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex include:

  • Legacy or current Cisco hardware like telepresence, VoIP handsets, and Cisco Spark boards
  • Microsoft 365 packages offering free Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams licenses
  • Mergers and acquisitions where one company uses Cisco Webex and the other uses Microsoft Teams
  • A new CIO or IT Manager started and implemented their preferred solution
  • You interact with guests from other organizations that use different messaging platforms

Can Microsoft Teams replace Webex?

Microsoft Teams has tons of great features, like grid videos and custom backgrounds. You can integrate your conversations with Microsoft 365 and access direct routing. 

But Microsoft Teams isn’t the right solution for everyone. 

If you try to shift everyone to Microsoft Teams, you risk isolating some of your team members who use Webex.

People who don’t want to stop using their preferred app won’t switch easily. This puts your team at risk of shadow IT and other security issues. 

It’s always better to give your team the freedom to use the tools they prefer. 

If you do need to connect the two together, the next section outline six ways to connect the two platforms together.

1 – Message interoperability for cross-platform messaging

While it would be nice for everyone to choose Microsoft Teams or everyone to choose Webex to send messages, the reality is that it’s highly unlikely this will ever happen.

However, that doesn’t mean everyone must switch between platforms and it doesn’t mean you have to force everyone to use a platform that isn’t their preference.

Instead, message interoperability enables you to send messages from Teams and receive them on Webex (and vice versa).

When you install Mio behind the scenes, you unlock the ability to not only send cross-platform messages but support everything you can do in a standard message.

This includes:

  • Message edits
  • Message threads
  • Message deletions
  • Channel messages
  • Group messages
  • GIFs and emojis
  • File uploads
  • Rich text formatting

So when one user or department prefers Teams but the other uses Webex, you can now connect your two platforms.

See below how a message deleted (or sent, edited, etc.) replicates the same functionality cross-platform.

Microsoft Teams and Webex message interop

The best part is there’s no interruption to the user experience. They keep chatting as if everyone is using the same platform.

There’s no additional app for users to get used to. You simply choose which channels and people you wish to sync and everybody enjoys their preferred messaging app.

So rather than force unwanted migrations or tell people to email each other when they don’t use the same platform, keep everyone chatting in a productive manner.

To start connecting your platforms, visit the Mio website.

2 – Use Cisco devices for Microsoft Teams meetings

You can now join a Microsoft Teams meeting from a Cisco device.

At Microsoft Ignite in October 2022, Cisco and Microsoft announced that several Cisco devices are now Teams-certified.

This means that owners of the following devices will be able to run Cisco devices with Microsoft Teams as the default meeting experience:

  • Cisco Board Pro
  • Cisco Room Bar
  • Cisco Room Kit Pro
  • Cisco Desk Pro
  • Cisco Room Navigator 
  • Cisco Desk Camera 4K
  • Cisco Headset 320
  • Cisco Headset 720

This means that Cisco headsets will be fully supported on Microsoft Teams. All mentioned meeting room equipment will allow Microsoft Teams as the primary option for joining a meeting.

There is no extra charge for running Cisco devices in Teams mode.

In a blog post on the Webex site, Snorre Kjesbu, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Webex Devices at Cisco, said, “The first wave of devices are expected to be certified by early 2023.”

3 – Host Webex meetings in Microsoft Teams

For users that prefer Microsoft Teams for messaging and collaboration, but must use Cisco Webex for meetings, there is the Cisco Webex Meeting app.

This is perfect for running Cisco Webex meetings direct from Microsoft Teams.

The meeting app is also available for Slack, Workplace from Facebook, and Google Calendar.

Webex Meetings for Microsoft Teams

Pros:

a. Schedule and join Cisco Webex meetings without leaving Microsoft Teams.

b. Microsoft Teams users just need to add the Webex Meetings app to their Microsoft Teams app.

c. Simple administration in the Cisco Webex Control Hub.

Cons:

a. The Cisco Webex Meetings app for Microsoft Teams doesn’t support accounts on webex.meetings.com, on meetingsln.webex.com, or on Cisco Webex Meetings Server sites.

b. Limited to Cisco Webex Meeting functionality.

c. Messages, chats, files etc cannot be exchanged via the Webex Meeting app for Microsoft Teams. A meeting must be launched to communicate across platform.

d. Jonathan Dame wrote on SearchUnifedCommunications that customers of both Cisco and Microsoft using the integration have labelled it clumsy, forcing them to consider back to working in silos.

Webex in Microsoft Teams

4- Webex call features in Microsoft Teams

If all you want to do is connect your Microsoft Teams account holders with Cisco Webex calling features, here’s how: 

In April 2020, Cisco announced a new Call App for Microsoft Teams. The app launches calls through Webex technology, even when you click the call button in Microsoft Teams. 

To access this functionality, follow these steps:

  • Verify users have accounts activated in the Webex Control Hub
  • Ensure users are registered to the Cisco Webex Calling or Unified Communications Manager
  • Make sure users have the Webex app
  • Ensure you have Administrator privileges for Microsoft Teams
  • Update phone numbers for users in the Azure Active Directory

With us so far? Great. 

Head over to the Microsoft Teams Admin Center and click Teams Apps followed by Manage apps. You can search for the Webex Call function and toggle the app status to allowed.

Remember to update your permission policies to allow third-party apps too. 

In the Teams apps menu, click on Setup policies and add the Cisco Webex Call app to your Microsoft setup. Users will now be able to click Webex Call at the bottom of a window when chatting in Microsoft Teams.

Webex calling in Microsoft Teams

Or employees can click on the Webex Call function on the left-hand menu bar and just tap in the number of the person they want to call through Webex.

Webex calling in Microsoft Teams

Pros:

  1. Simple way to connect Webex calling functionality with Microsoft Teams
  2. Embedded buttons in Teams make the function easy to use

Cons:

  1. Only works to connect two VoIP calling strategies. You can’t connect your chat messages or file sharing this way. 
  2. Calling opens a new window, which means there are more tabs for users to keep track of.
  3. Only works to add Webex Calling to Microsoft Teams. You can’t add Microsoft calling to Webex instead.

5 – Cisco Webex and Microsoft 365 integration

Cisco recently announced integration between its Webex app and the Microsoft 365 suite.

How do I integrate Webex with Office 365?

Users can access files like apps like SharePoint and OneDrive from within the Webex app.

If your end goal is to use the Microsoft 365 suite within the Webex app, this integration will work just fine.

How do I integrate a Webex team with Outlook?

Go to your Cisco Webex admin Settings. 

Click on Outlook then Outlook settings. You’ll have the option to Connect to Outlook. Choose Yes and hit the Save button. 

Having more than one app integrated with Outlook sometimes causes problems with Webex. Before you integrate Webex and Outlook, you’ll have to unregister other tools. This includes removing Skype for Business connections. 

Once your Outlook integration is ready, you can see the status of Webex contacts in Outlook. 

Pros:

a. Users no longer have to leave their Webex app if they use Microsoft 365 for productivity tools like Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Word.

b. You can benefit from Microsoft Teams governance and data privacy from Microsoft 365 whilst never leaving your Webex app.

c. Share content created in Microsoft apps in Cisco Webex spaces.

Cons:

a. This integration is available for multiple Microsoft apps, but not Microsoft Teams.

b. If you’re a Webex for Web user, you can only view these types of files, but not make any changes to them.

The Cisco Webex and Microsoft 365 integration is great for users that are happy to live in Webex – but it doesn’t take into account users that prefer Microsoft Teams for collaboration.

6 – Bot integration for Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex

If This Then That (IFTTT) helps apps and devices work together.

There are examples of IFTTT working in homes and businesses alike.

When rules are set for one app or device to do something based on the behavior of another app of device, these are called recipes.

From common scenarios like turning up the heating in your home when the temperature drops below a certain threshold to syncing your Instagram and Dropbox account, recipes come in all shapes and sizes.

IFTTT example

When setting recipes for both Microsoft and Cisco, this typically includes what happens on Microsoft Teams when a message is posted in Webex.

For this scenario, a Webex users sends a message and the bot in Microsoft Teams gets a notification.

Pros:

a. Bot integrations come with many pre-built recipes to choose from across a range of apps and devices.

b. Familiar look and feel to consumer IFTTT apps.

c. Options to add your own customized recipes.

Cons:

a. Administration time can be lengthy as scenarios have to be set up one-by-one.

b. When new users are added, administrators must build new recipes.

c. Functionality across platforms is limited.

d. Cross platform experience is not seamless. Notifications are received in a bot rather than native to a chat, space or direct message etc.

Bot integration for Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams

You may like: Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex: The Best of Both Worlds

3 – Host Webex meetings in Microsoft Teams

For users that prefer Microsoft Teams for messaging and collaboration, but must use Cisco Webex for meetings, there is the Cisco Webex Meeting app.

This is perfect for running Cisco Webex meetings direct from Microsoft Teams.

The meeting app is also available for Slack, Workplace from Facebook, and Google Calendar.

Webex Meetings for Microsoft Teams

Pros:

a. Schedule and join Cisco Webex meetings without leaving Microsoft Teams.

b. Microsoft Teams users just need to add the Webex Meetings app to their Microsoft Teams app.

c. Simple administration in the Cisco Webex Control Hub.

Cons:

a. The Cisco Webex Meetings app for Microsoft Teams doesn’t support accounts on webex.meetings.com, on meetingsln.webex.com, or on Cisco Webex Meetings Server sites.

b. Limited to Cisco Webex Meeting functionality.

c. Messages, chats, files etc cannot be exchanged via the Webex Meeting app for Microsoft Teams. A meeting must be launched to communicate across platform.

d. Jonathan Dame wrote on SearchUnifedCommunications that customers of both Cisco and Microsoft using the integration have labelled it clumsy, forcing them to consider back to working in silos.

Webex in Microsoft Teams

Conclusion

While some collaboration platforms battle it out to steal users from one another, Microsoft and Cisco have enabled plenty of options for connecting their two platforms together.

As we move towards a crucial era for digital collaboration, it’s refreshing to see so many options for connecting Microsoft Teams and Webex.

Read Next: The Impact Webex Interoperability Has On Users [And Partners]

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