5 Ways to Connect Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex in 2021
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.
Note: On February 16, 2021, from 12 pm to 1 pm EST, Mio CEO, Tom Hadfield, is running a webinar introducing best practices for bridging Webex and Microsoft Teams. Reserve your seat here.
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
- 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 five ways to connect the two platforms together.
1- 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.
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.
- Simple way to connect Webex calling functionality with Microsoft Teams
- Embedded buttons in Teams make the function easy to use
- Only works to connect two VoIP calling strategies. You can’t connect your chat messages or file sharing this way.
- Calling opens a new window, which means there are more tabs for users to keep track of.
- Only works to add Webex Calling to Microsoft Teams. You can’t add Microsoft calling to Webex instead.
2 – 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.
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 data governance and data privacy from Microsoft 365 whilst never leaving your Webex app.
c. Share content created in Microsoft apps in Cisco Webex spaces.
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
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.
3 – 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.
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.
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.
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.
4 – 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.
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.
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.
5 – External federation for connecting with guests on different platforms
Do you communicate with people outside your organization?
Do they use apps other than Microsoft Teams?
If the answer is yes to both of these questions, according to research, Cisco Webex is one of the most favored.
When this is the case, it becomes extremely unproductive moving out of Teams, into your external contact’s choice of app, and starting the conversation again.
Or even worse, end up resorting to email like it’s the 90s. (Okay, email has a purpose but you get the point).
That’s why Mio has created universal channels for Microsoft Teams with Webex…
You can stay in Teams and send messages to your contractors, suppliers, or clients that use Webex.
They stay in their platform too and Mio translates the messages across platform.
And it’s not just messages that are supported! GIFs, emojis, channels, DMs, and message edits/deletes are all supported.
If this sounds like something you need, install into either Microsoft Teams or Webex.
You choose which platform you use and your external contacts choose theirs.
If you’d like to learn more about enabling cross-platform messaging, join our Webex and Microsoft Teams interoperability webinar on February 16th at 12pm ET.