Skip to main content
UNUM logo

Operating in the insurance industry where responsive customer service is critical, American Fortune 500 insurance company Unum relies heavily on Microsoft Teams not only to communicate internally but also with external partners. Teams also helps Unum serve customers more efficiently – it is the key live escalation tool for agents on customer calls, with agents using the chat and calling features to gather information, ask questions or seek approvals needed to resolve issues for customers. As employees began to return to the office after working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a significant increase in the number of employees using video in meetings, a habit developed to support remote work. When employees began to experience Microsoft Teams issues, Unum’s IT team needed greater insight into the many factors that impacted call and chat quality, to ensure these vital communication lines worked when they were needed most.

The Challenge

Like many companies, Unum moved their entire workforce home virtually overnight in 2020 due to COVID-19. During that time they saw a significant increase in Teams adoption and the use of video in meetings. As Unum’s employees began to return to the office with a new standard of meeting, they would see intermittent issues of video freezing, calls being placed on hold while Teams tried to reconnect, and delays in the client connecting. In one particular case, there were a series of tickets in which Teams functionality was impacted at the start of the business day with call and chat quality issues, and intermittent performance and connection issues throughout the day. After several tickets were raised, Joshua Snipes, an Engineer on the Collaborative Technologies team began to look at the issue. While they had several tools that could provide surface information, none could offer a definitive answer as to what was causing the issues and who exactly was affected.

“The Microsoft CQD with Power BI has a lot of great data that confirmed we had a problem in our Portland, Maine office, but it was hard to filter out the noise and took a long time to parse through data. We were bouncing between four to five different tools to try and piece together what was causing the problem and still could not get the answers we needed to fix it.”

Joshua Snipes, Unum Engineer on the Collaborative Technologies Team

Employees were returning to the office, working differently than they were prior to moving to remote work during the pandemic and Unum’s Collaborative Technologies team wanted to ensure that all of their technology worked seamlessly. They quickly learned that 95% of the time, Microsoft Teams issues were a symptom of a deeper issue. If an end user opened an incident ticket for poor call quality, was the cause of Teams itself? Jitter? A non-approved headset causing an issue? Unum needed a tool that could give them actionable data that they could take to other IT teams like network, desktop engineering, or security to get issues resolved.

The Solution

After watching a session at Microsoft Ignite, Mr. Snipes learned about Vantage DX, the Microsoft-recommended monitoring solution for Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365. He was soon trialing the product and Vantage DX identified the source of the Microsoft Teams issue at the Portland location. This location was setup with local egress straight to the public internet. By observing what routes the Microsoft Teams call traffic was taking with Vantage DX, Mr. Snipes and his team were able to detect that traffic was not flowing through the firewall optimally.

According to Mr. Snipes, Vantage DX gave Unum a single pane of glass to find the source of Microsoft Teams problems faster, which has had a significant impact on their insurance business: “With more than a hundred thousand meetings and 20 million meeting minutes on average monthly, there is a material disruption to productivity when 3,000 users cannot properly use Microsoft Teams. Intermittent performance issues caused our users to stop logging tickets and since we rely on Teams to serve customers, there was a real impact to customer service and employee productivity, not to mention the many hours IT spent trying to find the source of the problem. None of the tools we already had could quickly and definitively identify what was causing the problem, but Vantage DX told us immediately – a fast return on investment.”

Teams single pane of glass solutions


Asked how Vantage DX helped him, Mr. Snipes jokes that he is no longer ‘pulling his hair out all day long!’. Offering his perspective on how Vantage DX has impacted IT operations and the business, he notes a shift in perception on the part of management:

“Our leadership now comes to us for answers when there are Microsoft Teams issues – for example, on a recent company-wide live event, there was a glitch and Vantage DX picked up on it, pointing us to the issue: a network hop that was outside of the Unum network on the carrier side. In the past, there was an assumption that since this was a cloud service, IT wouldn’t be able to provide answers. Today, we can not only answer these questions but demonstrate the stability we are providing with 99.9% uptime of Microsoft Teams.”

Joshua Snipes, Unum Engineer on the Collaborative Technologies Team

Vantage DX didn’t just help them more rapidly fix issues as they came up, it highlighted what they needed to do to prevent problems in the future. It has also acted as a ‘single source of truth’ to confirm the cause of performance issues or identify when rolling out something new has impacted Teams performance. This has made resolving these problems faster when the security or network teams need to be involved.

Problems like the one that Unum experienced can result in losses that most businesses don’t realize. Research shows that approximately 3% of Microsoft Teams calls are poor or fail each day, with the vast majority caused by issues in the IT and network infrastructure. In the case of Unum, with hundreds of thousands of Teams meetings each month this could mean 6,000 disrupted meetings and more than 3,000 hours of lost productivity every month (assuming 30-minute meetings). Learn more in Hidden Losses: The ROI of Insight into Microsoft Teams User Experience.

Microsoft Teams is evolving to become the hub of business communication and collaboration for Unum, with plans to integrate ServiceNow, Workday, and other applications. As Unum’s employees come back to the office, they are using video in ways they didn’t prior to the pandemic and the company now has 190 Microsoft Teams Rooms (MTR) to support hybrid meetings. While MTRs can be challenging to manage, Vantage DX makes the job much easier: “Vantage DX has made it significantly easier for us to monitor all of our Teams Rooms. Instead of having to use five different tools to monitor different aspects of the rooms we now have a ‘single pane of glass’ to monitor them”, said Mr. Snipes. “The ability to correlate issues and root causes from a single platform showing us device and peripheral health, Room call quality, Teams service health from Microsoft, and license status all in one location is huge. The icing on the cake is that Vantage DX can generate alerting – no more blowing up your inbox with alerts coming from multiple different sources.” Having deployed Vantage DX, Mr. Snipes feels better prepared for the continued expansion of Microsoft Teams.

About Unum

Unum is an American Fortune 500 insurance company headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The top disability insurer in both the United States and United Kingdom, Unum also offers other insurance products including accident, critical illness and life insurance. Its insurance products protect 39 million people worldwide with 182,000 businesses in the US and UK providing their employees with benefits from Unum. Unum is a distributed global organization with a hybrid workforce of 14,000 employees.

Teams call


15 Alerts to Track Microsoft Teams Call Quality

15 Alerts to Track Microsoft Teams Call Quality

When Teams performance dips you need to know when an issue has occurred, what is the root cause and who is responsible.

Download eBook
Martello Masterclass Series 1

Troubleshooting Microsoft Teams: The Network

Troubleshooting Microsoft Teams audio and video? Catch our webinar that dives into the impact the network has on Teams performance.

Register Today!

Deliver a smooth Microsoft Teams quality of service, on every call.

Return to top