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Hybrid work has fundamentally changed how people communicate and collaborate. Organizations are now tasked with equipping employees with what they need to remain productive – regardless of where they work.
However, many organizations still don't have a telephony solution for hybrid work. They rely instead on a patchwork of phone systems and platforms – including a mix of plain old telephone services (POTS), Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), PBXs, or other hosted/integrated voice providers.
Not only do these solutions lack flexibility, but they also require dedicated support from a separate IT organization. This means wasted time and effort.
The Revolution: Microsoft Teams Phone
The Microsoft Teams Phone provides a unified and simplified enterprise telephony solution native to Microsoft Teams – with all the innovation, reliability, and security you’d expect.
It provides PBX capabilities without all the complicated and expensive legacy on-premise equipment. Plus, it’s part of Microsoft 365, so you can integrate calling into your broader unified communication and collaboration stack.
This enables your people to call, chat, meet, and collaborate from a single platform – on any device. Thanks to a common administrative platform, it’s much easier to manage, too. No amount of bolt-on applications can compare with what Microsoft Teams Phone delivers.
Your PSTN Connectivity Options with Microsoft Teams Phone
Microsoft Phone System covers internal calling with complete PBX capabilities. But if you need external calling, Microsoft offers an enterprise-grade Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) service, which currently has over 12 million users.
You can choose a Microsoft Calling Plan, Direct Routing, or an Operator Connect service.
Microsoft Teams Calling Plan is the simplest option.
With the Microsoft Teams Calling Plan, Microsoft acts as the PSTN carrier. It’s available in 34 countries and enables you to get started with cloud telephony with just a few simple steps:
• Sign up for the required license
• Get an outbound number
• Pay on a per-user, per-month basis
You don’t need to be an expert in voice. And you don’t have to integrate with any service provider.
But there are some drawbacks.
First, it may not be the most cost-effective for organizations with specific demands. Second, the feature set may not be as robust as those offered by other providers. Features such as SMS, ACD, IVR, outbound dialing, scripting, and other contact center-specific options.
Lastly, since it’s currently only available in 34 countries, it’s not the most flexible option.
Operator Connect industrializes Teams Calling
Operator Connect enables you to bring your own carrier (from Microsoft’s approved list) to Microsoft Teams instead of using Microsoft as your carrier. These certified operators already work directly with the Teams environment and provide PSTN access via an SBC hosted within their own networks and delivered as-a-service.
As with Microsoft Teams Calling Plans, you can buy the plans from your preferred operators from within the Teams admin dashboard. This gives you better scale and carrier-grade SLA and support.
Plus, since you can choose your own carrier, you can choose a provider that offers better value than what Microsoft currently offers.
But this option still lacks flexibility. If you have any complex, bespoke requirements – such as supporting your legacy platforms or configuring voice routes, this option will not work.
Teams Direct Routing meets advanced telephony requirements across large-distributed organizations.
Teams Direct Routing provides the most flexibility to address your most complex scenarios. It integrates with your existing telephony solution – including supported SBCs and call-center technology with Microsoft Teams. This gives you greater control and lets you take full advantage of your existing investments.
You can modernize your telephony environment on your own terms. Start with whatever – geography, existing system, operators, or other investments. You can gradually transition from there.
Although Direct Routing is a flexible way to bring cloud-based telephony to Microsoft Teams, it has some limitations. It can be tricky and time-consuming to configure. It may require the help of a third-party provider.
Continuant simplifies the most complex voice and UC deployments
The option you choose depends on your unique telephony requirements. As a Partner of the Year for Microsoft Teams Calling and Meetings, Continuant can help you migrate from your legacy phone system to UC.
Our award-winning Cloud Platform as a Service (CPaaS) makes Calling in Microsoft Teams simple no matter how simple or complex your requirements may be. Whether you need to set up a basic connection, integrate your existing services such as E911, connect your legacy devices, or manage a hybrid calling environment, we can help.
To kickstart your telephony journey, we are offering a Teams Calling Workshop to help organizations and their IT leaders determine the best path forward for migrating to Microsoft Teams Phone.
Continuant, a Managed Services Provider and Systems Integrator, offering world-class solutions for Cloud, Voice Systems, Networking, UC, and AV. From UC and AV solution design and installation to post-installation support, Continuant focuses on delivering exceptional service to the enterprise. We manage complex...