A Step-by-Step Guide to Migrating From an On-Premises PBX to Microsoft Teams

Many companies have prioritized modernizing their communication systems. Central to modernization efforts is migrating to cloud-based telephony. This blog explains why and how companies should migrate from an on-premises PBX to Microsoft Teams.

July 13, 2021

The phone has been at the heart of business communications since its invention. But as technology evolves, so do the ways we work. Tools like Microsoft Teams (Teams) combine communication and enterprise collaboration applications for seamless operations. It’s no wonder that the adoption of Teams has skyrocketed in recent years.

Why Should I Migrate to Teams?

Teams allows companies to move their entire UCaaS strategy to one location, giving them a single-pane-of-glass environment.

It’s no secret why companies are using Teams—the tool screams “collaboration!” Hybrid and distributed workforces have become the new norm, and a central location where all team members can collaborate only helps companies’ bottom lines. In remote environments, real-time tools support collaboration across multiple groups. Teams makes it easy to set up different collaboration channels.

The phone, though, is still vital to business. Teams recognized this and has expanded into calling. Once it rolled out voice capabilities, Teams became a viable solution for PSTN calling, allowing users to make and receive PSTN calls on their Teams platform. To ensure quality telecom services, Microsoft partners with leading communication service providers.

The bottom line? Modernizing your communication infrastructure just makes sense.

Collaboration, MS TEAMS
MS Teams is built for collaboration. So should your communications.


How Do I Move to Teams?

Like any decision, migrating from an on-premises PBX to Teams requires a bit of forethought. Below are steps that can ensure a streamlined and successful migration.

Develop a Migration Plan

First, evaluate your company’s calling requirements. Once you understand these requirements, you can plan the initial process. If you’re starting with a legacy PBX system, first set up a Microsoft Office 365 account. You’ll also need an MS Teams account.

Next, outline potential challenges and team responsibilities for migration. This includes identifying and filling in any gaps in functionality with third-party suppliers. Consider this question: What will you need Teams to do?

Communication is also key for a smooth migration. The change from a legacy PBX system to Teams isn’t just a technical one. It’s also a bit of a cultural shift that affects everyone in the organization. That is why it’s essential to make sure all stakeholders—from management to IT to end users—are on the same page. It’s especially important to make sure IT employees help shape the migration plan. Communicating with and securing buy-in from the IT team will help ensure the plan has 360-degree visibility.

Finally, don’t forget about training. If end users will be working with new or different versions of tools, consider which kinds of training they will need before and after the migration go-live date. Figure out what knowledge or skill gaps need to be filled so that once the migration is complete, business operations can function even more smoothly.

Select a Configuration

Do you plan to replace your PBX with Teams completely? If so, there are two things you’ll need: a phone system and PSTN connectivity.

If you’re considering a hybrid setup instead, Microsoft has helpful information about configurations and initial steps to take.

1. Phone System

The great news about Teams is that the Microsoft Phone System solution for PBX can completely replace your legacy PBX system. Microsoft offers a phone system that enables PBX and call control functionality within the cloud.

To complete your transition to MS Teams, you’ll also need a PSTN solution. Microsoft’s options include features like calling plans, Direct Routing, and Operator Connect.

2. PSTN Connectivity

Once you set your phone system, you’ll need to confirm your PSTN connection. With Teams, you’ve got options. You can use Microsoft as your telephony carrier, or you can connect your own carrier to Teams through Direct Routing or Operator Connect.

Remember, calling through Teams doesn’t necessarily mean ditching your office phone. You can make and receive calls with your laptop, desktop, or smartphone, but you can also hook up desk phones, headsets, and other Microsoft-certified devices. Ask suppliers like Intrado if they offer discounts on equipment.

Review Your Microsoft 365 License

Before you go any further, review your Microsoft 365 license. A variety of Microsoft 365 plans come with Microsoft Teams, but not all are qualified for a Microsoft Calling Plan, Direct Routing, or Operator Connect. Intrado provides calling and reviews your existing or new license to make sure it’s compatible with your chosen option, meets your migration goals, and that you’re not overpaying.

Communication, MS TEAMS, Migration
A clear migration strategy makes sure no one is left disconnected.


Port Phone Numbers

After your system configuration is squared away, it’s time to add phone numbers for your users. There are two options: You can port over existing numbers or obtain new numbers through the Teams admin center. Once the numbers are in place, you can add meeting features like audio conferencing or Operator Connect Conferencing.

Common Teams Migration Roadblocks

Cold feet before a migration isn’t unheard of. Some decision-makers hesitate to transition their PBX to Teams because of their large investment in legacy hardware, not to mention their familiarity with the old system. On top of this inertia, decision-makers may be concerned about the quality, security, and cost of a new system.

Concerns might also arise from adopting yet another platform, particularly if your company is already using tools like Webex, BlueJeans, or another collaboration tool. Migration can be daunting. But as with every journey, there’s no substitute for a trustworthy guide.

Intrado is here to help.

Migration, MS Teams, PBX
A good guide makes migrations easy.


How Intrado Can Support Your Teams Migration 

Migration might seem intimidating, but you don’t have to go it alone. Intrado helps customers migrate their PBX to Teams. 

We are with you at every step of the migration process. This includes creating a migration strategy, training IT teams and users, and managing pilot projects. We also walk our clients through the quality and security of calling through Teams and demonstrate how to easily deploy and use the platform’s other features. 

As a gold-certified Microsoft partner, Intrado offers its customers different ways to best meet their calling needs. In 2019, Intrado helped the world-famous Japanese audio brand Audio-Technica move from its legacy system to Teams. 

After determining that Teams was the best fit, Intrado designed the migration strategy, up-skilled Audio-Technica’s IT team, and managed the pilot program. After piloting Teams for nearly half a year, the migration process began in January 2020. Intrado completed the project within three months. 

“Intrado’s team did an outstanding job,” said Keir Hynd, Business Systems Manager at Audio-Technica. “They were more than equal to any technical challenge that we threw at them. Their documentation and explanation of their work were both clear and detailed.”

Migrating an on-premises PBX to Teams helps businesses modernize and streamline IT deployments. Migration also helps to unify communication and collaboration, two essential pieces of remote and hybrid working. The cloud saves money and increases business agility as markets change. Contact our experts for assistance in migrating to Teams.

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