When Microsoft Teams debuted in 2017, it was created to be a one-stop shop for video calls, chat, voice calls, and other modes of collaborative working and efficient communications under a single pane of glass.
A mere six months after its debut, the company announced plans to fully replace Skype for Business as the Microsoft flagship for cloud voice. Since then, Microsoft has focused on increasing enterprises’ access to voice solutions, which is a very useful feature of Microsoft Teams’ collaboration stack.
Today’s Microsoft Teams users can utilize their internal collaboration systems to initiate, receive, and manage calls from Internet-connected devices. Furthermore, they can handle those calls from the PSTN using a Calling Plan or Direct Routing. Because of the benefits associated with Direct Routing, businesses are turning to VoIP calling capabilities.
In fact, approximately 80% of medium and large organizations using Teams for telephony use Direct Routing for PSTN connectivity. This is likely because Direct Routing offers greater flexibility, broader geographic coverage, lower costs and increased levels of customer and technical support.
Below is an overview of Direct Routing through Teams, how it works, its advantages, and how trusted Microsoft Partners like Intrado support connectivity through Teams.
What Is Direct Routing Through Microsoft Teams?
Direct Routing connects the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to Teams and enables users to place and receive calls on any Teams-enabled device. This bridge is made through a trusted telephony provider like Intrado, a Microsoft Partner.
How Does Teams Direct Routing Work?
Traditionally, internal and external business telephone calls have been delivered using a private branch exchange (PBX) phone system, commonly located on the premises of the business. Now, Teams can be implemented as a business telephony solution, doubling as business collaboration software. Teams can replace an organization’s existing PBX phone system and its associated equipment with its cloud-based system. As a result, companies gain full PBX voice calling capabilities to external audiences. Cloud-based or hosted PBX models provide cost savings and flexibility so that companies can make calls when and where there’s an Internet connection.
To use Teams to connect to the PSTN, an organization must first enable the previously mentioned Microsoft Phone System—Teams’ native PBX functionality. Businesses must have a Microsoft-certified session border controller (SBC) to ensure incoming and outgoing calls pass through the Microsoft Teams client and get delivered to end-users. Microsoft Teams also requires that the enterprise have a provider for both SIP trunking and E911 services for quality and security purposes.
Direct Routing Advantages
Businesses can implement Direct Routing through Teams to secure a variety of advantages. Outlined below are some of the key benefits of Direct Routing through Microsoft Teams.
1. Cost Savings
Direct Routing consolidates regional carriers into one global plan, which streamlines carrier fees. Migrating to Teams can reduce communications costs and enable companies to invest in other IT tools and strategies.
Legacy on-premises telephony hardware can be expensive and time-consuming for medium and large businesses to install and maintain. Migrating to cloud-based calling frees up installation and maintenance time and ensures organizations only pay for the resources they use.
2. Greater Flexibility With Business Phone Systems
Direct Routing offers organizations improved flexibility because decision-makers can choose their own communications service provider (CSPs)—granting them greater autonomy. As a result, CSPs can create a tailored solution that meets specific business requirements and can be easily adjusted to match the evolving needs of the business’s customers.
Further, cloud-based solutions that power direct routing eliminate the need to manage on-premises PBX equipment. As a result, IT teams can easily add, modify, or remove Teams users in response to workforce adaptations. Growing business models like remote work or hybrid workplaces become more viable options when PBX location is no longer a factor.
3. Enhanced Centralization of UC Solutions
Implementing Direct Routing through Microsoft Teams standardizes communication throughout an organization. This means that companies can take advantage of a single telephony solution, which can help streamline compliance, centralize IT support, and simplify employee training. Employees, customers, partners, and end users will benefit from a consistent user experience in all locations. Since nearly every collaboration tool from video conferencing to file sharing is accessible from the same platform as external phone calls are, users will see enhanced productivity and efficiency.
4. Improved Hosted VoIP Reliability
A centralized telephony solution makes it easier for IT teams to control and monitor the system. For example, the company can access data on usage (i.e., peak calling times, dropped calls, etc.) that can help them identify issues and inform decision making. Some providers offer regional carrier redundancy with failover in the event of an outage or other issues with a single carrier. With Direct Routing, businesses can have peace of mind knowing they can rely on their communication channels to bypass outages and help them stay connected.
5. Simplicity of Network Tools
Teams’ Direct Routing reduces the number of vendor relationships for enterprises or users to manage. As mentioned earlier, Direct Routing replaces multiple local carriers with a single Managed Service Provider (MSP). Companies can also port existing phone numbers to the cloud and use them globally, which also helps them to reduce financial investments. That way, businesses can continue to use the numbers they and their customers are familiar with, which can have a positive impact on customer trust and loyalty. Lastly, many MSPs utilize global networks so that businesses can implement a unified communications system anywhere they have offices, employees, and/or customers. This significantly simplifies the organization’s communication technology toolkit, which can support cost savings and boost team productivity.
6. Tailored Support
Direct Routing is often easier to implement with support from a trusted Communication Service Provider (CSP). A CSP can offer support and expertise to plan the implementation and other cloud migrations. CSPs can also help bring employees up to speed on the technology and demonstrate how they can best maximize Teams for their individual communication and collaboration needs.
How Does Intrado Support Direct Routing Through Teams?
For nearly 20 years, Microsoft and Intrado have partnered to deliver voice solutions into collaboration environments. As a Direct Routing partner, certified SBC and SIP trunk provider, and claimed partner of record by Microsoft, we’ve bundled solutions to build a complete collaboration stack. Enterprises have access to technology, licensing, training, and support in a single package.
Intrado customers can chat, meet, share documents, and collaborate in real-time. Intrado also offers users unique Direct Routing options such as:
- E911 integration: Teams users can leverage Intrado’s nationally recognized E911 solutions to enhance phone numbers with necessary emergency response protocols, support employee safety, and meet regulations.
- Compliance recording: Record calls, chat, and screen activity to meet industry regulations. Set up automatic recording for any necessary users so that you’re always compliant.
- Flexible deployment: Maybe you want to call in Teams, but you have to maintain an onsite PBX in some branches or are still under contract in certain markets. Integrate Direct Routing with your preferred SIP or PBX provider to make use of your existing setup and get even more international coverage.
- Contact center: Get customer service essentials in a contact center suite designed for small to midsize contact centers, hosted in Microsoft Azure and designed for Teams users.
- Certified devices: Calling in Teams doesn’t have to mean giving up your phone. Intrado provides certified Microsoft devices for calling, audio conferencing, and video meetings, all designed to work with Teams.
Operator Connect: The Next Evolution of Direct Routing
Microsoft has announced the next evolution of Direct Routing called Operator Connect. At launch, Microsoft prequalified 12 elite partners, including Intrado, to form a tighter integration with Teams for cloud calling. This makes it easier to provision phone numbers, simpler to manage through a single admin portal, and requires less IT support.
In addition, Intrado and only five others were approved as the first Operator Connect Conferencing partners, marking the first time users have a choice of conferencing provider in Teams.
Put Microsoft Teams Directing Routing Into Action!
The modern workplace consists of geographically distributed teams, cloud-based technologies and digital tools, new business models, and complex security requirements. As a result, employees require advanced UCaaS solutions to effectively collaborate and execute their jobs while also securing productivity gains.
Microsoft Teams enables users with a robust and secure solution that joins messaging, meetings, calling, video, file sharing, and tools. With these capabilities, teams can connect more easily and collaborate with each other more efficiently.
Learn more about how Intrado supports Direct Routing through Microsoft Teams.