Microsoft Teams Direct Routing: Background and Definition
You likely already know about Microsoft Teams. It’s an online platform for meetings, virtual events, calls, chats and collaboration. But, did you know that there’s a way to multiply this tool’s capabilities to boost your business communications? It’s called Microsoft Teams direct routing.
Microsoft Teams has been available since 2018. It reached 75 million daily active users in April 2020, 70% more than March, when COVID hit. The increased popularity of this application for businesses of all sizes exposed the need to connect it with other enterprise platforms, and that’s when Microsoft Teams direct routing came into play.
Direct routing is a service that transforms Microsoft Teams into a highly customized, unified collaboration platform with enterprise-grade voice capabilities. You can partner with a licensed provider to turn your Teams instance into an enterprise-level voice platform. By integrating the application with Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) hosted voice and SIP, you will have a streamlined, scalable communication and collaboration platform that supports various ways of working.
A comprehensive implementation of Microsoft Teams direct routing will allow your company to have more flexible and cost-effective global calling plans, advanced call reporting, improved functionality of critical phone features and large-scale conferencing, among other improvements. From video conferencing and messaging to chat and document sharing, all capabilities are available in a single platform.
Why Extending Microsoft Teams’ Functionalities is Important?
Microsoft Teams has likely been a go-to tool to bring your staff and customers together in dire times. Now that things are starting to go back to normal and hybrid work models are becoming the rule, you may recognize Microsoft Teams’ limitations. It is the ideal time to look for ways to make Microsoft Teams a part of seamless and robust communications infrastructures.
As we briefly mentioned above, the application’s popularity grew considerably with the pandemic. Small and midsize businesses embraced Microsoft Teams when employees started working from home but needed a way to remain productive and connected.
To support this, let’s review some data from a 2020 PwC survey of 120 U.S. company executives and 1,200 U.S. office workers. It found that:
- 70% of employees worked from home during COVID-19.
- 55% of executives planned to offer remote working as an option for their staff after the pandemic.
- 72% of employees said they’d like to work from home at least part of their work week after COVID-19.
Therefore, if you were using Microsoft Teams for conference calls and chat, you may now feel like you’ve hit a wall as far as its functionality. Multi-site business communications often require more capabilities typically found in traditional PBX phone systems. So, how do you run a multi-site operation when your current phone system is disconnected?
When IT leaders started to ask this question, they observed the value in Microsoft Teams. But they also recognized its flaws in terms of other functionalities businesses still require, such as fax, phone tree, voicemail, advanced call routing and queueing.
Customers, partners, vendors, and other critical external contacts need to reach the right people in your organization quickly. If you want to expand your voice capabilities and add in the internal and external calling features your business needs for an enterprise voice platform, you will have to do more. Here lies the importance of Microsoft Teams direct routing as a solution.
Related: BCM One Releases Voice-Enabled Teams
Turning Microsoft Teams Into a Powerful Communications Platform
You possibly scrambled to find communications and collaboration alternatives at the start of the pandemic. Now, you’re having to rethink your entire IT infrastructure to support remote and hybrid work environments for the long term.
Integrating your existing phone systems via Microsoft Teams direct routing will combine the application with PBX and VoIP capabilities for a more complete and streamlined communications and collaboration platform.
Working with the right direct routing provider will enable you to integrate your CRM and other applications with Microsoft Teams, adding advanced features it does not originally offer.
It’s important to mention that Microsoft does sell calling plans, but they are relatively expensive and limited. They only offer calls to certain countries and do not include the full breadth of enterprise calling features.
On the other hand, Microsoft Teams direct routing costs less and offers greater functionality and flexibility. You can use it to build out your data and voice capabilities across the globe. Employees can make calls through a telecom provider that will connect your Microsoft Teams users to voice instead of Microsoft.
Besides direct routing being less expensive than Microsoft calling plans, it also allows for customization per user or location to reduce wasted spending. You can tailor your Microsoft365 license to fit the specific needs of your business, paying only for what you need.
If your employees only make internal calls, there’s no need to pay for international calling. You can purchase a minor license while still giving them the voice and collaboration features they require to be productive.
The right provider can also bring in SIP and partial SIP trunks on the backend. This will allow you to upgrade your PBX at a reasonable price point while getting the added benefits of VoIP and Microsoft Teams.
The flexibility of this enhanced platform extends to enable your staff to work how they want. For instance, with direct routing, your employees no longer need an assigned desk phone with an extension. Instead, no matter where they work around the globe, people can quickly reach them on their mobile device with a headset. And when they call out, they are using a business phone number, not their personal numbers.
Your customers and other external parties will experience the same seamless connection with your company regardless of their physical location, increasing productivity and efficiency.
Three Criteria To Find the Right Direct Routing Partner
Microsoft does not offer direct routing for Teams first-hand. The only way to implement it is via a certified partner. Here are three criteria you should consider to find the right one:
Certifications and Experience
Certified vendors know precisely how to connect your existing system with Microsoft to add voice capabilities. There are different Microsoft certification levels. Look for a vendor that holds a Microsoft Gold Partner badge for premium service.
The right direct routing partner will also have enough experience as a tier-one Communications Service Provider (CSP). Their experts need to demonstrate they have the capabilities to upgrade your Microsoft Teams to include enterprise-class voice features.
The right partner will have the technical skills to troubleshoot any Microsoft and network issues you may have. This is an important differentiator, as you can save time, costs and frustration when you can rely on one vendor to take care of both elements.
Ask your potential supplier if they can manage problems with firewalls, routers, quality issues, Microsoft licensing issues or anything related to your communications and collaboration platform. They should also have the tools to troubleshoot your networks and LANs because Microsoft does not provide those services.
Finding the right Microsoft Teams direct routing partner will save you the task of managing this implementation in-house, especially if your company lacks the skilled internal resources to do so. Research each company’s customer service terms and conditions before making a decision.
If you use or want to expand Microsoft Teams or have multiple offices and employees in different locations, work with a Microsoft-certified vendor to handle Microsoft Teams direct routing for you. They can efficiently implement it across your enterprise to minimize or eliminate downtime.
BCM One can take your Microsoft Teams collaboration platform and transform it into a unified voice and collaboration infrastructure with enterprise-grade features. With direct routing, your phone system is no longer separate from IT. Instead, it is entirely integrated, governed by the same security measures that support your entire IT infrastructure for a fully managed, monitored and supported communications network. Contact us for more information.