29 Nov 2021
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Want to Optimize Calling in Microsoft Teams? Consider Direct Routing

Direct routing is another way to connect Microsoft’s phone system to the PSTN via an existing or new third-party telephony provider. It offers an excellent alternative to relying exclusively on the Microsoft environment for your phone calls. A provider, which could be your local telecommunications provider, offers the necessary cloud infrastructure to route incoming and outgoing external calls to Microsoft Teams.

The term direct routing describes the toolset that manages the connection between your on-premises SIP trunk or PSTN connection and the Microsoft phone system, including a session border control system (SBC) from a Microsoft-approved vendor. Direct routing equips you with a connection from the Microsoft phone system to the PSTN, which delivers calls via an existing or new third-party telephony provider, with their associated tariffing and pricing. These appeal to medium and larger enterprises with multiple locations.

For some organizations, direct routing has some advantages over Microsoft calling plans. Consider the following factors in your decision to choose the direct routing path: greater flexibility, broader coverage of your offices across Canada, lower telephony rates, and customized support.

Flexibility & Coverage Across Locations

Direct routing is more flexible because organizations can choose their own provider. This differs greatly from Microsoft’s calling plans, which have strict limitations on carriers and locations. With calling plans, for example, there are certain bundles available while many providers can create a tailored solution that meets specific business requirements.

Direct routing does not mean you must rip and replace your entire communication strategy. With direct routing, you don’t have to give up your existing phone system, nor do you need to migrate everyone over all at once. A phased approach can be tailored to your readiness, transitioning people over by teams, locations, or other approaches that reduce interruptions. The ability to expand or contract on your own schedule can save you money by right-fitting your technology to meet your needs. We can create a communication stack that meets the needs of your business. Having worked with companies across dozens of industries, we can say with confidence that there is no single solution that works for everyone. Your organization will have unique requirements in terms of functionalities, legacy hardware and infrastructure, network performance, and security.

Lower Telephony Rates & Hardware Savings

Do you leverage SIP trunking as your VoIP platform? A local telco with SIP expertise will help you choose a model that benefits your call levels. Maximize your investment by following this approach—choose a direct routing partner for a unified communications platform, one that will evolve at your pace. To maximize your investment, ask them to examine interoperability with your legacy PBX systems and work their engineers to design a premium SBC deployment that is tailored to your existing hardware setup.

Ideally, you will have a plan for an optimized roadmap that adjusts to your current IT capabilities and business needs. At ThinkTel we use our Think365 Cloud Voice solution, which combines direct routing to Microsoft Teams and a dedicated SIP trunk for PSTN connectivity.

Direct routing can compete pricewise with almost any calling plan. The right provider can help your organization with a phased deployment to maximize on investments in hardware, such as physical IP desk phones, and avoid short-term purchases of expensive Teams-compatible handsets.

Customized Support & Implementation Value-Adds

While Microsoft Teams delivers a great user experience, the backend is not always quite as intuitive and easy to use. There is a certain amount of technical complexity involved in setting up direct routing. For this reason, many organizations choose to work with an external partner, either their current cloud voice provider or an organization like ThinkTel.

Ideally, your chosen partner will be able to demonstrate a track record of successful implementations. They should be able to help with the licensing, technical, and commercial considerations involved in the rollout, as well as training and support. To plan your network readiness, it would be important to discuss real-time media assessment and consider the value of Teams end-user adoption training. The possibilities can be tailored to the capacity of your organization. Your IT team may consider the following: white glove porting migration services, Teams-ready devices as a service (e.g., handsets, headsets, and conference phones), Teams premium support for voice (via SIP trunking), CSP licensing, legacy PBX integration, and contact centre solutions.

Final Words

At ThinkTel, our professional services team members spend their time helping customers plan the ideal roadmap to navigate their Teams voice journey. We do what is right for your business, which means looking for every opportunity to streamline your solution, maximize cost savings, and enable measurable long-term productivity enhancements. Talk with our experts to understand all the options available to you and make your voice journey a smooth one.

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