Extending Enterprise Voice to Microsoft Teams - What are Your Options?
Tim Jalland, Solution Manager, VOSS
Are you one of the many enterprise organizations currently grappling with the challenge of how to add enterprise voice telephony to your Microsoft Teams solution? If so, VOSS can help.
There are a number of options available to you, and in this blog I will share some insight for your consideration.
Enterprise Voice - Extending the Reach of Microsoft Teams
There is no doubt about the success of Microsoft Teams. Delivered as part of the Microsoft 365 suite of applications, over 90 million subscribers globally have harnessed the power of Microsoft Teams to collaborate and work together. Microsoft Teams is firmly established as part of the IT communication ecosystem.
Businesses are taking the next step: To assure their UC platform with appropriate management tools, and to extend Microsoft Teams into enterprise voice. As such, users have a service they can depend on, and they can use the same service and client application for all of their collaboration needs - including contacting external parties.
VOSS provides end-to-end management of Microsoft Teams, UC and collaboration solutions, and enterprise voice, enabling organizations to take control of their UC estate. Businesses depend on Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Teams runs better with VOSS.
So,what are the options?
1. Alternative solutions from Cisco and Microsoft
For enterprise voice, Microsoft provides Calling Plans (now known as Business Voice). These come in two flavors for domestic or international calling, can be added to a user’s license, and provide an easy and simple path to introduce telephony. They are most suited to smaller organizations with less complex needs, are not available in all countries, and do not meet the demands placed by larger organisations on their enterprise voice service.
Many larger businesses run their enterprise voice service on platforms from traditional vendors such as Avaya and Cisco. These vendors provide a level of proprietary integration with Microsoft Teams. Cisco UC solutions, for example, includes a Cisco Jabber add-on for Microsoft Teams, allowing users to make and receive telephony calls. The add-on is installed on the desktop, requires a Cisco license, and only operates when connected to the corporate network. It does make use of its own (Cisco) dial pad and with this in mind, is best suited to enterprises that want to keep enterprise voice and Microsoft Teams at a distance.
Microsoft Direct Routing – Teams and Telephony
The majority of enterprises connect telephony into Microsoft Teams through a Microsoft supported technology called Direct Routing. This offers a 'break-out' point for users into enterprise voice – for making and receiving telephony calls. It also offers enterprises a better level of call control, allows the use of existing numbers and commercial contracts, and is installed without major disruption.
In its basic configuration, it operates as an island and does not offer easy integration with existing applications (such as call recording or contact centres), does not easily enable the migration of users to Microsoft Teams, or leverage the investment already made around existing enterprise voice platforms.
The Best of All Worlds - Adopting a Hybrid Approach
The answer lies in adopting a hybrid approach. In this deployment, Microsoft Direct Routing is used to integrate the Microsoft Teams service into the existing enterprise voice platform, providing a single, unified solution. This approach builds on the benefits of Microsoft Direct Routing:
- Users may freely communicate between any end-point, using either internal extension dialing, E164 or through a user’s contact card. Calls are kept on-net as required, to avoid unnecessary call charges.
- Existing hand-sets may be retained alongside users with Microsoft Teams, allowing access to a wide range of devices to suit individual requirements.
- User profiles are available for Cisco (only), Microsoft (only), or multi-vendor (both Cisco and Microsoft devices and clients).
- Dial plan controls and PSTN break-out points can be reused to provide consistent dialing (including emergency calls) and robustness on the solution.
- Migration workflows can move users, as required, from the existing voice platform and onto Microsoft Teams without any major disruption.
- Existing applications, such as Call Recording and Contact Center, may be extended out to users on Microsoft Teams.
A Snapshot View
To find out more about Microsoft Teams Direct Routing and VOSS, please contact us.
Read more about Enterprise Voice, here.