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An Enterprise Guide to Microsoft Teams Voice and the Digital Workplace

How to seamlessly integrate enterprise voice telephony into Microsoft Teams for a unified digital workplace experience

Microsoft Teams Voice  

According to TomTalks, Microsoft Teams has 270 million monthly active users, but as little as 5 million users use the platform for enterprise voice to make calls to external partners, colleagues, and other parties on the PSTN. To address this delta, organizations should consider extending their use of Microsoft Teams to include their telephony strategy. 

But what about the voice or telephony element of your digital workplace strategy? Is it fully integrated into the rest of your collaboration suite, for a seamless employee experience? In fact, many large enterprises are yet to solve this problem; it is stated that as little as 5 million Microsoft Teams users use the platform for enterprise voice to make calls to external partners, colleagues, and other parties on the public telephone network (PSTN).

Microsoft Teams Voice – The Challenge

The adoption of Microsoft Teams for collaboration and productivity has been unprecedented. Now, companies are looking to bring their enterprise voice strategy under the Microsoft umbrella, for a seamless single-vendor experience. 

Microsoft Teams Voice – The Solution

Organizations that are large, multi-site, multinational corporations that have a high percentage of knowledge workers and who are already underway with a Microsoft 365 rollout should be investigating a transition strategy to Teams, to help manage a high rate of daily service requests, with a limited internal team.

Related blog post: Complex Number Management in Multi-Vendor UC Solutions

Migrating to Microsoft Teams – The Process

When you plan your transition to Microsoft Teams Voice, consider this 3-step process:

  • Discovery Process – A deep data discovery, highlighting the existing voice inventory and set-up, possible issues and dependencies
  • Mapping and Transformation – Advanced business logic, transformation rules and filters, followed by batch loading to automate and streamline the process
  • Automation Management – Ongoing review of the user configuration, including day to day service management

The transition process should be fast, efficient, and offer a great user experience along the journey.

READ MORE: Discover What is in Your Existing PBX Configuration Before Planning Your Move to Microsoft Teams Voice and the Cloud

Microsoft Teams Voice – The Value

Transitioning to Microsoft Teams Voice offers a host of benefits, including:

  • Accelerated project delivery, faster time to benefits and improved user adoption
  • Automation to remove errors, manual and duplicate input
  • Improved efficiency, reducing demand on internal resources
  • Insight into existing configuration to remove surprises and risk
  • Flexibility to accommodate a wide range of scenarios
  • Cloud delivery for fast start with no disruption to services
  • A secure, predictable process with audit and roll-back

Financial Services: Use Case

  • Real Life Example: Use Case 1 – International Finance Organization
  • Project size: 55,000 employees
  • Voice estate: Migrating from a mixed voice estate of on-premise systems – Microsoft Skype for Business, Cisco, Avaya, to Microsoft Teams Voice

The Challenge

The company wanted to consolidate 55,000 users that were using mixed voice technologies, on different platforms in different regions. They put in place a 2-year plan to manually migrate the voice platform to harness the value of Microsoft Teams voice alongside the collaboration and productivity tools already in use.

The Solution

Selecting the “Give Teams a Voice” package from VOSS, the company was able to use automation to accelerate the migration project and reduce errors during the process. This ensured an efficient project and good take-up of the new Microsoft Teams Voice service whilst realizing cost benefits from the early decommissioning of the legacy systems.

The Business Value

  • The use of automation to remove errors and introduce repeatable processes – the total project time was cut but 50%
  • Flexibility to identify groups of users – for example managers and assistants and users in a calling group – and migrate these together and ensure the group wasn’t broke
  • Regular reporting and tracking of the migration project to report on progress to senior management and plan future migration batches
  • Rapid rollout of Microsoft Teams Voice with a much faster time to benefits

Manufacturer: Use Case

  • Real Life Example: Use Case 2 – North American Manufacturer
  • Project size: 4,000 employees
  • Voice estate: Migrating 100+ independent franchises and head office onto single shared Microsoft Teams voice platform

The Challenge

The company approached VOSS with the challenge of migrating telephony services for 100+ franchises, each with their own Microsoft Tenant but sharing a common Cisco voice platform. Post migration, the manufacturer also wished to harness automation for ongoing management for moves, adds and changes. They had an aggressive deadline to migrate before the annual support on the Cisco platform became due.

The Solution

The VOSS “Give Teams a Voice” package introduced automation to standardize and speed up the process of migrating all sites onto Microsoft Teams Voice. The solution from VOSS ensured the company could complete the project in under 3 months, with the complexity of multiple Microsoft Tenants.

The Business Value

  • Rapid and efficient process to hit deadline and achieve speed to value
  • Highly automated to manage multiple site migrations in a repeatable manner
  • Single portal to manage migration across multiple Microsoft tenants
  • Project cost: 1/3 of anticipated budget
  • On going cost savings as a result of decommissioning multiple old platforms and consolidating on Microsoft Teams

VOSS Discover – Find out what is in your existing PBX configuration before planning your move to Microsoft Teams voice and the cloud

Often, the first step to Microsoft Teams Voice is the hardest.

VOSS Discover helps customers examine and understand their existing PBX configuration, to take the first, important step towards the transition. VOSS Discover enables more effective planning and ultimately a better outcome of the initiative to transition their telephony to new cloud solutions such as Microsoft Teams Voice.

The Process
We make a complex, often daunting process, incredibly simple, by:

  • Collaborating with you to get an export from your existing PBX
  • Uploading the extract into VOSS Migrate – a tool that provides an automated discovery process with the data managed and modeled in a SQL database – to make sure it is accurate and runs at scale
  • Providing a complete inventory of the PBX, so that you can understand what is running on the existing service
  • Presenting a summary report that is clear and easy to understand

Importantly, you will also receive a gap analysis that highlights the features that need attention as you plan your move to Microsoft Teams. It is not “a like for like” migration, so features will need mapping, transforming, or redesigning.

There are two flavors of VOSS Discover:

  • Option 1: VOSS Discover is designed as a first and fast view into the existing PBX configuration, to understand what needs to be migrated and some of the possible complexity associated with it.
  • Option 2: VOSS Discover Plus provides a deeper dive into the existing PBX configuration, makes use of additional data sources (e.g. usage data), and is suitable for organizations that require a fuller audit at the start of the migration program.

Rest assured that VOSS Discover works to your timescales. We will get the report back for first review within two weeks. VOSS Discover is available now for all popular PBX systems. If you would like more information or a sample report, click here.

Read more:

VOSS Pivot Program

VOSS has teamed up with Microsoft to enables service providers and managed service providers to ease the transition of their end customers to cloud-based phone and collaboration solutions.

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Video transcript

Organizations have been enjoying the benefits of Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams and now they are looking to bring voice into that arena to give them a single unified digital workplace experience.

To transition to Microsoft Teams, organizations should look for a cloud delivered service so there’s no disruption to existing services or the need to install any on-premise or on-site software. The aim is to deliver Microsoft Teams enterprise voice quickly to get the benefits in an efficient way, and in a way where the user experience and user journey and user adoption is as you’d expect.

The transition comes in three step steps:

The first is a discovery step to do a deep data extract and look at the existing system configuration. It comes with a multi-vendor migration engine to pull data from Cisco platforms, Avaya, Skype etc, and many others.

Importantly, it comes with an automation engine built around a flexible and configurable set of rules and logic, and that avoids the need for a lot of manual input, data touch points, duplication, the need for skilled staff; and streamlines the whole process. It’s supported as a foundation on an SQL database that provides the necessary data management and modeling for the process, and works well at scale on large installations; multi-geography, multi-site.

The actual migration process itself is run in batches. It’s a controlled process with a full scheduled audit and rollback.

The final step, once you are through the migration process itself, is to use this process for Day 2 administration – for day-to-day service management.

Let’s look at each of the steps in turn:

The first step is the discovery step and in this step we’re pulling the data from the existing platform. We are extracting that data into the process and we’re running a deep data discovery process, to find out what’s configured on the existing voice service and to avoid any unnecessary surprises as we go through the migration process. It also will pull out any migration considerations that would need to go into the planning and batching process.

The output from this stage is a workshop and at that workshop we’ll review a written report explaining what we’ve discovered through the discovery process itself. This audit report will provide detail on the existing system, some insights into the migration planning, things to consider, and then a full inventory in terms of what’s configured on the platform. It will include topics such as hunt groups and pickup groups in the case of a Cisco platform.

The next stage is to migrate. In this stage, we’re mapping and transforming the existing voice service and loading them up into Microsoft Teams. Some of the features will be easy to map across, and some of the features will need transforming, and some of the features may well need some level of redesign. To support this in an automated way, we run it through a multi-vendor migration engine and through a set of rules and logic. This will carry out the transformation.

There are two types of rules: Standard rules and advanced rules. The standard rules are programmed within the engine itself, including various conditions for deleting things, replacing things, and converting things. For example, to take an internal extension number and convert that to a full E164 telephone number before we load that into the Microsoft Teams platform, or we might be taking an existing call policy or privilege against a particular user and converting that and configuring that into the equivalent on the Microsoft Teams side. These are standard rules.

There’s also the option for advanced rules. Advanced rules we configure with scripting and we do that offline and then can load that into the tool and into the migration process itself. This gives us the ability to cater for any business or technical requirement that you might have that needs to be built into the migration process and into the automation engine itself.

Let’s take a look at the way the scheduling works. We organize the actual migration itself into a number of batches. We’ll start with a test site or a pilot site and then we’ll start the main role out for a small number of sites initially, and gradually build up the size of those batches as we go into the migration process.
For the actual batches themselves, there is quite a bit of flexibility as to whether we configure those around departments, sites, geographies, or some other parameter or variable that you might decide for the migration process. It’s important during the actual migration to Microsoft Teams to have a good engine to track progress with key status indicators for success and failure. And, to have the ability to quickly correct any issues on the migration process itself, and if we do need to roll back there’s a rollback mechanism to return the batch to its original state, pre-migration.

So, let’s look at the final stage of the migration which is the “manage” stage and that comes into the VOSS Automate portal. This is the main landing page, which includes some hot cards in terms of information as to what’s configured on the system. There is a nice navigation tool for large organizations, split across several sites or geographies, to navigate around the configuration, and then there’s a set of menus, such as number inventory giving an insight into all the numbers that are configured on the estate, and whether each of the numbers is in use or not, what’s the actual usage, plus some supplementary information as to how it’s configured.

The other popular menu is with respect to subscribers. You can see the users configured on the Microsoft Teams voice service and against each of the users, and see what particular service number is configured within the service itself. The final quick thing to look at are some of the more complex items. Call queues are a good example. Here, they are represented on the portal and easy to navigate into, to look at the configuration, and to tune it as you might see fit. This includes who is participating in particular call queues.

It’s our aim to get you up onto Microsoft Teams with enterprise voice quickly and efficiently. We include a fast discovery process and a migration process to fully automate the migration up to Microsoft Teams voice. Finally, it gives you a nice intuitive management portal to look and tune the surface as you go forward.