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VOSS for Operator Connect

Microsoft Teams Calling is a powerful way to use voice communications to stay connected. Conversations that used to happen in the workplace, now must take place digitally. According to Microsoft, Teams users placed over 650 million calls in October 2021, up 11 fold from March 2020. Microsoft Operator Connect is a new operator-managed service that brings PSTN calling to Teams.

What is Operator Connect?

Microsoft Operator Connect provides easy access to telephony services and provides facilities to select and connect with an operator (Service Provider) and get telephone numbers, all directly from within the Microsoft Teams admin center.

It unlocks several important benefits:

  • Leverage existing operator contracts: Keep your preferred operator and contracts, while enabling a modern calling experience in Teams
  • Simple and quick to deploy: It can take just minutes to connect to your operator and assign phone numbers to users, all from the Teams admin center.
  • Operator-managed infrastructure: PSTN calling services and Session Border Controllers (SBCs) are managed by operators, saving on hardware purchase and management
  • Enhanced support and reliability: Operators provide tech support and shared service level agreements to improve support service

VOSS for Operator Connect

Operator Connect is a great option, but it raises the question as to how an operator can service this efficiently via the Operator Connect API.

Automation will be important to deliver a dynamic customer self-service experience and keep costs down but what else needs consideration?

Here are a few thoughts for the operator community:

  1. Automation to streamline the service – Multi-step workflows for provisioning
    At the heart of this are multi-step workflows that automate the provisioning process, hiding the underlying complexity in the process and reducing the need for manual touch-points – as the underlying components that make up the service (Direct Routing, SBCs, PSTN break-out) are configured in turn.
  2. Keeping control – with RBAC, audit logs and rollback
    Comprehensive access controls, data visibility and audit logs are vital to ensuring that the integration interface is secure and robust. Do not forget to ask about a rollback facility if a particular request goes astray and for detail in the transaction/audit log to track changes.
  3. Managing the number inventory
    The number inventory plays a key role, and workflows are required to manage and allocate numbers and configure the dial plan into the underlying service, along with possibly integrating with adjacent systems to initiate activities such as porting.
  4. Reporting and accurate charging of services consumed
    Whenever services are consumed, accurate information must be fed into reporting and billing, to track service usage and raise appropriate charges. This may be real-time notifications or overnight jobs to reconcile systems.
  5. Flexibility to configure and optimize for future requirements
    Planning for the future – all systems evolve and mature, and so too will the calling options in Microsoft Teams. Any solution must respond dynamically and without the need to revert to traditional software development and testing. Make sure that the system can be easily adapted and extended through system configuration.

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