Microsoft Teams combines persistent workplace chat, meetings, and file storage using SharePoint Online and OneDrive, along with application integration. The service integrates with Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite and features extensions that can integrate with non-Microsoft products (think APIs, chatbots and other cloud-based apps). It’s a better way for teams to communicate, collaborate and share content. But what if you want to make a call to someone outside of Teams?
Effectively, there are two ways to call someone from Teams. First, you need Phone System. It’s a PBX in the cloud. It allows you to replace your PBX on premises with all the familiar features. Second, to call a number outside your company, your choices are: Microsoft Calling Plans or Direct Routing.
Microsoft Calling Plans require an additional subscription. For $12 or €12 a month, an end user receives an allotment of minutes to make domestic calls. International calls require a $24 or €24 per month subscription. Calling Plans are easy to set-up using Microsoft’s Admin Console. However, they are limited to the U.S., Canada and seven countries in Western Europe. Plus, they are designed for smaller companies rather than large enterprise customers. Enter Direct Routing.
Direct Routing is calling done your way. It allows you to work with a service provider like Orange to provide calling to or from the PSTN. Orange provides a Session Border Controller (SBC) designed to work with Teams. When a Teams Phone System user makes a call, Orange routes the call over our Business Talk SIP voice service, in addition to directing inbound calls to the user. Direct Routing offers a number of advantages:
- Eases the transition to Teams Phone System for calling
- Offers a future-proof architecture
- Reduces or eliminates the need for equipment on premises (gateways or SBCs)
- Optimizes voice trunks across many sites through centralized SIP trunking
- Optimizes call routing (media bypass)
- Offers additional features
What’s not to like? Orange offers local voice calling in 24 countries and DID porting in another 27 countries. Business Talk Digital allows you to manage your DID numbers – order a new number in under two minutes. But we go beyond a large footprint of countries by optimizing calls using media bypass. This technique keeps the call (media) from traveling all the way back to the Microsoft cloud before routing it to its destination. Instead, the call takes the most direct path to its destination, improving call quality.
To make your life easier, Orange developed Flex365, an innovative self-care portal. It enables you to assign the appropriate profile to users and avoid manual mistakes (voice policy). You can use the tool to submit changes and service requests and to manage your Teams user profiles. Enabling the users for Direct Routing on the Office365 tenant can be done on an individual basis (MACD) or in batches (using a .csv import). The advantages of using the Flex365 portal for Direct Routing include:
- Correct user profiles that enable voice with no need of assistance (voice policy – domestic calling only, international, etc.)
- Single and secure interface to manage Microsoft Calling Plans, Orange Business Talk voice service or any 3rd-party service provider
- Clear demarcation for Teams voice management
- Policies and profiles that are standard, defined, configured and tested during the design phase and reviewed as part of the change management
So, who are you gonna call? As you can see, if you are heading down the Microsoft Teams path and need to enable calling, give Orange a call. We can help smooth your journey with a whole range of services along with unmatched coverage.
As Global Practice Director, Unified Communications, I am responsible for driving profitable growth of unified communications solutions globally. I help build regional business development teams' knowledge and skills of our Unified Communications and Collaboration portfolio. I enjoy engaging directly on strategic opportunities. Last year was our best ever for unified communications services.