The phase-out of Skype for Business pushed many enterprises to Microsoft Teams. And with over 270 million active monthly users, it’s clear that Teams is here to stay.
Let’s get straight to why you’re here: you need to find a Microsoft Teams Direct Routing partner to power your Teams telephony. You’re probably an IT leader in a large enterprise, supporting offices around the world, and might be using some on-prem equipment like Cisco or Avaya.
On the other hand, you probably have some employees on Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or RingCentral already, and figuring out your contact center is another ongoing project.
You need to support your staff as they’re working from home (or hybrid), switch from Teams’ Calling Plans to Direct Routing, and gradually transition your equipment to completely cloud — all without breaking anything.
On one hand, this is quite scary. On the other hand, it’s a good opportunity for you to tidy up, optimize, and streamline your enterprise communications ecosystem.
Why enterprises are choosing Direct Routing
All the changes you need to make to support hybrid working are opening doors for three major wins:
- Vendor consolidation: Moving from geography-based carriers to one global partner that can give you the reach you need.
- Cost-cutting: Transitioning away from seat-based pricing models and towards usage-based pricing.
- Future-proofing: Migrating communications to the cloud while ensuring your communications stack will be flexible, secure, and reliable.
Believe it or not, this is 100% possible — the challenge is getting there. What should you think about, how do you accomplish this, and how can you prevent breaking your emergency and customer calls during this process?
What to look for in a Direct Routing partner
As you move your whole organization to Microsoft Teams and begin the search for a Direct Routing partner, consider these three elements: SIP trunking, emergency calling, and additional channels like SMS.
1. SIP trunking
Teams calling leverages IP-based networks that deliver SIP trunking. While calling plans simply resell carrier SIP trunks, you can also go directly to the source for your voice. As you do this, ask yourself three questions:
- Where do you need coverage? Some carriers only offer coverage in specific geographies and regions, so global organizations need multiple carriers to deliver voice to employees.
- Does your provider offer full PSTN replacement where you have offices? Voice is more than just inbound SIP — you also need outbound calling, emergency calling, and porting. Look for full PSTN replacement to reduce your carriers per region. If growth around the globe is in your future, a partner with global capabilities should be a key part of your vendor search.
- What do you do with your equipment? You’re likely facing pressure to migrate and you’ll eventually need to retire your equipment like SBCs. Look for a provider that offers a Hosted SBC option for Teams Direct Routing.
2. Emergency calling/E911
When everyone worked in the office, providing 911 access and precise location information at the time of a call was straightforward. But after two years of working from home, it’s not so straightforward.
Your users may be sending emails at the coffee shop down the road, editing documents at their parents’ house three states over, or taking calls from an all-inclusive resort. In the U.S., RAY BAUM’s Act requires you to provide access to emergency calling that tells emergency responders their exact location information. Bandwidth worked with Microsoft Teams to develop Direct Location Routing functionality within Teams Direct Routing.
For many organizations, moving to the cloud without breaking emergency calling and maintaining compliance seems momentous. Still, it’s entirely possible with the right support.
As you choose an emergency routing partner for Teams, ask yourself:
- Is your carrier certified by Microsoft? There are only three certified carriers in the U.S. for E911. You guessed it—we’re one of them
- Can your carrier support emergency calling everywhere your employees are working globally? If you’re a global company (or you want to be), you need a carrier that can support emergency calling in all the countries and territories where you have employees. Choosing a carrier with deep global reach upfront simplifies your growth objectives down the line.
- Does your 911 carrier connect to all your cloud platforms? If your business is like many today, not all employees use the same UCaaS platform. Looking for one with multiple integrations for UCaaS platforms can give you operational freedom to move to and around the cloud without the hassle of dealing with multiple or changing carriers.
- Is your carrier educated on new and evolving industry regulations? Your Direct Routing partner should help you comply with the geography-specific regulations, like Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’s Act in the U.S., and the local regulations in different countries across the world.
For many businesses, messaging is the last hurdle to jump before you can (finally) turn off your on-prem equipment and fully migrate to the cloud. Being able to text third parties from Teams is convenient and fast, and helps you meet your contractors, patients, and clients in the channels they’re currently using.
Up to this point, your Direct Routing two-way texting options were limited. There were standalone SMS applications for Direct Routing but were difficult to deploy, or required upfront development work. Plus, IT leaders wanted to use numbers from their existing Direct Routing partner, not purchase new numbers from a separate SMS provider.
That’s why Bandwidth built Send-to, an out-of-the-box messaging solution that natively integrates with your Bandwidth phone numbers and our comprehensive Direct Routing integration.
Whether or not you choose to use Bandwidth’s messaging app for Direct Routing, look for Teams messaging that:
- Works with your existing phone numbers so you don’t need to purchase additional numbers or work with a new carrier
- Doesn’t store any user data for total peace of mind
- Is well documented and easy to install and deploy
- Is easy to use for employees
With the addition of Send-to, Microsoft Teams Direct Routing users can have everything they need for completely cloud, future-proof communications: SIP, emergency calling, and SMS/MMS.
The 12-point Direct Routing partner checklist
You’re migrating your telephony to the cloud with Microsoft Teams, but you don’t have to stop at your internal employee communications & collaboration. You can do the same for all of your comms platforms — from CCaaS like Genesys to UCaaS like Zoom and beyond.
To recap, here’s a handy checklist of what to look out for in a Direct Routing partner (and all other communications providers):
If you answered no to any of the above, don’t stop looking — you deserve a carrier that can deliver on all of your needs, not just some.
Get a Direct Routing partner who can do it all
Now that you’ve made it this far, let’s get to know each other. Bandwidth is an all-IP carrier with a global network powering the leading UCaaS, CCaaS, and Conferencing Solutions, including Google, Microsoft, Cisco, RingCentral, Genesys, and many others.
We offer voice/SIP trunking, emergency calling, and SMS with full PSTN replacement in 38+ countries and territories, which means you can consolidate your global carrier vendors down to one. We can integrate with many of the leading SIP-enabled platforms, on or off-prem.
We already power the Teams calling plans, and now we also offer BYOC with Microsoft Teams, as a Direct Routing partner. We integrate with all the Microsoft-certified SBCs, and we also offer a hosted solution, where we take care of the SBCs on your behalf.
Our BYOC offering isn’t exclusive to Teams alone. We also integrate with RingCentral, Genesys, and many other cloud-based comms platforms. It is our vision to be the universal platform that integrates with and connects all your communication apps, and we will keep working on adding more integrations, to support your future choices.
To learn more about Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams, check out these resources: