In April, we shared 5 things to know about MS Teams and how it can integrate with your new or existing communications technology. While MS Teams works great as an internal communication tool, it isn’t ideal for communicating with people outside of your office.
In order to use MS Teams outside of your own office, you can do one of 3 things.
The first way is to buy a calling plan directly from Microsoft, but it has many limitations. It usually isn’t the most cost-effective option, since you have to pay additional licensing costs based on users and where you want to make calls. Also, Teams-enabled phones tend to be more expensive than traditional VOIP hard phones and are not compatible with any other hosted VOIP solution. That means that if you purchase these phones to use with MS Teams and then want to switch to another hosted VOIP vendor, you have to buy new phones.
The second way is to set up direct routing, which means you have to buy hardware and enough SIP trunks (or IP call sessions) for the number of calls you expect to be making. It is the customer’s responsibility to set up and manage number porting, changing their phone numbers from the old provider to Microsoft. Direct routing also doesn’t give you redundancy that protects your phones from going down. In both of these first options, there is a lot of DIY and the burden of managing it falls on you (the quick start guide to MS Teams is 2,620 pages long alone….).
The third way is to engage a VOIP or UCaas vendor who has everything bundled. This is often the best and most cost-effective option for businesses. With a managed direct routing provider, you get a true phone vendor experience with the feature functionality of Teams. The vendor can give you all the integration to Teams, but has all of the telephony features that we are now used to, providing a seamless Teams experience. With this option, you only pay per seat. Additionally, you get the redundancies from working with a VOIP and/or UCaas vendor.
Here are 10 great vendors who offer MS Teams integration with managed direct routing capabilities.
While MS Teams is lacking in some features, “when combined with a VoIP, PBX, and Unified Communications service provider such as Simplicity VoIP, you can integrate missing features seamlessly into the Microsoft Teams platform that your company already uses,” says Amy Humphreys, VP of Marketing at Simplicity. This integration between MS Teams and VOIP allows you to use apps, make calls, and route calls all through the MS Teams interface.
“We are one of Microsoft’s first direct-routing partners so we have a lot of experience when it comes to Teams. We also have a fourth UCaas solution which we call CT Voice powered by our Meta Switch. We also offer three different contact center solutions including FiveNine, TelEx, and Clarity Connect,” said Rafael Renteria, Channel Sales Director – Midwest at CallTower during the Avant Special Forces Summit last year. CallTower is a Microsoft Gold Partner and committed to providing the highest quality user experienced through their managed MS Teams integrations.
“Mitel is a channel-first model. We are built on the Google Cloud to lower disruptions and keep the clock spinning. We try to innovate anywhere we can, and we have canned integrations, and that’s where our new Microsoft Teams integration is coming from. We like to offer a lot of solution choices including UCaas, CCaas, video conferencing and integrate that in based on your needs,” said Dan Nemechek, VP Sales Engineering – Americas for Mitel. They offer direct routing, web extensions directly from a router, and a third-party solution that integrates the phone system with Office 365.
“GoToConnect is our full UCC Stacked born-in-the cloud single stream call control. What that means is we have full control of the stack. That call control is US specific and distributed over seven data centers over the US network, fully meshed. We have two options, our back-end dialer and our direct-routing option to get the true, native Teams experience,” says Mike DesJardins, Solutions Consultant at LogMeIn. LogMeIn and GoToMeeting’s integration with MS Teams allows users to not only call using MS Teams, but organize meetings with up to 250 people.
CommandLink offers “UCaaS, CCaaS, SD-WAN, Security, Managed Services, Professional Services, and a proprietary SaaS Platform for SMB, Mid-Market, and Enterprise businesses.” Their UCaaS platform is based on MetaSwitch, which Microsoft acquired. MetaSwitch’s direct routing allows MS Teams callers to us the public switch telephone network (PSTN), integrating Teams directly into the regular telephone network.
Vonage’s MS Teams integration goes beyond just voice. You don’t have to leave the Teams interface to make phone calls, send text messages, and multimedia messages. Vonage allows you to keep your current phone system, maintaining phone numbers and equipment.
Not limited to the United States, Masergy MS Teams integration offers users calling in 25 countries. Rather than a cost-per-user, Masergy offers a “pay-for-what-you-use” calling plan. Their fully-managed plan also provides companies with performance monitoring and real-time analytics.
RingCentral integrates the phone system with their software and MS Teams. This allows users to make outbound calls and start RingCentral video calls.
Last year, cbts integrated their Cisco-Broadworks powered voice solution with MS Teams. “Using Microsoft Direct Route as a bridge, this powerful integration unifies Microsoft Teams with the robust public branch exchange (PBX) features, flexibility, and reliability offered by CBTS,” they wrote when announcing the tech. This offers users a variety of functionalities, including e-911, API integrations, mass notifications, contact center, and more.
“8×8 is a global, award-winning platform solution for single unified service, communication center as a service (UCaas), and communication platform as a service… We have the ability to integrate a number of solutions as well as provide the analytics that drive customer behavior, intelligent decision-making, and customer experience,” said Jamaal Savwoir, Director and Sales Engineer at 8×8. With their voice integration, offices that use MS Teams can receive and make calls all over the world with the native Teams dialer.
These providers integrate their technology with MS Teams for a seamless experience. If you are interested in making your phone technology work with MS Teams, contact us today and find out which MS Teams integration is right for your business.