Teams Direct Routing for MSP Revenue

Teams Direct Routing for MSP Revenue

By Gary Audin

Your customers may already have Teams as part of Microsoft 365. They may be considering Teams for their collaboration efforts. As an MSP, it is difficult to compete with Teams, but you can offer revenue-producing support services for Teams.

Your customers need to consider connecting to the PSTN and mobile services. That is where direct routing comes in to expand communications and to reach users who are outside the Teams landscape.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a persistent chat-based collaboration platform that includes document sharing, online meetings, and other useful features for business communications. There over half-a-million companies using teams with more than 115 million active users. It is deployed in 181 markets and by most of the Fortune 100 and is very popular with organizations with 10,000 or more users. It also is now becoming common in the SMB market. Teams supports 44 languages.

Microsoft Teams is a proprietary business communications platform developed by Microsoft, as part of the office 365 family of application, which also includes common applications like Word, Excel, Outlook, and SharePoint. Teams competes with other similar UC services, offering workspace chat, voice and video conferencing, file storage, and application integration. Teams replaces other previous versions of Microsoft-operated business messaging and collaboration platforms, including Skype for Business. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Teams, and other software solutions gained much interest as many meetings moved to a virtual environment.

Teams as a Collaboration Tool

Collaboration is the process of two or more people, entities, or organizations working together to complete a task or achieve a goal. Individuals that work collaboratively often access greater resources, recognition, and rewards when facing competition for finite resources.

Structured methods of collaboration encourage cooperative behavior and communication. These aim to increase successes as they engage in community problem-solving.

Collaboration is a purposeful relationship in which all parties choose to cooperate in order to accomplish a shared outcome.

Collaboration tools are one of the most important aspects of any successful business strategy for organizations of all sizes. Collaboration means something different for every organization, though, depending heavily upon products and services rendered and business goals.

Collaboration applications include cloud-based tools for web conferencing, team collaboration, social business platform, project and event management, eSignature, and sharing of community online resources. Collaboration applications also include tools for voice and video conferencing, email, group calendaring, and scheduling discussions.

Direct Routing for Teams

Direct Routing is a way to provide a public switched telephone network (PSTN) connection to Microsoft Teams users so they can make and receive external phone calls on any device using Teams.

Microsoft Teams, operating through Office 365, can use the internal collaboration systems to make, receive, and manage calls from mobile phones and landlines.

Direct Routing is another way to connect Microsoft’s Phone System to the PSTN via an existing PBX, or Unified Communications system, or a third-party telephony provider or a Microsoft calling plan. The provider offers the necessary cloud infrastructure to route incoming and outgoing external calls to Microsoft Teams.

Why Direct Routing

Direct Routing offers greater flexibility, broader geographic coverage, lower rates, and increased levels of support than Teams calling plans. There are two possible choices when using Teams for a PSTN call:

  • Microsoft’s Phone System and Calling Plans
  • Direct Routing

Note that switching from an existing PSTN carrier may result in a penalty, and existing carrier calling plans may be cheaper than a calling plan from Microsoft.

Direct Routing enables a Session Border Controller to mediate between the on-premises PSTN or SIP trunk and the Microsoft Teams service

How Direct Routing Works

Direct routing uses an Internet connection from the Microsoft Teams platform connecting a customer PBX or unified Communications platform or a service that supports direct routing. The MSP SBC and/or provider have to be certified as interoperable with Teams.

The MSP has a session border controller that can connect to PSTN access lines or trunks. This connection allows Teams callers to communicate to wired and wireless PSTN devices.

Edited by Erik Linask
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