Jan 13 2023

Microsoft Teams Phone System Adds Call Routing to the Platform

In the era of digital work, small businesses strive to consolidate their communication systems.

Many businesses are opting for collaboration platforms to accommodate a globally distributed workforce. But where do phone systems fit in?

For small businesses in particular, phones play a valuable role in customer interactions, which is why they need an agile and integrated option. The Microsoft Teams Phone System is one solution. It’s a full-fledged PBX that handles call routing and switching between a business and the telephone network.

Microsoft has long been attuned to the nuances of business communications, and this system is no exception. In fact, Microsoft Teams, which launched five years ago, now has 270 million users.

With Teams Phone System, you don’t need to buy any physical phone device to operate. It syncs with your contacts, call centers, recordings and voicemails, and can be accessed from your laptop or smartphone. You can also work with CDW to integrate the call center system into your office landline or conference system.

Setting up Microsoft Teams Phone System

To get started, businesses need to connect the Teams Phone System — a virtual PBX that’s hosted by Microsoft in the cloud — to the public telephone network. That requires using Microsoft Calling Plans or setting up Teams Direct Routing.

Essentially, it’s a three-step process: You buy a license from Microsoft, select a calling plan, and work with your Microsoft partner for implementation.

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The Difference Between Microsoft Calling Plans and Direct Routing

Microsoft Calling Plans are provided on per user, per month, and consist of a phone number for domestic or international inbound calls and a bundle of minutes for outbound calls.

The plans run entirely in the cloud, which means that Microsoft acts as the public switched telephone network (PSTN) service carrier and provides the connection from the phone system to the public telephone network.

Microsoft Teams Direct Routing connects Microsoft's Phone System to the public telephone network. The difference is that managed service providers help with licensing and setup. 

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Why Purchase a Microsoft Teams Phone System?

There are several benefits to using Teams Phone System that businesses should consider.

  • Consolidate your communications: Continue phone calls across locations and keep conversations organized across devices.
  • Connect with your team globally: With a cloud-based infrastructure, phone communications can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
  • Easily access PSTN service: Use your own existing PSTN access or buy access as an additional feature directly from Microsoft.
  • Benefit from flexible calling plans: Customize phone connectivity; for example, some departments could be limited to communicating internally, while others might be allowed to make domestic calls but not international ones.

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The Benefits of Working with a Microsoft Partner

If you’re implementing a Microsoft phone plan across your business, working with a Microsoft partner can streamline the process. Customers can evaluate the system before purchasing to customize a solution that meets their requirements. Selecting the right calling plan will help unlock the full potential of the system.

A Microsoft partner can also help you avoid device incompatibilities, so you experience crystal-clear sound quality. Although some businesses mix and match products offered by Microsoft and similar companies, such as Cisco, Microsoft phone plans typically work best with Microsoft products.

Lastly, a partner can deploy the entire system for you — from licensing and integrations to troubleshooting — adding ease and speed to the process.

This article is part of BizTech's AgilITy blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #SmallBizIT hashtag.

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