Modern Workplace

Voice Enabling Your Teams Deployment – Remote Work is Here to Stay

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Hello? Can You Hear Me? 

Love it or hate it, the hybrid work environment is here to stay. This dispersion of workers means that now, more than ever, there is a need for effective communication across devices, from anywhere at any time. 

Remote workers aside, there are a number of other questions you should be asking yourself to enable the most efficient communication processes for your business:   

  • Is your legacy infrastructure (old PABX systems, dated telephony infrastructure, etc) nearing the end of its life?
  • Do you want to reduce costs using Least Cost Routing of calls (mobile vs. landline)?
  • Do you need a single communication platform for all types of communication i.e., chat, video, calls, telephony/voice?
  • Are you considering additional add-ons/tools to enhance the experience i.e., call recording for compliance/legal reasons?
  • Is quality of service i.e., uptime, voice quality, availability across devices, paramount? 

Microsoft Teams offers some nifty calling solutions that provide answers to the questions above.  

  • Microsoft Calling Plans is now available in South Africa and offers a single call rate regardless of number. This is a great option for smaller organizations that do not currently have any telephony/voice infrastructure
  • Teams Direct Routing – You’ve already rolled out Teams with chat, teams, channels, and apps across your organization. You may also have deployed Meetings and Conferencing. Now you’re ready to add voice workloads, and you’ve decided to use your own telephony carrier for Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) connectivity by using Phone System with Direct Routing. With Direct Routing, you can use Phone System with virtually any telephony carrier
  • Operator Connect is a new operator-managed service for bringing PSTN calling to Teams. Simple and quick to deploy, Operator Connect is essentially like Calling Plans but provided by 3rd party providers through the Microsoft Teams Admin center

Operator Connect unlocks several important benefits that you can: 

  • You keep your preferred operator and contracts or choose a new one from a selection of participating operators to meet your business needs 
  • Your operator manages the PSTN calling services and Session Border Controllers (SBCs), allowing you to save on hardware purchase and management 
  • You can quickly connect to your operator and assign phone numbers to users – all from the Teams admin center 
  • Operators provide technical support and shared service level agreements to improve support service, while direct peering powered by Azure creates a one-to-one network connection for enhanced reliability 

Operator Connect has launched in South Africa, and admins will be able to open the “Operators” tab in the Teams Admin Center, where qualified operators will be listed. Admins can then select their preferred operator and connect calling services, at which point they can acquire phone numbers from these operators and assign them to their users. 

And, just like that, your business has a brand new calling system!  

How can Mint help you to enable one of these solutions? 

Making the decision to use a Microsoft-powered solution to support your business is an easy one. But once the decision is made, what is your next step?  

Be sure to use a system integrator with the right credentials and experience. Ask yourself: 

  • Can they enable direct routing for their customers – both self-hosted and multi-tenanted hosted SBC – in partnership with a telephony provider? 
  • Do they use this system in their own organization? 
  • Can they port all your existing numbers to the service? 
  • Are they able to provide hardware to enhance the calling experience (including hardware from all the major brands – Jabra, Poly, Logitech, etc.? 
  • Is this a one-stop-shop – licensing, services to deploy and configure, hardware, as well as training to maximize your ROI? 
  • Can they also enable your boardrooms on Teams, and enable them for voice calling? 

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, you may be looking in the wrong place. Make sure you pick a partner that can get you making and taking calls without delay.   

Henri Fourie
Head of Clients, Mint Group. Bringing a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the Microsoft 365 technology space, Henri serves as Head of Clients for Mint Group, ensuring clients' modern workplace roadmaps are paved for success. With previous career experience working as a solution sales professional (SSP) for Microsoft, Henri is well equipped to lead clients’ digital transformation journeys through Microsoft 365 technologies, enhancing employee experiences and organizational productivity.

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