When you need to provision phone numbers on Microsoft Teams, it’s no secret that the process is *less than great*.
It’s not Microsoft’s fault and it’s not your fault. It’s simply the nature of the beast.
Until now (spoiler alert), there has been no way to genuinely automate Microsoft Teams number provisioning.
In this post, we’re going to introduce the three most viable ways to provision numbers on Teams. We’re massively biased about the third option as we’ve built a self-service portal with the purpose of automating Microsoft Teams provisioning.
That said, we recognize some companies won’t need our product. So, in the interest of education, let’s run through all your options for Teams number provisioning.
Microsoft Teams number provisioning options
When it comes to number management and provisioning in Teams, you have three main options depending on your phone system connectivity.
1 – Teams Admin Center (TAC)
The Teams Admin Center provides some number management and provisioning features if you use either Microsoft Calling Plans or Operator Connect. In the Teams Admin Center, you can view a list of the numbers allocated to your Teams tenant by Microsoft or your chosen Operator(s).
From the Admin Center, you can assign numbers to users and resource accounts using the web interface, or for automation purposes, PowerShell.
Benefits of using the Teams Admin Center for number provisioning include:
- Uses native Microsoft functions to provision, reducing manual errors
- Numbers stored in the same portal as your Teams user settings
- Can order more numbers from Microsoft directly in the TAC
- Can convert numbers between service and user types
Disadvantages of using the Teams Admin Center for number provisioning:
- Must create your own automated provisioning scripts
- Not user-friendly for searching and filtering numbers
- No support for Direct Routing number management
- Can’t categorize numbers
- Can’t reserve numbers
- No built-in automation
|Suitable for||Not suitable for|
|Companies using only Calling Plans or Operator Connect||Companies using Direct Routing|
|Companies with less than 200 numbers||Companies that own 1000s of numbers|
|Companies with manual provisioning processes||Companies who rely on various levels of automation in their JML processes|
|Companies that have multiple phone systems sharing numbers|
2 – Excel spreadsheet
It seems bonkers that, in 2023, we’re still reliant on spreadsheets as a database of our enterprise phone numbers.
Yet, enterprises still rely on these today as their primary register for their owned number ranges.
If you use Direct Routing for your Teams phone system connection, you will no doubt be using an Excel sheet or SharePoint List to keep track of your numbers and assignments.
Because the Teams Admin Center doesn’t allow you to add your own numbers to its number management solution.
Depending on how much you have thought about this, you may have created your own PowerShell scripts to find all numbers assigned to users in Teams and update your Excel sheet automatically.
If not, then you (or your team) are doing this manually after each change, right?
Or maybe not…
Without an integrated and automated number management solution for Direct Routing, you are leaving your organization open to inefficiencies. It will take longer to assign numbers with outdated information.
What if you are using all three connectivity methods?
(Calling Plans, Operator Connect, and Direct Routing.)
Your number management is all over the place.
|Suitable for||Not suitable for|
|Businesses with multiple connectivity methods||Businesses with overworked IT departments|
|People who adore spreadsheets||Businesses with weak internal documentation processes|
|Businesses that have in house skills to create and manage scripts||Businesses that have a lot of change (user moves, adds, deletes)|
So, what is the alternative?
3 – Number management solution from Callroute
Using Callroute’s number management solution, you can add your Direct Routing numbers and synchronize your Calling Plan and Operator Connect number ranges directly from your Teams tenant.
No matter what connectivity types you have, you can use our number management solution to provision and track your user numbers.
If you use Microsoft Calling Plan and/or Operator Connect for your Teams phone system, you can easily add these ranges to Callroute by pressing the Sync Numbers button.
Synchronization takes only a few seconds, and we automatically group your numbers into ranges using their metadata received from Teams.
This means all your numbers, whether they are contiguous or sporadic, are merged automatically together in a single range if they are from the same area code, city, and provider.
Numbers that are already assigned to users and resource accounts are updated with their assignments so that you can easily see what number is assigned to a particular user.
If you use Direct Routing for your phone system connection, you can add your ranges directly into the Callroute number management feature. When user synchronization is performed, numbers are updated with their assignment.
Going further into number management, you can assign tags to numbers across ranges to make them searchable and assignable in different circumstances.
Of course, you are also able to assign phone numbers to your users directly in the Callroute portal.
With Callroute number management, you have all of the benefits of number management provided by the Teams Admin Center and none of the downsides.
|Suitable for||Not suitable for|
|Businesses with 200+ users||Businesses with less than 200 users|
|Businesses that need more automation without scripts or code||Businesses that want to make life harder for themselves|
|Businesses with more than one phone connection type (DR, Calling Plans, Operator Connect)|
|Businesses that use more than Microsoft Teams as their phone system|
|Businesses that need to categorize numbers|
|Businesses with 1000s of different numbers with different providers|
How to assign a phone number using Callroute number management
Callroute number management is a 100% cloud SaaS solution with no software to install. You will need to authenticate Callroute to your Teams tenant, but that’s it.
Once you have added and synchronized your numbers and users, you can start assigning numbers to your users.
To do this, navigate to the Numbers page, search for a number, or select a number from a particular range.
Press the cogwheel icon next to the number and then choose which user to assign the number to and press assign.
That’s it. Sit back and watch the magic happen.
How to assign a phone number and a voice routing policy to a user
The previous section was the simplest of scenarios. But what if you also need to assign a specific dial plan and voice routing policy to a user?
You can do this by creating a user persona that contains the dial plan and voice routing policy you want to assign.
Find the user from your user list and click the cogwheel icon. From the persona drop down, select the persona you just created.
Select the number range to pick the next free number from.
Now you will be able to choose what number to assign to the user. Once chosen, press Save.
Sit back and wait for Callroute to apply those changes directly to the user in Teams.
How to pre-select the right phone number for the user
In the case where you want to assign a phone number from a particular segment of a number range to a user, you can use number tags and user personas together.
First, tag the numbers in the segment you want to use. Call the tag whatever you want, e.g. “customer service”.
Next, go to the user persona you created, choose the number range the segment is part of, and select the tag you created, e.g., customer service, and press Save.
Now, when you go to your user and select the user persona, the next free number from that segment is chosen for you and all you need to do is confirm. You can override the selection at this stage if you wish.
But how do I automate this?
Now you have added your numbers, created your tags and personas, you are ready to automate.
Using Callroute’s auto-provisioning solution, you can use your Azure AD user attributes to create condition logic that will automatically apply a user persona to matching users, including phone numbers.
Our automated provisioning is an admin hands-off solution that runs automatically every hour.
This means that you no longer have to spend hours every day assigning Teams policies and wondering what numbers you have available to assign to the next new starter.
If you agree that number provisioning and auto-provisioning go hand-in-hand, try Callroute here.