As Microsoft Teams becomes the leading platform not just for meetings and collaboration, but for cloud PBX too, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need for a complete calling experience.
In this blog post, we detail some vital things you need to know about Microsoft Teams PBX integration if you’re tasked with managing your phone system in the Microsoft ecosystem.
Before we dive in, let’s address one of the most-asked questions about PBX integration with Microsoft Teams…
What VoIP systems integrate with Microsoft Teams?
In a world where Microsoft Teams has achieved near domination of the collaboration market, it makes total sense for VoIP providers to develop a “for Teams” offering.
Here are the providers who publicize their Teams integrations:
- GoTo Connect
- VIS Centralino
- Trring Me
There are also 70+ Operator Connect partners who offer the ability to use their telecoms service to bill the calls while you use Microsoft Teams Phone as the phone system. You can also use the Direct Routing option, where telcos can use approved SBCs to provide voice connectivity from on-premises phone systems.
Suggested reading: Direct Routing Vs Operator Connect: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need
Your options for PBX integration with Microsoft Teams
There are two ways to achieve PBX integration with Teams. Microsoft offers an in-house solution that enables users to place phone calls from Teams and provides some PBX control capabilities. However, third-party solutions offer more sophistication.
Option 1: Microsoft Phone System and Calling Plan
If you want to make a phone call through Microsoft Teams, your gateway to many telephony capabilities is the Microsoft Phone System.
This is included in the Microsoft E5 package but needs to be purchased as an add-on license with the Microsoft E1 and E3 plans.
The diagram below should help, but there is a wide range of purchase possibilities depending on your specific Microsoft package.
Phone System doesn’t allow you to place calls on it’s own.
For that, you need Microsoft Calling Plan (or Direct Routing — see option 2).
Calling Plan encompasses a number of minute packages (both international and domestic) that enable you to place calls using Phone System from Teams.
With Microsoft Calling Plan, Phone System becomes your PBX.
In fact, Microsoft directly compares Phone System to a PBX — stating “Phone System gives you PBX capabilities, but without the complicated and expensive equipment.”
Realistically, Phone System leaves a lot to be desired as a PBX.
While it does have standard menus to route callers using call forwarding and transfer/caller ID and voicemail, Phone System lacks the following capabilities:
- Standard call recording: This can be a problem for quality and usage monitoring and controls as well as proof of compliance.
- Call usage and individual statistical reporting: There is no current way to manage users and costs and monitor system use/abuse on an individual level.
- Limited high-volume call management: The call queuing system is limited in the number of callers in the queue and wait times. Routing options are limited, and callers cannot be linked to IVR response, resulting in caller frustration and disconnects.
- Microsoft compatible devices required: Microsoft Phone System and Calling Plan limit users to selected compatible devices.
The bottom line is that Phone System enables you to place PSTN calls like a PBX, but does not offer the same call control capabilities you would expect from a PBX. If you simply want to add calling capabilities to Teams, Phone System and Calling Plan will deliver. But Phone System doesn’t offer the full spectrum of capabilities that businesses need to replace an existing business phone system and PBX with Teams.
Option 2: Direct Routing
Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams enables you to bypass Calling Plan and integrate Teams with a standard PBX and PSTN carrier.
You still need a Phone System license. However, it simply becomes a prerequisite license, rather than the actual control tool used within your system.
What this delivers is a fully functional PBX integrated with Teams.
Direct Routing is the best option to deliver all of the capabilities and features you would expect from a standard PBX, allowing you to fully unify your communications infrastructure.
But Direct Routing can be complicated and requires making the right third-party choices.
Realistically, the specifics of your Direct Routing solution are going to vary based on the provider.
Traditionally, integration and set-up can be complex and lengthy — taking up to a week to configure.
However, this is something that we set out to change.
Getting Microsoft Teams PBX integration right
If you’re using Microsoft Teams as your PBX, but have another calling provider in another location, you need to know about Callroute.
You can connect any carrier in any country to Microsoft Teams.
- VoIP providers
- Unified communications as a service
- Contact center as a service
- Global carriers
It also includes all Microsoft’s calling options like Operator Connect, Direct Routing, and Calling Plan.
With our self-service platform, you get complete management of numbers, PSTN connections, and carriers. You can even configure individual users, including personas and phone numbers.
Once you connect your platforms, you get access to helpful PBX features like:
- Automatic failover
- Make a routing decision on a per-number basis
- Make calls in minutes with automated one-click deployment
- Automated number provisioning for Microsoft Teams users
Inside Callroute, you get access to our auto-provisioning tool.
Here, you can save time and money on manual processes by creating unique persona templates for pre-approved roles.
Instead of losing hours remedying erroneous provisioning tickets, you just assign the role. Instead of wasting $1,000s of staff time, automation takes care of your menial tasks.
Consolidate your PSTN connections and connect your phone systems to make on-net calls. Move users between your phone systems and keep their original number. Callroute is the tool that finally makes Teams calling easy.
Our unique technology automates deployment via a self-serve portal, meaning you are making calls in just a few minutes.
There’s no need to migrate providers and no need to change devices. You get simple, self-service access and can save around 40% on your calling costs while removing the complexities from your call management processes.