More companies embrace Direct Routing with Microsoft Teams
As the business landscape continues to evolve, driven by a rise in demand for remote and mobile working opportunities, solutions like Microsoft Teams have never been more popular. Just after the middle of March, the company announced that it had over 44 million daily active users online!
Now that companies are seeing the value of having collaboration tools at the centre of their communication stack, Teams isn’t just a place to chat and share files. Business leaders are also looking for a way to combine their Teams experience with business phone demands too. That’s where solutions like Direct Routing come in.
Pure IP, one of the market leaders in the provision of SIP trunking solutions for business voice, offers state-of-the-art Direct Routing solutions for Microsoft Teams. I spoke to the Commercial Director of Pure IP, Dave Smith, about the change that’s happening in the marketplace.
Dave is the person responsible for heading up the Cloud Enablement Team at Pure IP. In this role, he’s perfectly positioned to comment on the rising demand for Microsoft Teams Business Voice solutions. He told me that Pure IP has now been working with Microsoft for around 15 years, and the uptake in Microsoft solutions has never been more incredible.
“The sheer demand for Microsoft Teams is amazing. It took us all by surprise. Teams has surpassed anything that Skype has accomplished, and we think that’s because Teams is a Collaboration application with Voice, whereas Skype for Business is a Voice application with some Collaboration tools.”
According to Smith, Teams Voice is a money-saving opportunity for today’s companies. More than ever before, these organisations are deploying Teams into their landscape, and adding voice as part of the mix. “Microsoft did the perfect thing by adding Direct Routing into their portfolio so that companies can bring their own plans into the environment. We’ve been able to work with and assist customers to deploy voice in highly resilient environments, both nationally and globally.”
According to Smith, having a solution in place for Microsoft Business Voice makes a lot of sense for today’s business leaders. It’s a natural choice for organisations that already have Microsoft infrastructure in place, with Windows and Outlook as part of their daily operations.
“Because Microsoft Teams is built on Office 365, the voice and collaboration combination provides a comprehensive communication and collaboration tool set, complete with enterprise-grade security”
“Consolidating services and costs is very high on the agenda for most businesses, and it will become even more important going forward.”
As Microsoft Teams continues to look for ways to build productivity and reduce costs, Direct Routing is likely to become an even more popular option.
According to Smith, Direct Routing adoption spans across all verticals, in both the public and private sectors. It looks like most businesses today are already embracing the remote working, as Dave noted, and Teams with Direct Routing gives them the freedom to collaborate as flexibly as possible.
“Direct Routing offers two main things, global coverage, and lower costs. In terms of cost, Microsoft offers call plans, but they can appear expensive for some organisations in certain scenarios. It’s difficult for Microsoft to deliver something competitive for all companies. Direct Routing can offer a more affordable alternative, while allowing companies to meet with local regulatory requirements in your chosen marketplaces.”
Dave noted that Microsoft has always been straightforward about the fact that it’s not a voice-focused company. They recognise the challenges and market demands that are in place right now, and they want to make sure that organisations face no barriers in getting the full value of Teams. “Research and our own experiences suggest that between 80% and 90% of enterprise companies who have a Teams strategy will use Direct Routing for voice.”
Although Direct Routing opportunities do make it easier to move to Teams Voice, Dave told me that there is a degree of expertise required to get everything running properly. While a lot of companies have the IT capabilities required, they don’t have the voice specific experience necessary to make the voice system work perfectly for them.
“There are a lot of different ways to move into the cloud environment but having the guidance of a professional team with years of experience can make the process a lot simpler”
On top of that, Smith also recommends running pre-deployment checks and making sure that you understand the requirements of Teams before you get started.
Profiling users and creating migration plans ahead of time makes a lot of sense. Additionally, it’s essential to acknowledge that while the Microsoft Teams Voice solution has a lot to offer, by its own admission there are still a few feature gaps which can be resolved through integration with partner solutions. It is what makes the ‘bring your own’ model so strong and appealing.
Dave told me that the main reason to get Direct Routing as the path to Microsoft Voice is that it provides so much more flexibility for Teams. “Direct Routing allows you to have a lot more freedom, and more of a global presence too. It’s a very cost-efficient and versatile solution.”
Pure IP’s offering for Microsoft Teams Direct Routing is ultimately a Microsoft endorsed solution designed to help businesses unlock the full potential of the platform. The majority of the core capability still sits in the Microsoft environment but also gives businesses access to a secure, resilient and fully supported global voice network that can offer truly global coverage.
“We work with customers every step of the way to help them get the most out of the Microsoft Teams experience, from readiness and initial configuration support to the ongoing management of the voice services within Teams. We find that many customers value the ongoing support as a way of having the voice expertise on hand to provide guidance, and for taking ownership of issues – even tickets with Microsoft – to drive a prompt resolution to issues.”
Finally, I asked Smith if this kind of experience is expensive and complicated to get involved with. He told me that Pure IP takes almost all of the complexity away from the user. It also provides the company with the knowledge they need to get up to speed. “The cost of ownership is a lot lower overall, when compared to a traditional UC stack.”
Dave also noted that even in these troubling times, Pure IP and Microsoft Teams can continue to support companies in their migration to the cloud. “The deployment lead times are still very short, a matter of days, not months. The fact that we can deploy Direct Routing solutions remotely means that we can give customers access to the Microsoft Teams with Direct Routing solution without ever being on site.”