The journey from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams is an important issue on the minds of enterprise leaders. In fact, the decision of how to launch the journey has been a hot topic ever since the company announced their decision to transform their flagship platform.
In March 2018, Microsoft gave their community a little more information about the strategies they can use to move to Microsoft Teams with their “Direct Routing” reveal. The technology leaders announced that they were upgrading their Enterprise Voice strategy with direct routing as one of the plans for customers to use in Microsoft Teams.
The question is, how will direct routing help your organisation to migrate into the next stage of the Microsoft experience?
Direct Routing and Microsoft Teams
Microsoft’s “direct routing” function allows the use of 3rd party PSTN trunks to make and receive regular phone calls from Microsoft Teams. In the standard deployment model, this means that customers start with SIP trunks from a telecoms provider, then configure a supported SBC (Session Border Controller) from a Microsoft certified provider like AudioCodes. Finally, they’ll connect their SBC into the Teams strategy and phone system and enjoy an enhanced communication and collaboration strategy.
Microsoft introduced direct routing as a way to access Teams as part of its “Intelligent Communications” makeover for it’s range of UC products. As of June 28th, after a successful public preview period, this service is now generally available and and can be used by any Office 365 user.
To take advantage of Direct Routing, Microsoft customers will need a Microsoft Teams account and the “Phone Systems” solution as part of their Office 365 strategy. They’ll also need their own SBC (session border controller) and telecommunications service. You’ll need to ensure that the SBC comes from a source approved by Microsoft and there’s only a handful of these certified vendors out there, including AudioCodes – an organisation devoted to state-of-the-art UC&C and simplifying the move to the cloud.
Customers already using AudioCodes infrastructure to connect their PBX and Skype for Business systems with Phone System will be in an excellent position when the switch takes place. After all, you’ll already have all the resources you need to repurpose and reconfigure your existing infrastructure into a Microsoft Teams-ready environment. If, on the other hand, your network isn’t set up with AudioCodes technology, or it needs an upgrade, there’s a huge selection of certified SBCs to choose from in the AudioCodes portfolio.
Transitioning to Teams with AudioCodes SBCs
Direct Routing provides a way for enterprises of all shapes and sizes to connect to an SBC device from a reputable provider and continue to use their own telco systems with Microsoft Teams. According to Microsoft, organisations may choose to use direct routing if they want to stick with their existing PSTN contract, or they don’t have calling plans available that would facilitate a simple change in their location. Additionally, if you want to continue supporting analogue devices, direct routing will allow for that.
Of course, the first step is finding the right SBC partner to support your direct routing needs.
AudioCodes SBCs have been carefully designed to offer direct SIP connectivity for enterprises who want to bridge the gap between Microsoft Teams and their existing communication infrastructure. The AudioCodes “Mediant” Session Border Controllers for Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business offer extensive scalability, reliability, and interoperability for organisations making the critical move to cloud or hybrid services.
What’s more, AudioCodes, through its extensive partner network, offers complete end-to-end packages for implementing your Teams switchover, including project management solutions, planning and design, and even implementation strategies for the Mediant SBC portfolio. The direct routing solutions come with:
- Support for hybrid UC migration
- Full certification from Microsoft
- Secure SIP connectivity
- The ability to optimise voice quality and preserve bandwidth
- Integrated support services
Simplifying Hybrid Voice with AudioCodes
For AudioCodes, Microsoft’s decision to implement direct routing solutions represents an incredible opportunity to showcase how their customers can plug on-premises technology into the versatility of the cloud. AudioCodes MediaPack analogue adapters even offer an additional route into the Microsoft Teams environment, by allowing companies to communicate over the flagship technology with their analogue devices.
Alternatively, sites that don’t have an SBC connection to the open internet and Teams still have options available to them with AudioCodes. Their SBC solution can serve dual functions in these cases, performing both as a centralised hub hosting the infrastructure for the enterprise, and as a spoke at a site with a PSTN local breakout. AudioCodes has strategies in place to make almost any hybrid journey possible.
There are even solutions for those driven by local regulations that require calls to be routed specifically according to the location of a user. With AudioCodes SBCs in your Teams and communication environment, AudioCodes users can access their network to make intelligent decisions based on the IP addresses of end users. This can be critical in instances involving emergency calls and requests.
The AudioCodes One Voice Solutions
The close relationship they hold with Microsoft makes AudioCodes an obvious partner in the journey from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. The AudioCodes One Voice for Microsoft 365 solution offers a unified strategy to simplify and improve company access to their collaboration and communication implementations.
The “One Voice” service includes a host of Microsoft-Qualified end-to-end services from AudioCodes, including “One Source” for voice network elements, the “One Expert Team” for voice professional services, and the “One Point of Contact” for extensive post-sale voice support.
These products are suitable to support any company on the journey to Microsoft Teams, regardless of whether your architecture is on-premises, hybrid, or cloud-based. AudioCodes users can simply choose their Microsoft Teams deployment strategy and use AudioCodes products to decide how they want their communication system to look when they make the switch to future-proof their business.
Whether it’s on-premises support for Skype for Business and Teams or embracing the direct routing option for your Teams transition, find out what AudioCodes can offer you today.
Ewan Haig, Country manager of AudioCodes UK: “We are really excited about Microsoft Direct Routing. It creates an excellent opportunity for us and our partners and provides great benefits for our customers. Pre-Teams, Microsoft’s cloud offering (SfB on-line) required an instance of CCE to be installed in the customer’s environment to connect their SIP trunk(s). For most businesses this was not cost-effective. Direct routing completely removes those economic barriers as it’s simply a direct connection from the SBC. And, as our SBCs can be fully virtualised they can be procured with just a few sessions at a really competitive price point, which we think could well prove to be a game changer.”
“In the case of service providers, our SBCs can be easily multi-tenanted which opens up a whole new business opportunity for them to sell Microsoft Teams connected voice services very cost effectively. Previously with SfB on-line and the constraints of CCE this opportunity did not exist, so Direct Routing really is opening up exciting new possibilities for all.”
Interested? If you want to give Direct Routing for Teams a test run you can contact AudioCodes direct for a free download of their certified virtual SBC with a helpful quickstart guide.