What is Microsoft Teams Direct Routing and is it good for your business?

I’m Max, CEO of ITBroker.com, and what do you need to know about Microsoft Teams Direct routing? The first thing is: what licensing that you need to support. Microsoft has changed recently. What licenses are available to voice-enable Microsoft Teams? 

There is a difference between their E1 and E licenses and how those relate, and licensing that allows you just to add a voice queue on top of it. So depending on what license you have, you might have the ability to have an embedded voice license already from Microsoft, or you might need to go and actually add the voice license to it. 

So you have the Microsoft licensing, you have the Microsoft voice license and then you have your actual service provider costs: your phone numbers and your ability to make and receive phone calls. So now these become the three licensing requirements or cost components that come into Microsoft Teams.  Now when we start looking at service providers and we start talking about this with our customers, there’s really three ways a service provider can integrate with Microsoft Teams…  There’s really two ways, but the third way is a nuance, so I’m going to say three ways.  

  1. The first way is by using an app and overlay a bot, you hear different terminology for this. Basically what it is: is the service provider, the UCaaS vendor has their softphone running on your desktop and it has an application that can run inside of Microsoft Teams. So when you open up Microsoft Teams on your desktop, you can see and open up and see that app and you can make and receive phone calls inside of that app.  
    Now how would you know if this is an app or native integration? Well, if you’re using an app, the first big thing is, you actually have to load the app inside of Teams. The second thing is, you can’t make and receive phone calls using Microsoft Teams on your cell phone. So if you open up your cell phone and you open up the Microsoft Teams app, can you make and receive phone calls using that app on your cell phone?
    That’s a really big tell of a non-native integration of Microsoft Teams for voice versus the native integration with direct routing. 
  2. Now direct routing: Direct routing just takes and actually provides that voice enablement of Microsoft Teams. This is where your auto tenant, your IVR hunt groups, voicemail, the ability to make and receive phone calls, ALL comes in natively inside of the Microsoft Teams environment. And Microsoft Teams, in addition to becoming your video and collaboration tool, becomes your voice tool, it’s actually an incredibly powerful solution. It’s something that we really like with our customers.  
  3. The nuance with direct routing becomes the SPC:  there are vendors in the market that will say that they’re direct routing service providers and they support Microsoft Teams, and what they won’t tell you up front is that you actually have to go out and spend thousands of dollars to purchase a session border controller, to purchase SPCs, and to host them. You need to put these things somewhere connected to the Internet. You need to make sure they’re running, that they’re configured correctly that they’re secure, they’re patched, that they don’t go down, because if they go down your voice goes down. 
    So while there’s lots of service providers that are taking this little “hack,” let’s call it, to support Microsoft Teams, they’re displacing the requirement to actually managing a key part of that infrastructure onto the customer.  

Now, within the actual direct routing partners and service providers that support Microsoft Teams, direct routing that host the SPC for you, now we get into other nuances within those service providers: whether or not they’re CSP (meaning that they can support you with your Microsoft 365 licensing) and the environment that can actually help you administer and configure the system, whether they can support your physical endpoints, can they sell you endpoints, lease you endpoints, configure the endpoints for you? Can they support your conference room devices? These sorts of things… 

So if you’re looking at Microsoft Teams direct routing, give us a call at ITBroker.com and we will match your unique business with the correct service provider for you so your business wins.