More than 95 million people took up Microsoft Teams as their main collaboration software in 2020. With companies still prioritising remote work, programs like Teams are essential for smooth operations.
But what if your business needs to make regular phone calls to clients? Are phones and landlines incompatible with Teams?
Luckily, no. Direct routing is a useful Teams feature that lets you enjoy both the benefits of Teams while sending and receiving phone calls from outside parties.
In this article, we’ll be outlining what direct routing is and how it can help your business when using Microsoft Teams.
What is Microsoft Teams?
So what is Microsoft Teams? Why are so many companies so crazy about it?
Microsoft Teams is a proprietary business communication platform developed by the titular company. It’s part of their Microsoft 365 family of products as a hub for teamwork and collaboration.
What that means is that you can use Teams to facilitate conversations, messages, files, and other documents with your co-workers online. It’s all shared in a single workplace that you can access from anywhere.
On top of file storage, you can hold video conferencing meetings with your teammates using the platform. It’s become one of the premier business collaboration tools in the past few years partially because of its abundant benefits.
Benefits of Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams gives your business an alternative to slow and often inefficient email conversations. Instead of email correspondence, you can use Teams to directly message a co-worker or create a group chat between project members.
This makes for quicker and more efficient conversations. Faster communications translate to more productivity and even a better office culture.
Teams also give you planner tools and integrations with other Microsoft programs. Sharing documents like presentation slides and spreadsheets are made much easier this way.
You can schedule meetings with your co-workers much easier. This is important especially since many businesses are still operating remotely.
Teams is also mobile-friendly, so your team can join calls on the go if need be.
Direct Routing in Microsoft Teams: What is It?
It’s clear that Microsoft Teams is a great tool for calling people within your organisation. The question still stands: “what if I need to call someone outside of my company?”
Luckily, the direct routing feature helps you do just that. Direct routing allows you to leverage the call functions on Teams to communicate with clients and stakeholders outside of your organisations.
You can call people outside other than your company’s Team participants and even receive calls. Let’s look at exactly what Microsoft Teams brings to your business here:
What Direct Routing Isn’t
Simply put, direct routing is a way to connect your Teams network to the PTSN, or the world’s circuit-switched telephone networks.
Direct routing provides most of the same features as a regular phone call. Once integrated, your Teams members can use it to call clients just like they would with a phone.
What you can’t do is conduct video calls, screen share, or many of Teams’ other functions. It’s restricted to just phone calls.
Benefits of Direct Routing in Microsoft Teams
Direct routing helps consolidate different needs and programs for your administrative team. Instead of fumbling around between Teams’ many features and their phones, direct routing puts it all together into a single portal.
This reduces confusion and makes life easier for your team.
It also gives your team members even more mobility. They can call practically all relevant stakeholders through direct routing from anywhere using Teams.
Call forwarding costs will be reduced even when your workers are on the road. It also simplifies employee training since it’s a relatively simple process.
If you’ve been working with a trusted carrier for years, you can easily integrate contacts and other functions into Teams using direct routing. This provides more flexibility for your business.
What You Need for Direct Routing in Microsoft Teams
Now that you know the benefits of direct routing, it’s important to go over how to use Teams with direct routing.
You first need a paid subscription to Microsoft 365 or Office 365. For each user you want to deploy, you’ll need individual Microsoft phone system licenses as well.
A SIP trunk is essential here, as they act as virtual versions of analogue phone lines. It helps connect your phone line to the public phone network.
You’ll also need a Session Border Controller or SBC. An SBC is a special-purpose device that protects and regulates IP communications.
SBCs create a secure connection between your SIP and VoIP network. In other words, it makes sure your calls are properly being carried out through Teams.
There are other optional things you can implement to improve your direct routing on Teams.
Audio conferencing licenses provide dial-in numbers for Team meetings. Handsets are often purchased for boardrooms or for receptionists using direct routing.
How to Use Direct Routing in Microsoft Teams
Do you have all the materials needed to set up direct routing? Great!
To configure it for your business, you first need to connect your SBC to direct routing. This is done by using the Microsoft Teams admin centre.
You’ll have to connect to Skype through PowerShell then connect the SBC to the tenant.
Then, you have to enable users for direct routing. This step includes creating a user and assigning the license.
You’ll also have to configure voice routing as well as translating numbers to the correct format.
Once direct routing is set up, Teams users can use a dial pad embedded in the Calls tab to set up phone calls. External calls are presented like Team calls and answer the same exact way.
You can also hold, transfer and park calls just like you would with a landline connection. Voicemail and call-forwarding can also be set up under Settings.
Leverage Direct Routing on Microsoft Teams Today
If your company needs reliable collaboration software but also need to make calls, Microsoft Teams is the way to go. Use this guide to properly set up your direct routing system while enjoying the other benefits of Teams.
Looking for reliable IT, telecom, and other business solutions for your company? Contact us today and we can help your organisation operate without any more technical headaches!