SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Gary Audin
Gary Audin is the President of Delphi, Inc. He has more than 40 years of computer, communications and security...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Gary Audin | December 18, 2015 |

 
   

DID Decisions: Not So Simple After All

DID Decisions: Not So Simple After All Implementing and operating DIDs is a continuous effort, not a one-time deal.

Implementing and operating DIDs is a continuous effort, not a one-time deal.

You may be talking on a DID connection right now (a Direct Inward Dial phone number). Implementing a DID number may appear easy, but there are many considerations beyond assigning a phone number. You need to evaluate who offers the DID number and under what terms and features. You may think the DID providers are all the same. They are not. There are differences in geographic coverage, cost and billing, feature sets including SMS and 911, and control.

DID is a service offered by communications providers to subscribers who operate a PBX or subscribe to a cloud or hosted communications service. A DID provides services for multiple telephone numbers over one or more trunks to the PBX/cloud and signals the dialed telephone number to the PBX/cloud for internal call routing. The last 4 or 5 digits of the phone number are the DID number.

I recently spoke with Jason Tapolci, President of VoIP Innovations about the who, what, and how of DIDs. VoIP Innovations provides wholesale VoIP origination and termination services, as well as thousands of DIDs and E911 connections. Its success is based on their use of technology to provide choice, automation, and control for its customers.

DID Service Coverage

DID coverage can vary. You can obtain DID numbers that cover the 48 or 50 states, Canada, and internationally. Available DID numbers are related to rate centers. A rate center is a geographical area used by a Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) to delineate the boundaries for local calling, billing, and assigning phone numbers. The more rate centers supported by a carrier, the more freedom there is in obtaining DID numbers.

Who is the Underlying Carrier?

You can acquire DID numbers from Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC)or from a carrier. Carriers may have numbers they have acquired from other carriers, referred to as Underlying Carriers (ULC). It is important to know if the DIDs are offered directly or if they are actually from another carrier. This leads into the question, "Can you select the underlying carrier directly?" Sometimes you may not be allowed to select the underlying carrier, even if you do not want to use them for the DID numbers.

As in any business, there are metrics for evaluating providers. Is there performance data available on the ULC? Will the performance data be available before selecting the ULC? If you cannot access the metrics, you probably do not want to do business with them.

Features You May Need

The DID phone line can be used just for normal calls or you may want some extra features. Some features may be included or offered at an extra cost. The following features should be available:

  • E911
  • Caller ID (Inbound/outbound Caller Name ID)
  • 411
  • SMS (Short Message Service)
  • Fax (T.38)
  • Call forward
  • Failover service
Financial Questions: Price and Billing

There are three forms of charges you will encounter:

  • Non-recurring charges (NRC) -- NRCs can include activation or return fees, number porting fees, and usage surcharge fees
  • Monthly recurring charges (MRC) -- MRCs are usually related to features such as E911, 411, Caller ID, SMS, Fax, etc.
  • Usage charges -- The usage charges can be billed by the minute or they can be billed by the channel/line or concurrent call sessions

The way you are billed can be an option. You should opt for electronic billing, which makes it easier to audit and analyze bills because they can be integrated into your payment system. Paper bills require more attention and increase your payment processing labor.

If you are a new customer, you may have to pay in advance rather than post pay. You may have an option to pay either way. If you are an existing customer, a post-pay option should be available. The billing automation should also include a financial dashboard, account alerts, financial reports, and an online billing dispute mechanism.

Number Porting

You may want to port numbers from one provider to another. You'll need to know the answers to questions like:

  • Can local or toll free number be ported?
  • Is there a choice of the ULC?
  • Is a discount available if you port the numbers in groups of 50 or more?
  • Does the provider port the number in 15 to 30 days? (Some take a lot longer.)
  • Is it a paper or electronic process?
  • What is the porting team like, experts or just administrators?
Support

Once you have made your decisions, you need to evaluate the support team. Is the staff available 24/7? Since many of the processes can be automated, what kinds of tools are provided for troubleshooting problems? Does the DID provider offer educational information in the form of Wikis, blogs, videos, and whitepapers? Look for a support manageability system that includes a ticketing function, dashboards, email alerts, and reports.

Who's in Control?

You don't walk away once the DIDs have been implemented. You want control over the operations and expenses. How much control does the provider BackOffice offer?

  • Email alerts (usage, billing, support, porting)
  • Dashboards (usage, billing, DIDs, DID features)
  • Reporting (accounting, support, service)

What is the customer control? Is there the ability to group like services like DIDs, E911, and Endpoints? If you are a reseller, is there a service-brandable end user portal that allows reseller customers to do the day-to-day heavy lifting?

Creating a DID calling environment will take time to implement and operate. Selecting the best provider requires answering the questions posed. Implementing and operating DIDs is a continuous effort, not a one-time deal.





COMMENTS



August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.