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Q&A: Evaluating Telecom Options in Microsoft Teams
Enterprise Connect and No Jitter recently presented a webinar, sponsored by Bandwidth, entitled “30-Minute Tutorial: Evaluating Telecom Options in Microsoft Teams.” As is usually the case with webinars about Teams, we received many more questions than we could answer in the allotted time, so we’ve provided No Jitter with responses to the questions we couldn’t get to.
Please note, this information was current as of the date of the webinar, and questions and answers have been edited for clarity where needed.
Question: Is Teams set up to support call centers yet?
Answer: Teams has some very basic IVR functionality that is well suited for some high-level call queueing, particularly for the SMB market, but there are many feature gaps when compared to contact center-designed platforms — things like user states, metrics, recordings, complex routing, third-party integrations, etc. However, Microsoft does support integrations with many contact center platforms, and we expect to see integrations with many more.
Question: Please address the issue of costs for smaller companies to participate and specifically what the costs would be for entities that are Microsoft partners.
Answer: Generally the breaking point in cost for Calling Plans occurs at a few hundred users. After that, Direct Routing becomes more favorable from a cost perspective. We cannot speak to the Calling Plans pricing benefits that your organization may be entitled to. That would be something you would need to discuss with your Microsoft rep. There are other costs to consider if you do choose the Direct Routing path, like whether your organization has the appropriate personnel to manage the requirements associated with PowerShell, cert delegation, and management of session border controllers (though the last can be offloaded with a hosted option).
Question: Can we use Calling Plans in the U.S. and Direct Routing for our overseas locations?
Answer: Yes! In fact, global coverage needs were one of the main reasons Microsoft launched Direct Routing in the first place (to provide local in-country coverage for areas where they did not provide Calling Plans.) Bandwidth can assist with evaluating these options.
Question: How does Microsoft Operator Connect affect 911 call routing versus Direct Routing?
Answer: Our understanding from Microsoft is that the Operator Connect Dynamic Emergency Calling will be no different than with Direct Routing. The Microsoft LIS database will warehouse the location, which gets sent to Bandwidth at time of call.
Question: Would this environment allow for call routing groups, like in a call center?
Answer: Microsoft Teams has basic IVR functionality that allows for call routing groups, music on hold, etc.
Question: What type of endpoints are relevant in an E911 discussion? Cisco phones? Teams clients? Softphone clients?
Answer: Generally, an endpoint in the context of E911 is defined as a combination of telephone number, a name, and an address. This info would be needed to inform an E911 solution regardless of whether you are using Cisco, Teams, or other softphone applications.
Question: Our business model is limited to just the U.S. Is dynamic routing relevant to our dial plan?
Answer: Yes, dynamic location is extremely relevant to U.S. companies like yours. The upcoming deadline for RAY BAUM'S Act requires you to provide a dispatchable location for your users (civic address plus specific floor, room, suite, etc.) to public safety at the time of call. If you're using Direct Routing or Operator Connect for Teams, you need an E911 provider that can support the specific Dynamic E911 capabilities native within Teams (Bandwidth does this). If you're using Microsoft Calling Plans, dynamic E911 is included but you will need to properly configure your location information.
If you want to learn more, visit Bandwidth’s DUET for Microsoft Teams page.