Five Questions to Ask Before Migrating to Microsoft Teams Phone

Author: Brendan Strain
Latest posts by Author: Brendan Strain (see all)

As more organizations focus on enabling hybrid work solutions, adoption rates for cloud-based communication platforms have steadily increased. These platforms, specifically Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Teams Phone, simplify operations while meeting the unique communication demands of hybrid workers.

Microsoft Teams Phone provides a robust phone solution that combines instant messaging, video conferencing, and calling features into one platform.  
 

However, just like any other technology migration, switching to Microsoft Teams Phone needs careful planning and execution. We asked our partners BCM One about their Pure IP enterprise voice solutions and what questions you should consider before you migrate.

"With careful planning and strategic implementation, organizations can ensure a smooth transition to Microsoft Teams Phone and reap the benefits of a more connected and agile workforce."

#1. What steps do you need to take to ensure network readiness? 

Optimal call quality is essential because virtual communication is embedded in our work. Suppose your network isn’t equipped to handle the move to Microsoft Teams Phone. In that case, you’ll likely contend with poor call quality, frustration, and possibly lost opportunities or reputational damage.  

Companies deciding to move to cloud telephony services should understand that it’s an investment, and a little legwork now will save serious aggravation later. Fortunately, several things can help ensure crystal-clear calling, including quality of service (QoS), which  

ensures critical applications, like Microsoft Teams, get the bandwidth they need and have the lowest latency possible.

Setting up QoS for Teams is vital to avoid poor call quality caused by network congestion. By prioritizing the necessary ports, you ensure that voice data is sent quickly, resulting in clear and uninterrupted calls.

Other strategies include avoiding proxies or filters, which can slow down or block network traffic, or if you require a VPN, using split tunneling to separate VPN traffic and reduce the load on the VPN.  

#2. What’s your plan for your analog and legacy equipment?  

Moving to Microsoft Teams Phone doesn’t automatically mean ditching analog or legacy devices. Elevator phones, door access systems, automated gates, and overhead paging systems are all integral to your business operations, so migration planning should include all these.  

Replacing all your analog equipment with new IP capable ones can come with a hefty price tag, so choosing to integrate the equipment you have where possible is a cost-effective way to keep your budget in check. Plus, your legacy analog systems may have specific features your operations require, which will likely not be available directly through the Microsoft Teams Phone system. By choosing integration over complete replacement, you get the benefits of upgraded technology on the back end, while still maintaining critical functionality on the front. 

#3. What options do you have for external connectivity?  

If you plan on making and receiving external calls from Microsoft Teams, you’ll need to connect to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).  In the beginning there was only a single option from Microsoft.  Fortunately, there are now three primary ways to PSTN calling to Microsoft Teams. For some organizations, a mix-and-match approach to the following may be the best solution.  

Microsoft Calling Plans are the ideal solution for organizations with low complexity who will only be using the system in a single site or one or two countries with small user counts. Suitable for smaller businesses or those looking for simplicity, these plans use their (Microsoft) network and don’t require a separate phone provider. Everything is handled through Microsoft, making billing and getting support a breeze.  

Operator Connect lets you use your current phone provider or choose a new one to make external calls. It offers flexibility and makes switching easy. You manage the setup through the Microsoft Teams Admin Center, simplifying things. Operator Connect is usually available in more countries than Calling Plans, depending on your chosen provider, making it suitable for most global businesses. 

Direct Routing is the best option for larger organizations with complex telephone systems and a deep understanding of the Microsoft ecosystem and how to configure it.  It can also allow for a “Hybrid” approach enabling a solid integration of Microsoft Teams and your current phone system. It also ensures the right users can be migrated to Teams while keeping other users efficient with the best system for their job with zero users needing to compromise. 

Direct Routing combined with an onsite SBC is also an excellent option for those operating in difficult-to-reach areas by enabling local trunking with an in-country service provider to be integrated within the rest of the telephony network.   

#4. What kind of Microsoft phone license do you need?  

Microsoft Teams Phone has several licensing plans, each offering features and benefits. Most organizations choose between Teams Phone Standard and Team Phone with Calling Plan Bundle.  

The Teams Phone Standard enables primary control and PBX features like: 

  • Voicemail  
  • Caller ID  
  • Call park  
  • Call forwarding   
  • Auto attendants  
  • Call queues  
  • Call transfer 

This bundle makes the most sense for users who are selecting Operator Connect or Direct Routing. 

The Team Phone with Calling Plan Bundle includes all the above plus a Microsoft domestic Calling Plan which again is best suited for small businesses with a low number of users. 

#5. What needs to be configured for E911 to ensure ongoing safety?  

Unlike traditional phone services, Microsoft Teams Phone and other cloud-based systems rely on IP addresses, which can make it difficult to accurately determine a caller’s location. With so many employees working from home or in multiple geographic locations, this can be highly problematic during an emergency.  

Fortunately, you can configure Microsoft Teams appropriately to meet the legal requirements for Dynamic Emergency 911 calling (Dynamic E911). Location data from the Teams client (like Geo-IP or even GPS if the device is capable) is leveraged to quickly identify the correct Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for call routing, which is critical for ensuring swift emergency response when needed.  

Also, emergency location configurations should be addressed during the initial setup for Microsoft Teams Phone. Your current voice provider should also provide appropriate guidance and support to ensure this is done correctly.  

Remember that requirements for E911 services can vary based on location, with Canada and the United States having specific standards to meet, such as Ray Baum’s Act and Kari’s Law.  As such, consulting with legal counsel on the guidelines and requirements should be considered during your migration planning process.  

Modernize Communication with Microsoft Teams Phone 

Moving to a cloud-based telephony solution like Microsoft Teams Phone is an investment in the future of communication for your organization. It reflects a commitment to modernizing infrastructure, enhancing the employee experience, and maintaining operational resilience in a hybrid work environment.  

With careful planning and strategic implementation, organizations can ensure a smooth transition to Microsoft Teams Phone and reap the benefits of a more connected and agile workforce. 

Bridgepointe Technologies can help you move to Microsoft Teams Phone and provide a clear path to migration from your current system. Book a call today with one of our experts to get started.  

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