Microsoft Teams Operator Connect – Is Operator Connect Right for You?

You may be deciding whether to go with Operator Connect or Direct Routing for your Microsoft Teams Phone System. Both solutions offer similar benefits such as allowing you to continue working with your existing operator, retain your current calling plan, calling minutes option, and many of the current features you have from the operator. But there are many differences between Operator Connect and Direct Routing you’ll need to consider when deciding which plan to go with.

First and foremost, Microsoft is promoting Operator Connect and recommends it as the preferred choice, and this comes with good reason. Operator Connect is a tight integration at the network level, service level, and commercial level between the operator and Microsoft.

For an operator to provide Operator Connect service, they need to invest many resources to:

  • Integrate their network to their customers’
  • Automate provisioning, configuration, and management aspects

Once they are ready, certification is the next step before launching and offering service to customers.

With Direct Routing, you are taking the responsibility of provisioning, configuration, integration and management between Microsoft Teams Phone System and your internal users. Unless you think Operator Connect is not the right choice for you, you should keep that as the first option.


When is Operator Connect NOT for You?

There are many factors to consider when Operator Connect is not your best choice and you should choose Direct Routing for your solution. Some of the key categories to consider are:

  • Your existing premise-based phone system
  • Geographical sites where your users are located
  • Contact center system
  • Analog gateway or end points

Upgrading a collaboration platform for your users can be a very expensive proposition, so you may be considering the reuse of any existing endpoint and equipment that you have. It’s important to check if your existing SBCs are compatible with Microsoft Teams Phone System. If they are not, Operator Connect maybe a good choice to consider before upgrading your SBCs.

Direct Routing will be the better solution if you have:

  • A local phone system with geographical sites
  • Contact center with agents at multiple sites
  • Analog local gateways and fax machines
  • Complex dial plans and survivable branch needs
  • Have some users on Microsoft Teams Phone system and others on local premise phone system

In this scenario Direct Routing will be the best choice for you because this allows you to manage the internal complexity of your environment so you can meet the needs of your users more effectively. However, this will put the responsibility of configuration and management of the system on your team. This will require telephony knowledge, power shell scripting, SIP knowledge, SBC knowledge, all the equipment interworking, and much more expertise. Some providers offer this as managed services and will do it all for you, but it will cost you.

As previously mentioned, in all other scenarios, Operator Connect should be the preferred option. With Operator Connect your team is only responsible for adding and removing users, and the operator will handle managing and maintaining the systems.

This should help simplify how you are evaluating your scenario and factors to consider when choosing between Operator Connect and Direct Routing.


Next Blog: Hybrid Environment with Operator Connect and Direct Routing

“Can we have a hybrid of both Operator Connect and Direct Routing?” is a common question — we will discuss this in our next blog and highlight what you will have to consider when you have both options in your network.

Let us know what factors you would consider in making the decision between the two options for your Microsoft Teams Phone System to a PSTN network.

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