In this article:
Why switch to Operator Connect for Teams?
- Is Operator Connect better than direct routing?
- What are the benefits of switching to Operator Connect?
- How to choose the right Operator Connect provider
- Does the cost of PSTN services make financial sense?
- Sinch: Your partner for a reliable Operator Connect solution
Why switch to Operator Connect for Teams?
Communication is at the core of any successful business. Organizations that empower employees to communicate with each other, clients, and partners are better at working together and competing in the market.
Microsoft Teams is the go-to communications platform for many organizations, although a fairly new addition to Office 365. As of January 2022, Teams reached an impressive 270 million monthly active users!
Microsoft recently released Operator Connect for Teams, a powerful tool allowing organizations to integrate and manage PSTN connectivity directly inside Teams. This solution improves internal and external communication by removing all dependencies on VoIP services.
Why should you switch to Operator Connect and Teams for your organization? Read on to learn more about Operator Connect, why it’s worth adding to your tech stack, and how to find the right Operator Connect partner.
Is Operator Connect better than direct routing?
Teams has offered Direct Routing integration for a while now, but it has limited functionality. For example, setting up new users needs IT admin support and Powershell to create new numbers via the command line, and the number of providers available is limited compared to Operator Connect.
Direct routing was the first step in the Teams voice calling evolution.
Operator Connect is an improved way for organizations to add PSTN connectivity to Teams. It's easier to manage and has new number provisioning accessible directly in Teams. It also amps up the Teams voice offering, boosting support and reliability provided by the network partner.
In short, Operator Connect could be a better fit for many than Direct Routing.
What are the benefits of switching to Operator Connect?
What does Operator Connect offer over legacy solutions or Teams VoIP services? Let’s dive into why making the switch is a good idea.
Microsoft Teams is becoming the standard
Many businesses had already started using Teams on some level, but when the world moved to remote and hybrid work during the pandemic, it skyrocketed. The UCaaS platform was one of the fastest-growing apps during the COVID-19 pandemic, adding 95 million users in 2020 alone!
Teams is quickly becoming the go-to text and voice communication app in many industries. Embracing Teams and Operator Connect can help organizations take advantage of a growing platform and its improved communication options.
Teams is typically included in Office 365, saving you additional expense if you're using it already. Of course, there's the PSTN services cost to cover, but no additional fee for the actual Teams software.
Using Teams just makes sense if you’re already using Office and OneDrive!
Take advantage of dynamic infrastructure and support
Benefit from Microsoft’s best-in-class software and bring your own partner to handle PSTN calling.
Operator Connect gives access to a provider's entire infrastructure so businesses can enjoy uptime, call quality, reliability, customer support, and service level agreement (SLA). You can continue leaning on Microsoft for software support while relying on the provider’s experts for voice support.
Seamless management for voice services within Teams
Teams introduced APIs to interact with providers’ services. For example, provisioning or de-provisioning numbers are managed in the provider’s interface and syncs into the Teams admin center rather than Powershell. Other functions like user management, call flow, and call reporting are handled within Teams.
Keep your existing contracts
Operator Connect can be used without ending existing telecommunications contracts, so long as the provider is a Microsoft Teams partner. Of course, reach can be extended anytime by switching or adding other providers from the exclusive group of Operator Connect partners.
How to choose the right Operator Connect provider
Whether you're examining your current partners or picking a new one — there are a few simple questions to help point you in the right direction.
Is the provider E911 certified?
E911 is a next-generation emergency response service, and it’s required within the United States. Any provider worth working with needs to be E911 or NG911 certified so employees can get any emergency services they need while working. Also, check out any other compliance requirements mandating 911 functionality.
What is the provider’s uptime?
Will the provider’s services be there when you need them most? If they’re not offering 99.999% uptime, consider looking elsewhere. Reliability is a must for emergency services and daily business communications.
All Operator Connect users get added confidence with the Microsoft-required service level agreement (SLA). An SLA sets out an agreed level of service, which, if not maintained, means you could get a refund, discount, or exit the contract.
Does the cost of PSTN services make financial sense?
Operator Connect itself won’t cost you anything extra, and Teams is included with most Office 365 licenses. However, there are standard, fixed costs when setting up voice calling on the Microsoft network.
Different Operator Connect partners offer a variety of calling plan options. Most providers will offer an ‘as-a-service’ model, which charges for what's used rather than per-user pricing. Typically, this will save on costs, and most partners will show the value with a free analysis and recommendations based on any historical data supplied.
Sinch: Your partner for a reliable Operator Connect solution
Operator Connect builds on Teams capabilities by including PSTN functionality beyond Direct Routing. This allows for more straightforward user and number management, using robust PSTN networks and full integration with existing applications.
Making the most of Teams and Operator Connect is as simple as choosing the right partner. Sinch operates one of the largest PSTN networks in North America, provides 99.999% uptime, and is one of the few E911-certified providers.
Talk to a communications expert today to discover how we can turn business communications into a key differentiator for your company.