August 29, 2022

Article
3 min

4 Steps to Successfully Implementing the Microsoft Teams Phone System

Migrating to Microsoft’s cloud-based telephony solution can be a simple process.

Paul Goska

Many organizations have embraced Microsoft Teams to enhance communication and productivity as flexible work environments become the norm and online and hybrid learning continue to grow in popularity. And while they may have used Teams for its videoconferencing, chat and other collaboration features, they increasingly are using it for phone services too. 

The Microsoft Teams Phone System allows organizations to replace their traditional on-premises phone systems with call control and private branch exchange capabilities in the cloud. 

When evaluating cloud-based phone systems, IT departments have multiple Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) vendors to choose from. But many organizations are choosing the Teams Phone System for two primary reasons: ease of use and cost-effectiveness.

Once organizations decide to adopt the Teams Phone System, there are four steps they should take to successfully deploy the cloud-based phone setup. CDW is a leader in the telephony and UCaaS space and can assist customers with these steps, from planning to deploying the solution.

1. Perform a Gap Analysis

Assess the current on-premises phone system and identify the phone features that users require. This will help determine whether Microsoft Teams is the right solution for the organization and can meet its needs or if there’s another that’s a better fit.

This process also identifies the changes users will experience with a new cloud phone system, so IT departments can be prepared to train them on the new system and help ease the process.

2. Design the Phone System

After a gap analysis is complete, and it’s determined that the Microsoft Teams Phone System is indeed the best solution, then the organization must customize the new phone system to its specific needs. 

IT departments must account for Enhanced 911 and determine user permissions. Include users as part of the design process to ensure the new phone system works the way they need it to. For example, can everyone make calls internationally, or is it restricted? Does everyone need access to voicemail or only some employees? Who is providing public switched telephone network service, and what are the capabilities of that provider? Are third-party solutions needed to make everything work? 

During the design process, organizations must decide how they will route calls from Microsoft. Organizations with their own phone systems and phone circuits coming on-premises can use the direct routing model, in which the organization serves as a broker between its telephone service provider and Microsoft.

There are also models that remove organizations from the call routing process: Microsoft Calling Plans, where Microsoft provides phone services with no third-party telephone service provider involved, and Operator Connect, where a certified telephone service provider directly routes calls to Microsoft. Both require monthly, per-user subscriptions. 

Another option is a concurrent call plan, which can result in huge savings. With this plan, organizations pay for concurrent call licenses; if an organization has 1,000 users, it can subscribe to a plan that enables 100 concurrent calls. That saves money, because organizations don’t have to buy monthly licenses for every user.

3. Pilot the Technology

After designing the phone system, do a small implementation to test the technology and the design with an initial group of users. You won’t know if the design is satisfactory until it’s put to the test with actual users. IT staff can troubleshoot issues and make improvements based on user feedback.

4. Deploy the Teams Phone System

Some customers do it themselves, but if they lack the IT expertise or are pressed for time, CDW engineers can deploy the technology and provide support to ensure a smooth migration. CDW also offers a managed service in which CDW implements the Teams Phone System and manages phone services 24/7 for customers. 

CDW can do it all for customers, from gap analysis to design, pilot and implementation of the new cloud-based phone system.

Story by Paul Goska, a unified communications solution architect for CDW.