3 min

Operator Connect Can Smooth the Move to Teams

Microsoft makes it easier to migrate to its collaboration platform with your existing carrier.

CDW Expert CDW Expert
Image of young businessman wearing a headset while using a computer in the office.

One of the biggest struggles for organizations wanting to move to the cloud is related to their public switched telephone network (PSTN) services. 

We’ve all been there. The word “port” can be cringeworthy because you know there is going to be a lot of overhead going into that, and moving between carriers isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. Maybe you still have nightmares about that one port that didn’t go to plan, resulting in countless escalations and the urge to cry in your coffee cup (I know I have). 

Maybe you love your carrier and like having your telecom services managed by one partner. This is where Operator Connect comes into play. If your existing provider participates in the Microsoft Operator Connect program, you have a fast and easy method to transition your organization over to Microsoft Teams.

Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • You can utilize existing contracts with your current carrier or perhaps use this as a time to consolidate your PSTN needs for another carrier.
  • It removes the need to install a session border controller (SBC) to move your carrier to Microsoft Teams.
  • Service-level agreements with your current carrier stay in place, and direct peering occurs with Azure to increase reliability along with end-to-end quality of service.
  • For places where native Microsoft calling plans are not supported, it can extend your global footprint.
  • It also allows you to take a strategic approach to shift calling to Teams; you can work with your current provider versus porting everything natively to Microsoft as your PSTN provider.

What’s in it for me?

As a technical architect, one of the key things I look for in a solution is the ease of management after implementation. 

One of the coolest features, I think, is from a calling plan perspective. You get the ease of being able to administer numbers in the Teams Admin Center the same way you would a native Microsoft calling plan. This is huge for those who have a significant number of moves, adds or changes. Having everything in one interface dramatically reduces the operational overhead and leads to a better experience, not only in IT but ultimately for the end users as well.

Instead of spending all day clicking around to provision a user, you have a streamlined interface to complete thosetasks. That gives you the ability to move on to the next important incident in the queue.

Any gotchas?

Operator Connect may not be for everyone. Perhaps you’re already invested in SBCs and want to leverage that because you have complex routing needs between multiple private branch exchanges and aren’t migrating everything to Microsoft Teams. Or maybe you have analog gateways, so an SBC would be required anyway. You could just port over to native Microsoft Calling Plans and have one partner own it all. 

I completely understand those reasons. I think the real benefit here is that Microsoft is working with their telecom partners and focusing on making the experience more seamless for their users. For those organizations that don’t have complex requirements, I think Operator Connect fits the bill, and I am excited to see what other telecom partners make the shift in 2022.

Story by Corey Buskirk, a technical architect at CDW with more than 11 years of experience in collaboration solutions.