When It Takes a Team, Microsoft Teams Takes a Direct Route to Higher Performance in Collaboration with Ribbon

June 25th, 2019

According to a recent survey conducted by Spiceworks, which surveyed over 900 organizations in the U.S. and Europe, Microsoft owns the two most popular collaborative applications in the workplace, with Skype for Business (used by 44 percent of participants) and Teams (used by 21 percent).

Microsoft Teams’ growth over the last two years is nothing short of stunning: it jumped from 3 percent usage in 2016 (the year the app launched) to 21 percent, while competitive apps showed only minimal growth or even fell.

Some attribute the growth spike to the fact that using Teams is free to existing Office 365 users, and while Skype for Business continues to lead, most experts agree Teams will be the default collaboration platform for Microsoft moving forward.

Spiceworks predicts that by the end of 2020, Teams is expected to be used by 41 percent of organizations, in part given Microsoft’s announcement that Teams would be the primary client for meetings and calling in Office 365 over Skype for Business by then.

Teams is a “killer app” given how elegantly it has been integrated with other Microsoft tools, which makes it far easier for IT teams to provision and support. End users find the user experience straightforward, and behind the scenes, IT security managers appreciate the layers of security protection and compliance built-in, especially valuable as the attacks on enterprises and organizations continue to grow in size, severity and frequency.

The vibrant future for Microsoft Teams is being enhanced by its’ Direct Routing offering, which enables service providers to connect PSTN,  legacy systems and endpoints to “Calling in Teams” – integrating voice services and providing a very rich and intuitive communications experience.

The team at Ribbon couldn’t be more excited about working closely with Microsoft, serving as an underlying technology ecosystem partner and connector to hundreds of the world’s largest Communications Service Providers who are now able to bring the full value of collaboration across all modalities (voice, text, video, file sharing, and more) to their customers who have been relying on Microsoft for years and decades to keep their businesses flowing and growing.

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The return on investment of improved collaboration internally – and externally – is well documented, and as enterprises and organizations continue in their digital transformation journeys, being able to drive greater results while also enhancing the culture by making conversations easier, and data more secure, is of great interest.

So how are our CSP customers taking advantage of Direct Routing for Teams?

First, they enable enterprises to easily add voice solutions directly into the Teams experience, flexibly scaling your voice communications with an encrypted service optimized to handle multiple instances in the Microsoft cloud. Direct Routing for Teams solution allows for multiple dedicated connections into Office 365 for each “tenant”, which means managed services are easier to provide and lucrative as a high-margin, recurring revenue offering.

Second, for global enterprises, Teams can now connect people in dozens of countries, essentially every major country our CSP clients serve today. With international coverage and support, service providers can ensure organizations can get the most out of their Microsoft investment and scale voice capabilities internationally with numbers on the PSTN connected to the platform.

Third, CSPs have a very interesting offering making it possible to provide any combination of “OTT” services over broadband while making steady migrations off the PSTN to pure IP as their customers wish to proceed. Enterprises already licensing Office 365 can add Teams and ease of including any “phone number” which maximizes productivity gains in a very cost-efficient manner.

Through Ribbon, Microsoft Teams Calling can be connected to existing SIP or legacy trunks using Direct Routing. This offers a choice of calling plan providers. 

Session Border Controllers (SBCs) connect SIP trunks and PBX endpoints to the Microsoft Phone System. Ribbon is one of only a few vendors whose SBCs are certified to work with Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams.

We work with Microsoft to test a continuous delivery of enhancements to the phone system before they are made generally available. This level of cooperation drives Ribbon SBCs to be officially supported by Microsoft. In the cloud-first world that Teams is developed in, this is necessary to guarantee interoperability with every new feature.

Ribbon Communications has one of the largest portfolio of SBCs certified by Microsoft. Whether for a small branch office or corporate headquarters, Ribbon can right-size Direct Routing solutions. 

We have decades of experience securely routing voice traffic in the networks of some of the world's largest carriers. Customers can choose to use our hardware (e.g., SBC 1000 or SBC 2000) or install one of our software-only versions (e.g., SWe or SWe Lite) on their own hardware. 

We offer tight integration with other Microsoft Unified Communications (UC) offerings including Skype for Business Online connectivity, branch survivability and presence awareness of legacy endpoints. 

To learn more about this exciting solution, visit our Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams page.

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