Confused by all the options around Microsoft Teams? Here’s a solution…

2020 has been full of surprises that have resulted in a rapid evolution in the ways we collaborate. Especially notable among these major developments is the proliferation of Microsoft Teams. Easily Microsoft’s most rapidly adopted product ever, the workstream collaboration tool has been a means by which many organizations large and small have implemented a COVID19-mandated remote working setup. It natively provides persistent 1-on-1 and group chat, presence, Teams-to-Teams calling, audio/web/video conferencing, file sharing, and for an additional cost, a cloud PBX feature set. It is the telephony element offered by Teams that has garnered much interest as organizations compare it to their current platform, which may not easily facilitate a remote workforce.

Check out our new resource — To that end, Avant has poured countless hours of research into the topics of Microsoft Calling Plans (Microsoft becoming your telephony service provider) as well as Direct Routing (a framework by which third parties can bring their PSTN connectivity into the Teams platform) to demystify them for the benefit of our Trusted Advisors and by extension, their customers. The result of such research is our newly christened Microsoft Teams Dynamic Matrix, available now on Pathfinder.

What it provides — Leveraging this matrix, Trusted Advisors will gain an understanding of the different architectures by which our supplier portfolio enables PSTN calling within the Microsoft Teams client. At a very high level, those options include (1) suppliers adhering to Microsoft’s Direct Routing framework who also bundle in their own proprietary UCaaS seat for added resiliency and features, as well as those that (2) adhere to Direct Routing but only enable native Teams Cloud PBX capabilities. (3) There are even suppliers who have opted to partner with a third party called Qunifi to leverage their Call2Teams solution to “connect” the Microsoft cloud to the UCaaS supplier’s, taking advantage of the highly-available architecture that Call2Teams brings to the table. (4) Finally, an embedded dialer/softphone option exists whereby a third-party softphone runs within Teams, bypassing the Microsoft Cloud PBX altogether. All of these architectures have licensing considerations from Microsoft and the chosen supplier, which are made apparent to users of the dynamic matrix.

In addition to the aforementioned architectures, you’ll find details such as suppliers’ international coverage, who does/does not sell Teams handsets, available calling plans, and much more. Many of these attributes act as filters as well. The intended benefit of this tool is to raise awareness of these different options available in the market so Trusted Advisors can recommend the vendors most appealing for their customer’s circumstances. As Microsoft continues to release its APIs and evolve the Teams platform, we anticipate frequent updates being made to this tool, so please check back often for the latest release!