Migrating to Microsoft Teams has become a strategic decision for organizations looking to streamline collaboration, communication, and productivity. In this blog, we will delve into the use cases of Microsoft Teams for organizations, explore different migration strategies, and focus on two popular options: Operator Connect and Direct Routing. We will also discuss the advantages and considerations of each approach, helping businesses make informed decisions about their migration to Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams Use Cases for Organizations

  • Team Collaboration: Microsoft Teams provides a comprehensive collaboration platform, facilitating real-time communication, document sharing, and project management. Teams enables teams to work together seamlessly, whether they are in the same office or distributed across different locations.
  • Remote Work Enablement: Teams serves as a virtual workspace, enabling remote teams to stay connected, conduct virtual meetings, and collaborate effectively regardless of their geographical location. It supports video conferencing, chat, file sharing, and integrations with other productivity tools.
  • Internal Communication: Organizations can utilize Teams as a central hub for internal communication, replacing traditional email threads with instant messaging, channel-based conversations, and threaded discussions. This fosters quicker decision-making, knowledge sharing, and enhances overall organizational communication.
  • Customer Engagement: Microsoft Teams offers capabilities to enhance customer engagement through features like external guest access and external collaboration. It enables organizations to communicate with clients, partners, and vendors efficiently, providing a seamless customer experience.

Migration Strategies to Microsoft Teams

  • Operator Connect: Operator Connect is a migration strategy where organizations connect their existing telephony service provider to Microsoft Teams. It allows users to make and receive calls directly within the Teams interface, leveraging their existing phone numbers and telephony infrastructure.
    1.  Advantages of Operator Connect: a. Simplified Migration: Operator Connect eliminates the need for additional hardware or infrastructure changes, making the migration process smoother and faster. b. Single Interface: Users can manage their calls and collaborate within the familiar Teams interface, enhancing productivity and user adoption. c. Call Quality and Reliability: Operator Connect leverages the service provider's network infrastructure, ensuring high call quality and reliability.
    2. Use Cases of Operator Connect: a. Hybrid Environments: Organizations with existing telephony contracts or investments can leverage Operator Connect to integrate their telephony systems with Teams, enabling a gradual transition to Teams calling. b. Regulatory Compliance: Industries with strict regulatory requirements, such as healthcare or finance, can benefit from Operator Connect by maintaining their existing compliant telephony services.
  • Direct Routing: Direct Routing allows organizations to connect their own Session Border Controller (SBC) to Microsoft Teams, enabling them to use their chosen telephony provider with Teams.
    1. Advantages of Direct Routing: a. Flexibility: Direct Routing allows organizations to choose their preferred telephony provider and negotiate competitive rates, giving them more control over their telephony services. b. Global Reach: Direct Routing enables international organizations to connect their Teams environment with local telephony providers, ensuring seamless calling across different regions. c. Integration Capabilities: Direct Routing allows organizations to integrate their telephony system with other business applications and workflows, enhancing overall productivity.
    2. Use Cases of Direct Routing: a. Existing Telephony Contracts: Organizations with long-term contracts or investments in specific telephony providers can leverage Direct Routing to continue using their preferred services while benefiting from Teams' collaboration features. b. Customized Telephony Solutions: Direct Routing enables organizations to implement specialized telephony services that meet their unique business requirements, such as call center integrations or customized call flows.

Advantages of Operator Connect and Direct Routing

Advantages of Operator Connect:

  1. Seamless Integration: Operator Connect allows organizations to integrate their existing telephony service provider directly into Microsoft Teams without the need for complex infrastructure changes. This ensures a smooth transition and minimizes disruption to ongoing communication processes.
  2. Familiar User Experience: With Operator Connect, users can make and receive calls using their existing phone numbers directly within the Teams interface. This eliminates the need for separate phone systems or applications, resulting in a seamless user experience.
  3. Simplified Management: Operator Connect consolidates all communication and collaboration tools into a single platform, making it easier for administrators to manage and maintain their telephony services. They can provision and manage users, phone numbers, and call settings within the Teams administration portal.
  4. Cost Efficiency: By leveraging existing telephony contracts and infrastructure, Operator Connect can help organizations optimize costs associated with migration. It eliminates the need for additional hardware or equipment investment, reducing upfront expenses.

Advantages of Direct Routing:

  1. Freedom of Choice: Direct Routing allows organizations to choose their preferred telephony provider, enabling them to negotiate competitive rates and select a provider that aligns with their specific requirements. This flexibility provides organizations with more control over their telephony services.
  2. Global Connectivity: Direct Routing enables organizations with international operations to connect their Teams environment with local telephony providers in different regions. This ensures reliable and cost-effective calling across various geographic locations.
  3. Integration Capabilities: With Direct Routing, organizations can integrate their telephony system with other business applications and workflows. This opens up possibilities for enhanced productivity, such as integrating call center software, CRM systems, or custom call flows to streamline business processes.
  4. Scalability and Customization: Direct Routing offers scalability to accommodate the changing needs of organizations. It allows businesses to scale their telephony services as they grow and provides the flexibility to implement customized telephony solutions tailored to their unique business requirements.

Implementing Direct Routing and Operator Connect

Implementing Direct Routing:

  • Selecting a Session Border Controller (SBC): To implement Direct Routing, organizations need to choose an SBC, which acts as the bridge between Microsoft Teams and the telephony provider. Evaluate different SBC solutions based on features, scalability, security, and compatibility with your chosen telephony provider.
  • Configure SBC and Telephony Provider: Work with your SBC vendor and telephony provider to establish the necessary connections and configure the settings. This involves setting up trunks, routing policies, and ensuring proper integration with your telephony infrastructure.
  • Implementing Network Infrastructure: Ensure your network infrastructure supports the requirements for Direct Routing, such as sufficient bandwidth, Quality of Service (QoS) configurations, and firewall rules. Collaborate with your IT team or network administrators to make the necessary adjustments.

Implementing Operator Connect:

  1. Identify Supported Telephony Providers: Operator Connect supports a range of telephony providers. Research and identify the telephony providers that offer Operator Connect integration. Consider factors such as geographical coverage, pricing, call quality, and regulatory compliance.
  2. Establish Communication with Provider: Reach out to the chosen telephony provider to initiate the integration process. Discuss your organization's requirements, provisioning needs, and timelines for the migration. The provider will guide you through the necessary steps to establish the connection with Microsoft Teams.
  3. Enable Operator Connect in Microsoft Teams Admin Center: Once you have a contract in place with the telephony provider, work with your Microsoft Teams administrator to enable and configure Operator Connect in the Teams Admin Center. This involves specifying the desired PSTN calling plans, assigning phone numbers, and setting up call routing options.

Choosing a Provider for Direct Routing or Operator Connect

  • Evaluate Provider Compatibility: When selecting a provider for Direct Routing or Operator Connect, ensure they are compatible with Microsoft Teams and support the necessary integration. Check if they have experience in implementing these solutions and have a strong partnership with Microsoft.
  • Consider Geographical Coverage: Assess the provider's geographical coverage to ensure they can support your organization's locations. Consider factors such as international reach, local number availability, and call quality in the regions where you operate.
  • Assess Reliability and Call Quality: Evaluate the provider's track record in terms of reliability and call quality. Research customer reviews, service level agreements (SLAs), and performance metrics to gauge their ability to deliver high-quality voice services.
  • Pricing and Cost Structure: Compare the pricing models and cost structures of different providers. Consider factors such as subscription fees, call rates, and any additional charges for features or support. Ensure the pricing aligns with your organization's budget and long-term cost projections.
  • Support and Service Level Agreements: Consider the provider's support offerings, including technical support availability, response times, and escalation procedures. Review their service level agreements to understand the commitments and guarantees they provide.
  • Security and Compliance: Assess the provider's security measures, data protection practices, and compliance certifications. Depending on your industry, regulatory requirements such as HIPAA or GDPR may be important considerations.
  • Integration Capabilities: If you have specific integration requirements, such as CRM or call center integrations, evaluate the provider's capabilities to ensure compatibility with your existing systems and workflows.
  • Future Scalability and Flexibility: Consider the provider's ability to scale with your organization's growth and adapt to evolving needs. Evaluate their flexibility in accommodating changes, adding or removing users, and expanding to new locations.

By thoroughly evaluating providers based on these criteria, organizations can select a suitable partner for Direct Routing or Operator Connect, ensuring a seamless and successful migration to Microsoft Teams with robust telephony capabilities.


Migrating to Microsoft Teams offers numerous benefits for organizations seeking to improve collaboration and streamline communication. When considering migration, organizations can choose between Operator Connect and Direct Routing as two viable options for integrating their telephony services with Teams.

Operator Connect simplifies migration by connecting existing telephony providers to Teams, while Direct Routing offers flexibility and customization options by leveraging an organization's chosen telephony provider. Understanding the use cases, advantages, and considerations of each approach is crucial for organizations to make informed decisions based on their specific needs and priorities. By adopting the right migration strategy, organizations can unlock the full potential of Microsoft Teams and enhance their communication and collaboration capabilities.

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