Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business Admin Centre – UPDATE

As per the blog post from last September, Microsoft has been tracking according to the plan and currently transitioning admin centre experience in Tenant level. A note has been added to the https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/manage-teams-skypeforbusiness-admin-center

notice

Here is the summary of the features being added to the new Admin centre;

  • Microsoft Teams messaging policy: Create policy for user-level management of the Microsoft Teams client experience for Messaging scenarios.
  • Microsoft Teams interop policy: Configure the interoperability experience between Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.
  • Microsoft Teams guest messaging settings: Control the messaging capabilities for guest accounts in Microsoft Teams.
  • Federation settings: Manage the federation between tenants for Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business.
  • User management: Assign policies and configure user accounts.
  • Audio conferencing: Configure dial-in numbers and settings for Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.

It will exciting times when this process is complete and available…fingers crossed…

 

First Look – Telstra Calling for O365 on Microsoft Teams…

As per my previous blog, this service now announced in Australia and expect to be generally available in few months time.

The service description does not include Microsoft Teams yet but technically it does not prevent using PSTN services for Teams since the new number is automatically assigned to the same user enabled on SFBO (unless Teams is explicitly disabled).

Here is a screenshot of my first user enabled on Teams with a Western Australian phone number;

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There is nothing new about the technology but I’m excited since it worked in the first place 🙂

The Australian Version of “Calling Plans” just revealed…

I was privileged to work with Telstra and Microsoft Australia during last 3 months (under NDA) on formulating a strategy for Australian customers to be able to own a phone number for Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business Online as a part of Office 365.

The official launch event held in Sydney on 19/03/2018 at the Telstra customer experience centre https://www.telstra.com.au/business-enterprise/solutions/collaboration-conferencing/cloud-collaboration/telstra-calling-365

Current service enabled countries;

countries

The new service is named as “Telstra Calling for O365 (TCO)” and now in preview with first 35 customers chosen by 7 Australian partners.  Australia is the 11th country being added to the service but quite different from the other 10 countries’ model.

Microsoft solely acts as the PSTN provider in all other cases except the very first partnership model developed for Australia. Telstra, Australia’s premier communications provider will provide the PSTN capabilities directly via Microsoft datacentres in Sydney and Melbourne leaving Microsoft to provide the Office 365 front-end for customers.

The purchasing experience will be slightly different from the global model but the service enabling process is quite similar via same O365 control panel.

There will be 3 calling plans instead of 2 plans elsewhere, below is a glimpse of the new calling plans;

t1

t2

and here are the special conditions to be considered;

t3

I’m helping few preview customers as I write this article and hope to provide further updates during the preview period. Stay tuned…

What is Direct Routing in Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft recently unveiled the latest options for enabling voice in Microsoft Teams using a new method “Direct Routing”, previously tagged as “bring your own trunk (BYOT).

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Why this is more attractive is there will be no requirement of maintaining any kind of on-premises service components that SfB used such as an on-prem SfB pool or a Cloud Connector Edition as the minimum.

This capability will allow customers to choose a certified Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams (subject to availability in countries) which could be preferred Sip provider of a customer or use a certified Session Border Controller (SBC) from a vendor such as Audiocodes or Ribbon Communications.

The first method simply provides the flexibility of choosing a preferred Sip provider opposed to the default Microsoft PSTN offering.

But, in reality, it will be difficult and challenging to transform on-prem telephony to a direct route over night due to the technical limitations and specific customer telephony requirements being built-up over the time.

So, using a certified SBC would be the best options for established businesses to transform their telephony with peace of mind.

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The SBCs may be the ideal option if you have;

  1. a significant investment on a contact center solution which needs to be intact but not to be excluded (inter-op)
  2. specific anloag services such as Fax, boom gates, fire alarms, doors etc.
  3. an existing SfB/Lync enterprise voice environment with multiple number ranges
  4. established Auto Attendant and Response Group based services to be available during the transformation
  5. specific number presentation/manipulation requirements

The bottom line is SBCs are relatively cheap appliances and has been in the market ever since Sip services’ existence, so it is proved tech we can leverage in many ways.

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Teams-Blog/Direct-Routing-enables-new-enterprise-voice-options-in-Microsoft/ba-p/170450

Note: Microsoft Teams is rapidly evolving as I write this post and we expect to see the feature parity gap is closing by the time of General Availability of the service.