While a plethora of new technology give businesses new areas of focus, at the top of the list of new priorities for many companies today is having stable, efficient digital communication capabilities. For enterprises looking to bolster their communications, one of the most notable applications being leveraged is Microsoft (News - Alert) Teams Direct Routing.
Direct Routing is how traditional telephony in the global network is connected to the Microsoft Teams environment. There are many ways it can be architected but, essentially, it connects the PSTN to Microsoft's virtual Teams phone system through a Session Border Controller (SBC). The SBC offers flexibility around how an enterprise may connect to Microsoft Teams, either via a carrier or through an existing on-site PBX (News - Alert).
Currently, Direct Routing is the most popular deployment method for telephony enablement in Microsoft Teams. More than 75 percent of the telephony-enabled users globally are deployed by Direct Routing. The massive use worldwide isn't surprising, as direct routing offers a wide range of benefits, such as greater scalability and agility, enhanced service and support, and improved cost efficiency.
However, the swift growth may be unsustainable. Setup, configuration, and ongoing administration of direct routing can be complex, deterring some enterprises from adopting the application. Furthermore, the market for direct routing has become increasingly competitive, with alternative options now being available for companies to choose from instead.
"Of the emerging direct routing options, and one of the fastest growing out there is Direct Routing as a Service (DRaaS), as scores of providers in this sector begin to offer Direct Routing solutions to their customers," said Kim Jones, AVP Marketing at Kandy, a CPaaS and telco API provider. "We innovated a simpler and more flexible way to support direct routing by offering it using an OPEX (News - Alert) model, with no up-front capital expense, and the ability to change and infinitely scale the service. DRaaS falls under the category of Anything as a Service (XaaS), which encompasses the many products, tools, and technologies that vendors deliver to users as a service over a network – typically, the Internet – as an alternative to providing them locally or on-site to an enterprise. This has been an extraordinarily popular offering as more enterprises are moving to the cloud – and this is a cloud-native service."
Unlike direct routing, where the company oversees implementation, use, and maintenance, among other things, with DRaaS, an enterprise can hand over responsibility for service delivery to the service provider to design and implement to their specific needs.
"When comparing the two, DRaaS can offer advantages that direct routing doesn't, through third parties who already have the IT expertise necessary for direct routing, including the CSPs and MSPs we enable," Jones explained. "For example, with DRaaS, a provider has specialist expertise to deliver tailored system design and configuration, implement migration/deployment, and oversee ongoing management and quality control to ensure best-in-class connectivity 24/7."
An increasing number of DRaaS providers assume full responsibility for end-to-end service, including updates, licenses, maintenance, and service availability. Additionally, DRaaS providers can provide tools to give vital intelligence into your Microsoft Teams Calling service. For example, portals that deliver data analysis, with dashboards that display insight clearly, and enable adjustments.
"DRaaS can provide provisioning and management of phone numbers, users, and license packages as well as managed gateways that deal with an organization's legacy infrastructure and interfaces with the types of services it runs," Jones explained. "This is very IT-friendly as it simplifies the entire system, including the ability to integrate into carriers' networks and enable them to extend their existing offer to their end-user customers with Telco APIs, which Kandy (News - Alert) has also pioneered."
The popularity of DRaaS solutions continues to grow rapidly as more enterprises look to digitally enhance their communications. For instance, at the start of 2020, less than 10 percent of the providers who participated in Cavell Group's Global Service Provider Survey had a Direct Routing solution or product available. In the latest survey conducted in 2022, this proportion had grown to more than 65 percent.
However, while DRaaS is quickly becoming one of the more common alternatives to direct routing, it is not the only solution available. Microsoft also offers Operator Connect for Teams,
Operator Connect is an operator-managed service that brings PSTN calling to Teams. With Operator Connect, businesses can use their own PSTN carrier (from Microsoft's approved list) to enable Microsoft Teams calling.
While at first glance, both Operator Connect and Direct Routing seem like similar concepts, many large enterprises and corporations have complex telephony networks that don't lend themselves easily to an Operator Connect approach. With extended multi-site and international locations, a mix of on-premises and cloud services, and many legacy networks and devices that need integration and support, a Direct Routing as a Service approach is the optimal solution.
"DRaaS brings new alternatives to direct routing," Jones explained. "The need to enhance current digital communication capabilities is reaching a critical status as the world as a whole continues to push ever further into a digital age with endless possibilities. Companies who wish to remain competitive, especially in an increasingly global market, must modernize and update their communications platforms. As Microsoft Teams continues to grow in popularity and adoption, alternatives should be studied and implemented quickly, as the cost savings, quality, and security are so much simpler and so much more flexible than having to manage all this manually."
Edited by Erik Linask