Full guide to Microsoft Teams PBX Integration
If you’re running Microsoft Teams and a phone system (PBX) from the likes of Cisco, Avaya, 3CX and others, and want to improve internal efficiency by learning how much the two can integrate, this blog is for you.
Why should I consider integrating my phone system (PBX) with Microsoft Teams?
The jump to access-anywhere cloud-based communications platforms like Microsoft Teams caused by the work-from-home necessities of the COVID-19 pandemic has been sudden and rapid.
So rapid, in fact, that many businesses are now left with two separate communications platforms performing two very specific functions.
Microsoft Teams is great for enabling staff communication from almost anywhere. The desktop and smartphone apps are excellent with clear and easy to use interfaces, and its video conferencing platform is one of the best around.
However, Teams doesn’t come with external dialling out of the box, which limits it’s use for many businesses, and also lacks many of the phone system features many businesses need, such as universal call recording, advanced call statistics, intelligent call queuing and more.
So with many businesses using Microsoft Teams for collaboration, but still needing a phone system to support external calls and other more advanced features, not to mention protecting an investment in handsets, hardware and licenses they may still need to extract value from, many are left asking the obvious question, “How can I integrate my phoen system with Microsoft Teams?”.
Are you wanting to link your PBX with Teams?
Click on the link below to find out more about Easy Direct Routing.
Can I integrate my phone system (PBX) with my Microsoft Teams?
The answer really depends on which communications platform you’re using, which is why we’ve pulled this page together.
In it we’ll go through the most popular phone system and contact centre solutions, review if Microsoft Teams integration is possible and, if so, how it’s done.
To be clear, in this blog we’re concentrating on the bigger, more traditional providers of on premise or cloud-based solutions whcih can be found in many businesses worldwide. There are a host of other cloud-only VOIP providers in the market, but we’ll cover these separately in another blog.
Are you wanting to link your PBX with Teams?
Click on the link below to find out more about Easy Direct Routing.
Jump to find out more about Integrating with your System
Integrating 3CX with Microsoft Teams
[UPDATE Sep 2021: 3CX does now have direct Microsoft Teams integration. Learn more here. AND we’re a Microsoft and 3CX partner, so we can help you set up and manage both sides!]
3CX does not have any direct bespoke integration with Microsoft Teams, but does have an integration with the wider Office/Microsoft 365 environment.
3CX has, in fact pretty much ruled out developing towards Teams due to Microsoft’s lack of openness in this area and it’s clear intent to use Teams to muscle in on wider business communications market. As 3CX founder Nick Galea put it in late 2019:
“(We have…) no plans to connect to Microsoft Teams. Teams is not that open and anyway wants to be a phone system in its next life.”
However, as both a Microsoft and 3CX partner we’ve successfully integrated 3CX and Microsoft Teams for numerous customers using our Easy Direct Routing platform.
3CX Microsoft 365 integration
Although direct integration with Teams is not offered, 3CX does offer a rather good out-of-the box integration with the Microsoft 365 environment giving features such as:
- Syncing Office 365 users to 3CX extensions.
- Syncing Users’ personal contacts from Office 365 to 3CX phone books.
- Syncing Shared mailbox contacts from Office 365 to 3CX company phone book.
- Real time updating of users 3CX status based on their Office 365 calendar.
- Launching outbound calls from the Office 365 interface. This is done using 3CX Click to Call browser extension for Chrome.
It’s pretty easy to implement (and we can help you if you have any issues) and all you need is to be running 3CX v16 Pro or higher, as most business users will be already.
Integrating Mitel with Microsoft Teams
Mitel doesn’t have full direct integration with Microsoft Teams but does have a number of options to enable some basic intregration, mainly around initiating calls.
Here’s a graphic to illustrate Mitel’s integration options, with some further details underneath (Click to expand.):
Mitel MiCollab Hotkey Dialling & Mitel App Dialer
MiCollab is essentially Mitel’s rival to Teams, so it’s not a surprise that this method of integration is limited, essentially being a way of selecting a phone number within Teams but making the call using your Mitel system. MiCollab Hotkey Dialing is included in MiCollab licenses and available on MiVoice 5000 & 400, MX-One, MiVoice Business and MiCloud Flex systems.
Mitel App Dialer offers very similar functionality on the MiVoice Connect and MiCloud Connect platforms.
Mitel Web Extension
Also similar to HotKey dialing but this time a Chrome extension connects with your MiVoice Business or MiCloud Flex extension to offer a full softphone in your browser (just like Teams, in fact). As such if you use the Teams web user interface, you can easily click-to-dial from the softphone. Hardly an integration at all, in fact.
Mitel approved 3rd Party Integration
Although it might seem odd for a major provider like Mitel to rely on a third party, this method does then at least allow users to initiate outbound calls directly from within Microsoft Teams, whilst retaining the broader Mitel features the rest of the company might need.
In fact, it’s the same integration on which we have built some of our Easy Direct Routing solutions, although our offering is broader and with more options.
Integrating your Mitel using Direct Routing
Here Mitel utilises the Direct Routing solution offered by Microsoft, utilising an SBC (Session Border Controller) to act as a go-between between your phone lines, Teams environment and Mitel system. Once initiated this will allow calls to be made directly from the Teams interface, but routed via the SBC to the PBX and then out to the PSTN network.
Integrating Avaya with Microsoft Teams
Avaya currently doesn’t integrate direct with Microsoft Teams but does offer the following partial integration solutions:
Avaya Spaces integration with Microsot Teams
Avaya Spaces is Avaya’s own collaboration suite which has a limited integration with Microsoft Teams. Effectively using either a Chrome plugin or app within the Teams web environment, audio and video conferences can be setup from within Teams, but using Avaya’s technology. The Avaya web app is applied directly from within Teams, but unfortunately the Teams desktop app is not supported.
Direct Routing for Avaya phone systems
Almost any legacy PBX can be integrated with Microsoft Teams via the Direct Routing path that Microsoft themselves allow (eg/ this is not an Avaya-led integration method).
However, one advantage for any businesses looking to migrate from an Avaya cloud-hosted solution is that Avaya have long recommended Audiocodes SBCs for their cloud deployments, and most Audiocodes SBC are also accredited for use with Microsoft for use with Direct Routing (a Microsoft-approved SBC is a required part of the integration).
Integrating Cisco CUCM with Microsoft Teams
Cisco has direct integration with Microsoft Teams which allows PSTN calling from within Teams by utilising Cisco UCM (Unified Communications Manager) or Cisco Webex calling infrastructure. In both cases this enabled via an app which can be added directly from within Microsoft Teams.
Cisco Webex Call or Jabber Integration with Microsoft Teams
Cisco seem to have gone the extra mile here to make integration with Microsoft Teams for existing Cisco UCM users as simple as possible.
The integration uses either the existing Cisco Webex or Jabber client to connect to your Cisco infrastructure, and the chosen Microsoft Teams app simply connects to that. This effectively allows you to call externally directly from within Teams, or use the dial pad to call, and the call can be handled either by your choice of Cisco soft client, or by using your existing Cisco handset.
Cisco also claim this can be achieved with no additional licensing costs.
Take a look at this Cisco Webinar for a full and clear explanation of how this works.
Direct Routing for other Cisco PBXs
Almost any legacy PBX can be integrated with Microsoft Teams via the Direct Routing path that Microsoft themselves allow.
To do this you will need a purchase, setup and configure a Microsoft-accredited Session Border Controller (SBC) and it’s SIP connections, which requires specific technical expertise which may even be beyond the CCNA qualified techs that like to run Cisco platforms.
Integrating NEC phone systems with Microsoft Teams
NEC currently has no direct bespoke integration with Microsoft Teams for any of its communcations platforms, such as the SV9100, SV9300, SV9500, SL2100 or Univerge 3C.
Direct Routing is currently the only way to integrate your NEC PBX with Microsoft Teams.
Connecting your NEC to Teams via Skype for Business
NEC does still promote it’s UC to Skype for Business connector and whilst Skype for Business is effectively being rolled int Microsoft Teams there are still, for now at least, paths available to run the two alongside each other. This may provide a limited degree of interoperability that might work sufficiently
Integrating Panasonic phone systems with Microsoft Teams
Panasonic currently has no direct bespoke integration with Microsoft Teams for any of its communcations platforms, such as the KX-NSX2000, KX-NSX1000, KX-NS700, KX-NS1000 and KX-NSV300.
Direct Routing is currently the only way to integrate your Panasonic PBX with Microsoft Teams.
Integrating other legacy PBXs with Microsoft Teams
There are a huge number of other phone systems, UC platforms and contact centres solutions from the likes of Samsung, Yeastar, Shoretel, Unify, LG, Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and more still getting good use out there in the market, and as we can see from the rest of this blog, direct integration with Teams is a rarity.
Thankfully, that’s exactly the situation Microsoft had in mind when they developed the Direct Routing integration path.
For many businesses, Direct Routing will be the only way to protect your existing investment whilst also enabling your Microsoft Teams users to make and receive external calls alongside all the other features they use.
Using Microsoft Teams Direct Routing to integrate your legacy PBX.
The simplest definition of Direct Routing is that it allows external telephony to connect with a Microsoft 365 (and with it Teams) environment.
Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams in essence it uses a piece of technology called a Session Border Controller (SBC) to manage the connections that need to be made between your phone lines, phone system and Microsoft Teams environment.
CAN I DO THIS MYSELF?
SBC’s can be expensive and are complex to deploy, programme and maintain unless you have knowledge of both SIP trunking and programming Session Border Controllers, which most in-house IT engineers don’t. Also, you can’t just buy any old SBC, it has to be one of Microsoft’s certified Session Border Controllers.
Put simply, we do all the complex setup and programming, leaving you with a best-of-both solution where you can continue to use your existing handsets, lines, contact centre and call recording solutions, but also enable your Microsoft Teams users to make and receive external calls from within the Teams interface.
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