Microsoft Teams Call Queues and Auto Attendants for Direct Routing

Microsoft released a very important update in case you are planning or already operating Microsoft Teams Direct Routing. I’m very excited about this recent service update. The Call Queue (CQ) and Auto Attendant (AA) Services for call flows and call automation were updated for Teams Direct Routing.

What’s new with Teams Direct Routing (May 2019)?

Let me recap and point out the capabilities which were announced via the Teams blog by Microsoft:

  • Manage CQs and AAs via Teams Admin Center (instead of the legacy SFB Online Admin Center)
  • (Preview May 2019) Support for Teams Direct Routing Telephone Numbers in Call Queues (for Teams-only users)
  • (Preview May 2019) Support for Teams Direct Routing Telephone Numbers in Auto Attendants (for Teams-only users)
  • Centralized holiday tables (to cope with calls differently during holidays)
  • Multiple telephone numbers for an CQ or AA
  • Round robin call distribution for CQ
  • (planned, not yet there) Transfer a CQ/AA call to a PSTN phone number
  • (planned, not yet there) Dial extensions from AA
  • (planned, not yet there) Voicemail shared mailbox for CQ and AA

Please note, in case you utilize SFB Online CQ/AA capabilities already: There are some details for as-is CQ/AA which will be automatically migrated/transferred from the SFB Online Admin Center to the Teams Admin Center.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

I’m really thrilled and excited about these updates. Why? Well, if you were still on Skype for Business Server with Enterprise Voice there were some limitations especially regarding SFB Response Groups which now seem to be addressed with this update for Teams Direct Routing.

What does this mean for you? If you have loads of SFB response groups, e.g. Sales hotline, Support hotline, department … hotlines or else you can start to plan to migrate those to Teams with Teams Direct Routing. I.e. you can assign your onpremise phone numbers for this which you use via Teams Direct Routing (an SBC) which will route incoming PSTN phone numbers from your PSTN link via qualified /certified Session Border Controller (SBC) to Microsoft Phone System and Teams.

Isn’t it amazing? I was waiting quite some time on these capabilities. Well, online you could find some workaround to get this working via SBC SIP message manipulation (no big deal), however these workarounds were not support by Microsoft, so if there would have been any minor change on the Cloud Backend it could break things. And I’m sure you don’t want to have a workaround solution for important or even business critical hotlines which might not work all of a sudden? But now, there are the required capabilities to plan for shifting onpremise SFB Response Groups to (Teams Direct Routing) without any workaround (SIP message manipulations, call forwarding…).

Additional Resources

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Audiocodes One Voice Operations Center (OVOC) 7.6

In this post I want to notify about the release of the latest Audiocodes One Voice Operations Center (OVOC) version and briefly explain what OVOC is and where it might help you.

In OVOC 7.6.1116 some remarkable features were added to the product as well as some changes were made to overcome limitations of previous versions.

What’s Audiocodes OVOC?

The One Voice Operations Center is a single pane of glass which helps you to manage voice endpoints and voice service in your voice infrastructure and network. It enables you via browser to globally manage voice devices, monitor your voice network service/s, support you to troubleshoot issues within your voice network (also with SFB) and it provides rich reporting to gain insights.

There are two versions available: Basic and Advanced. The basic version provides (only) device management.

What’s new in Audiocodes OVOC 7.6?

  • Dashboard at the OVOC landing page
  • Monitoring improvements for Audiocodes device performance
  • Increased number call exports
  • SmartTAP Call Recording Support
  • FQDN authentication support with SSL
  • LDAP support for multi-tenant environments
  • Jabra and Poly (formerly Polycom) VVX device support in the Device Manager (more in product notice #0356)
  • New OVOC agent for device management

Conclusion, opinion and summary

In my opinion OVOC is a must if you deploy several (voice) devices across your enterprise to have the ability to centrally manage and monitor these devices and the voice service operation. The more components the more important and inevitable it becomes. Especially, if your responsibility is to ensure a good voice user experience you should definitely consider to deploy OVOC for your Audiocodes voice network if not done yet.

Additional Resources

How are companies communicating in Germany?

I came across an interesting research result and overview by Statista. It tells us that most companies use e-mail, telephony (land line), mail and fax on a high frequency. New and modern means of communication are not that used as often. To me, this means there is plenty room for improvement to strive for adoption of modern workplace technology…  

Infografik: So kommunizieren Unternehmen in Deutschland | Statista

Mehr Infografiken finden Sie bei Statista

Highlights of SFB Server 2019, SFB Online, SFB Hybrid and Teams

Microsoft’s Ignite 2017 in Orlando took place and some very interesting announcements were made. This post sums up some contents and highlights regarding Skype for Business and Teams which were mentioned in one of the sessions (see link/video at the bottom). All contents might be subject to change and only provide a high level overview and summary.

Skype for Business Server (SFBS) 2019

Skype for Business Server (SFBS) 2019 Migrationpaths

  • Server 2013 -> Server 2019
  • Server 2015 -> Server 2019
  • Minimum OS: Windows Server 2016
  • Minimum SQL: SQL Server 2016

Current State –> Migration Proposal towards Teams

  • No onpremise Lync/SFB server –> Go for a TEAMs pilot (IMP, Meetings, Voice)
  • Onpremise SFB server without Enterprise Voice –> Go for TEAMs pilot in coexistence with SFB, migrate to TEAMs over time
  • Onpremise SFB server with Enterprise Voice –> Assess current capabilities incl. third-party integrations, service contracts etc., go for TEAMs pilot in coexistence with SFB, evaluate migration feasability to TEAMs or SFB Server 2019

SFBS 2019, SFB Online and Teams Hybrid

  • Office 365 Tenant required
  • Office 365 Tenant/Cloud (admin) permissions required
  • Hybrid aware Office 365 portal
  • Call Analytics and Retention in one portal for all useres
  • Voicemail Services provided via Cloud Backend for SFB Server 2019
  • Auto Attendant provided via Cloud Backend for SFB Server 2019
  • Call Queues provided via Cloud Backend for SFB Server 2019
  • One experience for all users
  • Modern Auth (in Public Preview for SFB Server) –> AAD

Meeting Migration Service

  • Scheduled Meeting Update Service
  • Replaces Meeting Migration Tool
  • Supports moving user from SFBS to SFBO
  • Supports Exchange Online or Exchange Server 2016 User Mailboxes

CloudPBX

  • Bring your own trunk
  • No CCE

Skype for Business Server (SFBS) 2019 Response Groups News?

  • No news/no new features regarding on premise response group/s

High Availability – Windows Fabric

  • New Fabric
  • EE 1 – 16 Frontends (not 2!)
  • EE 2 does not work –> Quorum problem! Not usable

Future Roadmap Microsoft UC?

More details might be provided on the October 2017 Roadmap of TEAMs.

Source of the above information

 

To stay up to speed do not forget to check out http://skypepreview.com for new (preview) features and functions on SFB/Teams as well as the other links listed in my previous posts here on this blog.

Microsoft Ignite 2017 Reminder

Tomorrow, 2017/25/09 Microsoft’s Ignite 2017 in Orlando (US) will kick off. You will be able to watch the keynotes from 15:00 – 23:00 h (UTC +01:00 Amsterdam, Berlin, …) via live stream. I’m looking forward to pretty awesome news and announcements regarding Office 365, Skype for Business, Teams, Yammer, … As you maybe already know there are rumors about SFB Online and Teams to become one or being merged to one single (cloud) platform (see links below)?! I’m thrilled to hear what’s going to happen with SFB and Teams. 🙂

I’m also very interested in UC-related AI (artificial intelligence) topics especially bots and fancy things we will be able to do with it. Automate things for communication-enabled business process (CEBP) etc. There so many options what can be done with it for all kind of companies, from small to large.

Enjoy and get positively amazed! 😉

 

Don’t forget a change management for your UC&C service deployment!

Unified Communication and collaboration (UC&C) service deployments do have a large-scale impact on your business. If well planned and executed a positiv one which supports the return on (your) investment over time. I’m writing this post because I’ve seen the excellent, the good and the bad adoption strategy realization. Some companies struggle and some do very well. I like to write down some notes which might be helpful for the one or the other to reach a good or even excellent adoption strategy realization.

Why is change management important for your UC&C service?

UC&C is very holistic because it is not just one service it’s a bunch of services for communications and collaboration. We all know that many IT infrastructure services are touched or involved in a properly functioning UC&C environment. That IT provides the fitting services to business should be standard. However it is not always the case. Users which keep the core business running and who will not receive what they need are more and more creative. In other words users might try to find and obtain the required service somewhere else to close the gap between provided IT services and requested IT services. But sometimes there are services provided by IT, like UC&C services but users are not aware of the features and how to use them. To put it in a nutshell if you have a car but do not know how to drive you will switch to and use what you know, so you’ll might ride a horse or bicycle instead of driving a car. So the car than stays where it is. If you bought it or pay a leasing rate there is no added value, on contrary you lose money. The same applies for IT services and UC&C. There are differences between IT services (direct / indirect services for users). UC&C is a direct service  (or bunch of direct services) because users will directly interact with the applications and devices providing UC&C capabilities. For instance database services or network services are indirect services because users are not directly interacting with these kind of services. To sum it up it is essential to plan for user adoption and training before rolling out all UC&C services and features to end users. Additionally I must also note that change management is always a good thing if your IT clients, users by default, are going to be confronted with new technology, services and organizational transformation. Don’t leave anyone behind! By using a car you can go more kilometers a day instead of going by horse or bicycle. 😉

What can I do?

You could implement an adequate project change management which accompanies your UC&C project. It will help you to …

  • establish and execute a strategy for the change to an UC&C service
  • plan and execute user communication
  • plan and execute users involvement (surveys, discussions, service previews/demos, …)
  • enable users (trainings, FAQs, wiki pages, handouts, video clips, …)
  • enable service for users (roll out / activation of services, disable / decommissioning legacy service (if applicable))

change-management

What can I provide my users to adopt UC&C?

It is common for vendors which provide applications and services for users to have supportive information and material available. Below you will find some examples what it can be like. It’s just some basic information. Depending on what the UC&C changes will be and look like within your organisation more and also customized material might be necessary. It’s no big deal but it must be taken into account for project planning.

Some resources for Microsoft Skype for Business

Some resources for Cisco Collaboration Services

Let’s start your project, make a change and improve things! 😉

Office 365 Enterprise – Skype for Business Service Preview

Office 365 Enterprise Kunden können sich bei Microsoft jetzt für eine Preview von neuen SfB Features registrieren.

Skype Broadcast Meetings / sehr große Onlinemeetings

Ausgewählte Office 365 (Preview) Kunden können mit Broadcast Meetings sehr große Onlinemeetings veranstalten. Bis zu 10.000 Teilnehmer sind bei einem solchen Onlinemeeting möglich.
Die Teilnahme ist nahezu von jedem Browser möglich.
Während des Meetings können Umfragen und Stimmungen via Bing Pulse gestartet und durchgeführt werden. Yammer gestattet die interaktive Kommunikation zum laufenden Broadcast Meeting.

PSTN Conferencing / Einwahlkonferenzen

In den USA können Office 365 (Preview) Kunden Einwahlkonferenzen bereitstellen. Teilnehmer können somit via Festnetztelefon oder Handy an der Konferenz teilnehmen, wenn keine Internetverbindung besteht.
Ergänzend wird eine Art Dialout-Conferencing verfügbar sein, d. h. ein Referent/Teilnehmer im Meeting kann einen anderen Teilnehmer in die Konferenz hinzufügen.

Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling / Cloud TK mit Anrufen ins Festnetz

Auch sehr schön, zuerst in der Preview nur in den USA, Basis-Telefonie aus der Cloud. Office 365 Preview User können damit Basis-Telefonie-Feautres nutzen, z. B. anrufen, Anrufe entgegennehmen, Anruf halten/fortzsetzen, weiterleiten und transferien.

Microsoft hat auch angekündigt, dass Cloud PBX auf Basis von Lync/SfB Server noch voraussichtlich Ende des Jahres weltweit ausgerollt werden soll. Im Detail wird vorgesehen, dass Kunden vorhandene Anschlüsse für ein- und ausgehende Anrufe nutzen können. Grandios! 🙂

Link zum Announcement: https://blogs.office.com/2015/07/01/announcing-preview-of-new-skype-for-business-services-in-office-365/