Across industries, organizations are finding ways of balancing remote, hybrid and on-premises working. This is good news for employees, who value the flexibility of hybrid or remote roles – but they are likely to end up frustrated if the tools they use don’t support these new ways of working.

A key ingredient of employee experience, according to NTT DATA’s 2023 Global Employee Experience Trends Report, is technology that enables employees to be productive anywhere while collaborating and communicating with their colleagues as if they were all together in an office.

Microsoft Teams is one such collaboration platform. And now, Microsoft Operator Connect – launched in 2021 – enables telephony within Teams by using the communication features of Microsoft 365 to make calls across the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

Operator Connect therefore makes it easier for administrators to let employees make and receive PSTN calls within Teams.

Operator Connect versus Direct Routing

Microsoft’s existing Direct Routing solution can also connect cloud-based telephony to Teams, but it requires additional technical know-how – including setting up your own session border controller (SBC) infrastructure and connecting it to your Teams environment. This can be time-consuming, expensive and challenging for non-telecom administrators.

Operator Connect has simplified adoption with its user-friendly setup procedures. You no longer need to navigate complex configurations or invest heavily in infrastructure to connect your communication systems to Teams.

It also centralizes control and administration, providing a more user-centric and customizable experience. You can assign phone numbers to new users, manage their calling plans and configure call routing – all within a unified interface on the Teams platform. So, your IT administrators can manage everything in one place.

Operator Connect is more scalable than Direct Routing, so it can easily accommodate your changing business needs and enables connections with multiple telephony providers. You can choose the provider best suited to your organization’s unique requirements.

In this way, Operator Connect has transformed telephony into a widely accessible, mainstream communication solution for organizations of all sizes.

A table comparing a range of Operator Connect and Direct Routing features

A diagram showing the relative benefits of Operator Connect versus Direct Routing

Working with Microsoft on Operator Connect

As a Microsoft Solutions Partner for Modern Work and one of the handful of partners already included at the launch of Operator Connect, NTT DATA works closely with Microsoft to continually adapt and improve the service.

From the outset, we have offered some of the most extensive telephony coverage of all Operator Connect partners. Our solution architects are well versed in leading with Operator Connect or including Direct Routing for specific customer scenarios.

There are already more than 70 Operator Connect providers in the market. However, as the partner that has onboarded the most Operator Connect users thus far, we have a significant advantage: the experience we’ve gained allows us to refine our implementation processes, streamline operations and optimize costs for our clients.

Why Operator Connect makes business sense

Using Operator Connect will help your organization in several ways:

  • Because Operator Connect eliminates the need for on-premises infrastructure and capital expenditure, your operating costs associated with maintaining and upgrading infrastructure are greatly reduced.
  • With Operator Connect, you can avoid the costs of deploying and managing your own PSTN connectivity. This helps to cut calling costs and can result in significant savings over time.
  • A key advantage of Operator Connect is its speed of deployment, enabling you to establish your telephony services without extensive delays or disruptions. At NTT DATA, we’ve developed workflows and automated provisioning systems to expedite onboarding. You can get your telephony services up and running quickly by eliminating unnecessary complexities and minimizing manual configurations.
  • Operator Connect improves operational efficiencies by letting you consolidate your communication services within Teams. So, you can reduce the time and effort required to manage multiple communication systems.

Setting the stage for further innovation

Over the past two years, Operator Connect has also evolved technically, updating administrative interfaces with search and filter functionality and adding application programming interfaces for number migration from Direct Routing.

To keep up with customer needs, Microsoft now also offers Operator Connect Conferencing, and NTT DATA is one of a handful of operators delivering the service.

In short, Operator Connect by NTT DATA is flexible enough to adapt to different settings. This makes it easier than ever for users to connect from wherever they are – whether from a boardroom using a sophisticated room system or from the comfort of their homes.

Take the next step with NTT DATA

When you choose a partner for your cloud telephony needs, you should consider what you’ll need now as well as down the line. A full-stack managed services provider like NTT DATA can take your Operator Connect implementation to the next level with end-to-end support. We can manage every aspect of your communication needs, from initial design and implementation to ongoing maintenance – as and when you need it.

Our light-touch service is part of your subscription. It lets you self-operate and ask for assistance only when it’s needed. But we also offer a fully managed service that will support you in every aspect of your cloud telephony. This includes extending your on-premises connectivity with supported SBCs and protecting your devices with our Uptime service.

We also customize our solutions for organizations with specific needs such as compliance recording, call-queue support, contact-center capabilities and video interoperability, and our business-critical service additions include dynamic emergency calling.

Serving 190 countries with network, data and cloud services, we can deliver a full PSTN replacement service in 39 countries, consolidating carriers for global multinational clients by eliminating the complexities of local contracts and pricing.

Not only do we know our own network inside out, but we also have more than 300 certified Microsoft experts to guide you during implementation and offer ongoing technical assistance.

With NTT DATA, you’ll soon enjoy the savings and coverage as well as the reliability and support you need.


Ready to transform your telephony and how your organization uses Microsoft Teams? Download our ebook: How Has Operator Connect by NTT Become a Great Success?.