Practical guidance for Audio Conferencing in Microsoft Teams
The new Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business Admin Center is coming soon! Starting in March 2018, we're gradually migrating settings to it from both the current Skype for Business admin center and the Microsoft Teams experience in the Office 365 admin center. If a setting has been migrated, you'll see a notification and then be directed to the setting's location in the new Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business Admin Center.
Audio Conferencing in Office 365 allows participants to join your Teams meetings from any telephone.
Here's what you get with Audio Conferencing in Office 365.
This practical guidance takes you through the Office 365 FastTrack customer journey framework and its three phases, Envision, Onboard, and Drive Value, to help you plan, deliver, and operate an Audio Conferencing implementation towards succesful business outcomes.
In this practical guidance, we are providing example outputs for each activity and key discussion. The examples throughout this document are enclosed inside TIP callouts and they serve as a template that you can reuse. You'll see "TBA" (to be added) for information that you need to complete as part of your planning process.
The Envision phase provides the foundation for the Office 365 customer journey and is applicable to all workloads such as Audio Conferencing.
In this phase, business goals are captured, with relevant project stakeholders assembled, to ultimately deliver:
A high-level success plan that contains business use cases, key stakeholders, objectives and key results (OKRs), key success indicators (KSIs), risks, environmental assessment, adoption readiness, and operational plan.
A detailed Audio Conferencing technical implementation plan to achieve the desired end state.
Define business use cases for Audio Conferencing
Audio Conferencing provides organizations with additional entry points to any meetings (adhoc and scheduled) by allowing meeting participants to join via PSTN (public switched telephone network) by dialing in using traditional land line, PBX, or mobile phones.
This is useful when the organizer or participants are not in front of a computer, or when data connections are unavailable or unreliable to support voice communications—such as when in a remote area with spotty mobile data coverage, or if connected to a free, public Wi-Fi service with limited bandwidth, or when meeting participants prefer to dial in to the meeting using telephony endpoint readily accessible to them.
In this step, core project stakeholders will define business use cases that support the implementation of Audio Conferencing.
Business use cases are meant to define and document the expected and measurable business outcomes, and include the following:
- Description of current business process
- Challenges with existing business process defined
- How technology can help overcome these challenges
- The expected and measurable business outcomes if these challenges are overcome
The following is an example of a completed business use case:
|Description of current business process
Contoso currently relies on PSTN conferencing services provided by the incumbent local telephony provider chargeable by meeting minutes for internal meetings and meetings involving external parties.
|Challenges with existing business process
Contoso spends roughly USD 1 million per year for the current PSTN conferencing service, with 75% of the cost incurred for internal meetings.
The use of traditional telephony endpoints to join the meetings hosted by the PSTN conferencing service is not aligned with the plan for the organization to adopt Teams as modern communications and collaboration platform.
|How technology can overcome these challenges
With the adoption of Microsoft Teams as modern communications and collaboration platform, internal users are expected to primarily join meetings using their PCs equipped with optimized headsets and meeting room devices. Audio Conferencing service will be available to support external participants or to support situations where the use of PC audio is not favorable for the internal participants.
|Expected, measurable, business outcomes
The move to Teams as modern communications and collaboration platform, combined with Audio Conferencing service, will greatly reduce the cost to deliver the PSTN conferencing service to the point that Contoso is expected to only spend approximately 20% of the annual cost of the existing PSTN conferencing service.
In addition to defining your business use cases, as you move into the next step of the Envision phase, you should also get clarity around:
- organizational scope, and
- project timelines
Identify key stakeholders
The business use cases defined in the previous step will include organizational scope of Audio Conferencing implementation, and based on that, the comprehensive stakeholder matrix can be completed to include the right people to be involved in the project.
Below is an example of stakeholder matrix template that you can use to document the project stakeholders:
|Role||Description||Name, contact information, location|
|Project Executive Sponsor||
|Change Management/Adoption Specialist||
|Support/Help Desk Lead||
|Business Unit Representatives||
Define objectives and key results, key success indicators, and risks
With the project stakeholders assembled, business use cases, organizational scope and project timelines can be translated into objectives and key results (OKRs) and the measures of project success can be defined into a list of key success indicators (KSIs).
Full participation from project stakeholders when defining the OKRs and KSIs will ensure sense of ownership and they are aligned to organizational business requirements.
OKRs will contain the list of objectives set in the beginning of the project, with measurable key results defined in a quarterly basis. The key results are reviewed monthly to track status of the overall project, and based on progress, adjustment to the quarterly plans can be made as needed.
Example of OKRs relevant to Audio Conferencing implementation can be referenced below:
Vision: Increase productivity by maximizing Office 365 investments
|Objectives||Key Results||To Do|
|Deploy Audio Conferencing in Teams by end of fiscal year 2018||FY18Q1: Deploy Audio Conferencing in Teams globally||Envision
|Decommission legacy PSTN Conferencing service globally by mid of fiscal year 2018||FY18Q2: Decommission legacy PSTN Conferencing service globally||Drive Value
KSIs measure quality and success of the key results and complement the binary nature of OKRs (achieved or not achieved), by detailing the good and/or bad results. When defining KSIs, we recommend leveraging the “specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, time-related” or SMART criteria.
The following is an example of KSI relevant to this project:
|Type||KSI question & criteria||How measured||Success criteria||Measured||Responsible|
|Usage/adoption||Call quality is equal to or better than the previous solution||Survey||80% of users agree or strongly agree||After enablement and quarterly||Information Technology team|
|Usage/adoption||Microsoft Teams made the communication process easier||Survey||80% of users agree or strongly agree||After enablement and quarterly||Change Management team|
|Usage/adoption||Users actively use the solution||Office 365 reports, Call Quality Dashboard||80% of users are active daily users||Daily||Change Management team|
|Usage/quality||Percentage of poor calls/conferences should be minimal||Call Quality Dashboard||< 5% of poor calls per month||Daily||Information Technology team|
|Usage/support||I know how to get technical support||Survey||90% of users agree or strongly agree||After enablement and quarterly||Change Management team|
|Usage/support||I am satisfied with the quality of technical support||Survey||80% of users agree or strongly agree||After each incident||Information Technology team|
|Financial||Reduction of legacy conferencing minutes||Financial system||Meet defined ROI||Based on ROI||Change Management team|
You need to identify business risks as part of this exercise and define a mitigation plan for each identified risk. This information can be captured into a risk plan.
Your risk plan can be documented as the example below:
|Upcoming merger will add up to 1,000 people||High||High||High||
|Telephone number porting will delay project completion||High||High||High||
|Planned network redesign||High||Medium||Medium||
Assess environment and evaluate adoption readiness
To achieve the intended OKRs, you may have to define the high-level architecture of the solution. It takes environmental discovery to evaluate all aspects relating to IT and telephony infrastructure, networking, and operations.
All matters related to end-user computing, such as readiness assessment of the personal computers and mobile devices to support Audio Conferencing business use cases, from hardware requirements to software requirements, will be included as part of the environmental discovery.
Environmental discovery can also uncover if there are requirements to transfer phone numbers to Microsoft. This will help your organization to adjust the project plan accordingly and prepare the necessary information required for number porting. You can perform environmental discovery by leveraging the following questionnaire.
Environmental discovery must include network readiness assessment to ensure the network is ready to support the implementation of the Audio Conferencing service.
Network readiness to support Audio Conferencing can be determined by leveraging the information captured through the environmental discovery (such as details of internet connectivity and WAN topology, site links and available bandwidth) and persona analysis data (that can be translated into an expected usage of each workload) into the My Advisor Network Planning tool. To further confirm network readiness, real-time media traffic simulation can be performed using the solutions provided by Microsoft or by Network Readiness Assessment tools partners.
The results of the Network Readiness Assessment will paint a clearer picture of the required network optimization or remediation required for the success of Audio Conferencing implementation.
Adoption readiness can be evaluated by executing persona analysis to come up with a list of personas in the organization who can be targeted for the implementation of Audio Conferencing service. The persona analysis includes the identification of additional peripherals or devices required to realize the intended business outcomes.
To perform persona analysis, you can conduct a workshop by involving relevant project stakeholders, leveraging the Persona Alignment workshop deck and Persona Feature Matrix. The result of persona analysis workshop can be summarized into a report using the Persona Analysis Report template.
While the Discovery Questionnaire and Persona Analysis examples were initially written for Skype for Business Online, a majority of the content is relevant to Teams. Feel free to modify and remove items that are not relevant to your project goals.
You can identify technical risks as part of an environmental assessment and adoption readiness evaluation and develop a mitigation plan for each identified risk. This information should be incorporated as part of the risk plan.
Map operational roles
Planning for operations and identifying the teams that will operate the Audio Conferencing service is an important step, as operations must start when the first pilot users are enabled. Each identified team must review and agree on the tasks and responsibilities identified and start the preparation to operate the Audio Conferencing service. The preparation might include training and readiness, additional staffing, or ensuring external providers are set up to deliver the service.
The following is an example of a template to document the result of operational roles mapping exercise that you performed to support this project:
|Operational Role||Description||Team||Contact Details|
|Service Owner||Service owner, interface to business divisions, strategy||TBA||TBA|
|Audio Conferencing Operations||Daily operations, user and device account move/add/change, monitoring||TBA||TBA|
|Tenant Admin||Change tenant-wide settings, enable new features||TBA||TBA|
|Help Desk||Interface for end-users to get support||TBA||TBA|
|Network Operations||Runs LAN, WAN, Wi-Fi, and Internet Access||TBA||TBA|
|Client & Endpoints Team||Manage desktop deployments||TBA||TBA|
|Identity Operations||Manage identity infrastructure (AD, ADFS, Azure AD)||TBA||TBA|
|Adoption/change management||Manage awareness, training and adoption for the solution||TBA||TBA|
|Exchange Operations||Manages the Exchange environment||TBA||TBA|
To facilitate a more detailed operational roles mapping, including the tasks associated with each operational role, you can use the Operational Role Mapping Workbook to capture the details that will provide the clarity around roles and responsibilities to support Audio Conferencing service.
Document success plan
A success plan is the documentation created in the Envision phase that consists of business case, service readiness, adoption plan, and operational plan.
The success plan will provide the project team, which can include FastTrack or deployment partner, with sufficient information to realize the organization’s goals with Audio Conferencing service.
In general, a success plan will contain the following main sections:
- Business case
- Service readiness
- Adoption plan
- Operational plan
Business use cases, stakeholders, OKRs and KSIs, risks, and project timelines typically make up the bulk of information required for a business case. You need to document them as part of the success plan.
Environmental assessment provides the initial information required to determine technical readiness for the organization to implement Audio Conferencing.
Included here is the plan to address areas needing remediation discovered through environmental assessment. You need to include the service readiness assessment and remediation plan as part of the success plan.
Following an adoption readiness assessment, further detailed planning must be completed for the project team to come up with a comprehensive set of communication plans, training plan, and pre-launch, at-launch, and post-launch adoption activities.
Resources to support adoption activities such as flyers, welcome emails, and training materials are identified at this step, along with any customizations needed to meet organizational requirements.
The templates for adoption activities are available here.
Operational roles mapping exercise will establish the roles and responsibilities, and the teams assigned to each operational role to support the implementation of Audio Conferencing.
You need to complete this and include the operational plan as part of the success plan to ensure operational readiness of the solution.
Technical Planning for Audio Conferencing
To plan for the technical implementation of Audio Conferencing, a series of decisions must be made ahead of time to better prepare your organization to implement a solution that meets business requirements. These decisions will be documented into a technical implementation plan.
Availability of Audio Conferencing
Audio Conferencing is available in these countries and regions.
Due to legal constraints, for Audio Conferencing to be available to multinational organizations, the contract for Office 365 subscriptions must be sourced from countries and regions covered by Audio Conferencing service, or where Audio Conferencing service is commercially available from.
After confirming your organization’s eligibility for obtaining the Audio Conferencing service, compile the list of user locations or offices where Audio Conferencing service will be implemented based on the list of available countries and regions.
Below is an example of a Phone System with Calling Plans site enablement list template:
|Office||Location||PSTN Conference Service|
|One Epping Road||Australia||Audio Conferencing|
|100 Cyberport Road||Hong Kong SAR||Legacy PSTN Conferencing|
|One Marina Boulevard||Singapore||Audio Conferencing|
|32 London Bridge Street||United Kingdom||Audio Conferencing|
|39 quai du Président Roosevelt||France||Audio Conferencing|
Licensing for Audio Conferencing
Audio Conferencing license is available as part of Office 365 E5 subscription plans, or as an add-on to Office 365 E1 or Office 365 E3 subscription plans.
PSTN or dial-in conferencing in Teams does not support 3rd-party Audio Conferencing Providers (ACPs).
If you already use Skype for Business Online PSTN Conferencing today, you can immediately take advantage of Audio Conferencing in Teams.
To provide toll-free conference bridge phone numbers and to support conferencing dial-out to International phone numbers, you need to setup Communications Credits for your organization.
Some countries are serviced by toll-free conference bridge phone numbers only, and in this case the use of Communications Credits is a mandatory requirement to support dial in for such countries.
The first consideration to make when implementing Communications Credits is to decide the initial amount of funds to be purchased. Recommended funding amounts can be referenced from Communications Credits article.
If your organization choose to use auto-recharge, a recommendation on the trigger (lowest amount of funds) is also included in the Communications Credits article. Auto-recharge amount needs to be determined by the actual usage. Communications Credits usage should be monitored over time and recharge amount needs to be adjusted as required.
You can document the license assignment list for Audio Conferencing users using the following example:
|User||Office||Office 365 License|
|Adele Vance||One Epping Road||Office 365 E5|
|Alex Wilber||One Epping Road||Office 365 E3, Audio Conferencing add-on|
|Ben Walters||One Epping Road||Office 365 E3, Audio Conferencing add-on|
|Christie Cline||One Marina Boulevard||Office 365 E3, Audio Conferencing add-on|
|Debra Berger||One Marina Boulevard||Office 365 E5|
|Lee Gu||One Marina Boulevard||Office 365 E5|
|Emily Braun||32 London Bridge Street||Office 365 E5|
|Lidia Holloway||32 London Bridge Street||Office 365 E5|
|Pradeep Gupta||32 London Bridge Street||Office 365 E5|
|Marcel Beauchamp||39 quai du Président Roosevelt||Office 365 E3, Audio Conferencing add-on|
|Rachelle Cormier||39 quai du Président Roosevelt||Office 365 E5|
|Isabell Potvin||39 quai du Président Roosevelt||Office 365 E3, Audio Conferencing add-on|
Your Communications Credits planning numbers can be documented as the following:
|Initial amount||$ 1,000|
|Trigger amount||$ 400|
Conference bridge phone numbers
The Audio Conferencing service in Office 365 includes:
- Multiple types of conference bridge phone numbers (Toll and Toll-Free)
- Multiple categories of the phone number (dedicated and shared)
- Support for multiple languages for the conference bridge (primary and secondary)
- A default phone number for the tenant.
Full description of the included capabilities can be referenced from Set up Audio Conferencing for Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams and Phone numbers for Audio Conferencing.
Dedicated conference bridge phone numbers are counted towards the limit of phone numbers that can be acquired per tenant, based on the number of applicable licenses as described in Getting service phone numbers for Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. Toll-free conference bridge phone numbers require Communications Credits.
If there are existing conference bridge phone numbers that must be transferred to the Audio Conferencing service, assuming they are meeting the country-specific requirements, then the existing conference bridge phone numbers can be transferred to Microsoft.
Complexity of transferring phone numbers to Microsoft varies greatly based on the countries or regions, carriers, the number of circuits involved, and many other contributing factors. To plan for phone number porting, check out the Number Porting Guide.
Additional details on transferring phone numbers to Audio Conferencing service can be found in Transfer phone numbers to Office 365.
Below is an example of a template to capture conference bridge details:
|Office||Bridge Number Acquisition and Bridge Type||Bridge Number||Bridge Language|
|One Epping Road||Acquire new, dedicated||TBA||English (Australia)|
|One Marina Boulevard||Acquire new, shared||TBA||English (United States), Chinese (Simplified, PRC)|
|32 London Bridge Street||Port existing, dedicated||+44 20 7946 0001||English (United Kingdom)|
|39 quai du Président Roosevelt||Acquire new, dedicated||TBA||French (France), English (United Kingdom)|
Conference bridge settings
Organization-wide configuration options around Audio Conferencing meeting join experience (meeting entry and exit notification and caller name recording), meeting organizer’s PIN length, and email notification are available to further tailor the end-user experience.
- Meeting entry and exit notifications are available in the form of recorded name, phone number, and tones.
- PIN length is configurable from 4 to 12 digits, with a 5-digit PIN as the default.
- Notification emails upon enablement of Audio Conferencing license or any other admin-driven changes are enabled by default. You can disable this feature and take control of your organization’s end-user communications.
For users who are assigned an Audio Conferencing license, the default toll/toll-free numbers, shown in the Audio Conferencing coordinates, are configurable to use:
- the tenant-level default, or
- the automatically-assigned conference bridge phone numbers, or
- manually defined conference bridge phone numbers for each user.
User-specific conference bridge phone numbers are typically useful in global or nationwide organizations where users are distributed and must provide local numbers as the default conference bridge phone numbers in the meeting invites.
Participants joining from different cities or overseas can look up additional numbers configured at the tenant-level, but these numbers do not appear directly in the meeting invites. The meeting invites provide a link that will take participants to the Teams Conference Dial-in Numbers page for them to lookup the closest conference bridge phone numbers available from their location.
You can also configure how unauthenticated callers are handled by each individual meeting organizer, whether to require meeting organizer to start the meeting before unauthenticated callers are admitted, or to allow unauthenticated callers to start a meeting.
Additional configurations that can be applied for each user are available to control the use of toll-free conference bridge phone numbers and dial-out from a conference.
These cost-related controls are currently available for preview customers only. You can enroll your organization in the preview program from https://www.skypepreview.com.
With these controls, you can decide whether meeting organizers can provide toll-free conference bridge phone numbers for meetings organized by them, and to control whether participants can dial out from the meetings organized by them. The level of dial-out control spans from disallowing dial out, only allowing dial out to domestic numbers, to allowing dial out to both domestic and international numbers.
Your conference bridge settings can be documented as the following:
|Enable meeting entry and exit notifications||Enabled|
|Entry/exit announcement type||Tones|
|Ask callers to record their name before joining the meeting||Disabled|
|Automatically send emails to users if their dial-in settings change||Disabled|
You can document the conference bridge settings assignment list for Audio Conferencing users using the following example:
|User||Office||Default toll number||Default toll-free number||Allow toll-free||Unauthenticated callers bypass lobby||Conference dial out|
|Adele Vance||One Epping Road||TBA||TBA||Yes||Enabled||International and domestic|
|Alex Wilber||One Epping Road||TBA||TBA||No||Disabled||Not allowed|
|Ben Walters||One Epping Road||TBA||TBA||No||Disabled||Not allowed|
|Christie Cline||One Marina Boulevard||TBA||TBA||Yes||Disabled||Domestic|
|Debra Berger||One Marina Boulevard||TBA||TBA||Yes||Enabled||Domestic|
|Lee Gu||One Marina Boulevard||TBA||TBA||Yes||Enabled||Domestic|
|Emily Braun||32 London Bridge Street||+44 20 7946 0001||TBA||Yes||Enabled||Not allowed|
|Lidia Holloway||32 London Bridge Street||+44 20 7946 0001||TBA||Yes||Disabled||Not allowed|
|Pradeep Gupta||32 London Bridge Street||+44 20 7946 0001||TBA||Yes||Disabled||Not allowed|
|Marcel Beauchamp||39 quai du Président Roosevelt||TBA||TBA||No||Disabled||Domestic|
|Rachelle Cormier||39 quai du Président Roosevelt||TBA||TBA||Yes||Enabled||International and domestic|
|Isabell Potvin||39 quai du Président Roosevelt||TBA||TBA||No||Disabled||Domestic|
A Dial Plan, in the Phone System feature of Office 365, is a set of normalization rules that translates dialed phone numbers into an alternate format (typically E.164 format) for call authorization and call routing. Audio Conferencing service leverages the same capabilities used by Phone System to translate dialed phone numbers in conference dial out scenarios.
A dial plan allows users to dial phone numbers the way they are accustomed to, such as omitting area code for local calls, omitting country code for domestic calls, or even using short digit dialing when performing conference dial out.
Within the Phone System feature of Office 365, there are two types of dial plans:
- Service dial plan. This is the default dial plan and applied to users based on Office 365 usage location, and it cannot be modified.
- Tenant dial plan. This is a customizable dial plan within a tenant, and further divided into two types:
- Tenant-global dial plan—the dial plan applies to all users within the tenant.
- Tenant-user dial plan—the dial plan applies only to specific users.
Check out the What are dial plans? documentation for further details and examples.
The effective dial plan assigned to users is the combination of service dial plan (based on user’s Office 365 usage location) and tenant dial plan (can be either tenant-global dial plan or tenant-user dial plan).
There is a maximum of 25 normalization rules in each tenant dial plan, and thus duplication with normalization rules already available as part of service dial plan needs to be avoided.
If it is applicable to your project, you can use the following template to document the tenant dial plans configurations:
|Tenant Dial Plan Name
|Normalization Rules Name
One Epping Road North Ryde, NSW, AU Dial Plan
Internal number (x7000 - x7999) for One Epping Road office, North Ryde, NSW, Australia
Local number normalization for NSW, Australia
Toll Free number normalization for Australia
Service number normalization for Australia
OMB Singapore, SG Dial Plan
Internal number (x8000 – x8999) for OMB office, Singapore
Toll Free number normalization for Singapore
Service number normalization for Singapore
39 quai du Président Roosevelt Issy-les-Moulineaux, France Dial Plan
Internal number (x7000 – x7999) for 39 quai du Président Roosevelt office, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France
Toll Free number normalization for France
Service number normalization for France
The example template below can be leveraged to document dial plan assignments to support your project:
|User||Office||Dial Plan Type||Dial Plan Name|
|Adele Vance||One Epping Road||Tenant dial plan||AU-NSW-NorthRyde-OER|
|Alex Wilber||One Epping Road||Tenant dial plan||AU-NSW-NorthRyde-OER|
|Ben Walters||One Epping Road||Tenant dial plan||AU-NSW-NorthRyde-OER|
|Christie Cline||One Marina Boulevard||Tenant dial plan||SG-Singapore-OMB|
|Debra Berger||One Marina Boulevard||Tenant dial plan||SG-Singapore-OMB|
|Lee Gu||One Marina Boulevard||Tenant dial plan||SG-Singapore-OMB|
|Emily Braun||32 London Bridge Street||Service dial plan||N/A|
|Lidia Holloway||32 London Bridge Street||Service dial plan||N/A|
|Pradeep Gupta||32 London Bridge Street||Service dial plan||N/A|
|Marcel Beauchamp||39 quai du Président Roosevelt||Tenant dial plan||FR-Paris-Issy-30qdPR|
|Rachelle Cormier||39 quai du Président Roosevelt||Tenant dial plan||FR-Paris-Issy-30qdPR|
|Isabell Potvin||39 quai du Président Roosevelt||Tenant dial plan||FR-Paris-Issy-30qdPR|
Microsoft Teams configurations
Support for Audio Conferencing is available for ad-hoc and scheduled meetings. For scheduled meetings, tenant-level configurations that govern meeting scheduling (private and channel meetings) must be enabled.
Currently, if your organization has compliance requirements to ensure all meeting discussions are discoverable, you should disable private meetings if the organizer has an Exchange on-premises mailbox.
In another use case, if all meetings in the organization must be visible to invited parties only, to avoid disclosing meeting information to uninvited parties, we recommend that you disable the ability to schedule meetings in channels.
The settings, available as tenant-level configurations, are applicable to all users in the organization, and will impact all meeting scheduling in Teams, not specific to Teams meetings with Audio Conferencing.
Your Teams meetings configurations can be documented as the following:
|Allow scheduling for private meetings||Enabled|
|Allow scheduling for channel meetings||Disabled|
Document technical implementation plan
Use the decision points above to document your technical implementation plan. This technical implementation plan will provide the project team, which can include FastTrack or a deployment partner, with the information required to execute the technical onboarding for the implementation of Audio Conferencing.
In general, a technical implementation plan will contain the following main sections:
Audio Conferencing service site enablement list
License assignment list for Audio Conferencing meeting organizers
Communications Credits planning numbers
Conference bridge details
Conference bridge settings
Conference bridge settings assignments
Tenant dial plans
Dial plan assignments
Microsoft Teams meetings configurations
With the completion of success plan and technical implementation plan, you are now ready to take your organization to the next steps along the Office 365 customer journey.