Practical Guidance for Phone System with Calling Plans in Microsoft Teams
Phone System is an Office 365 feature that provides the ability to manage call routing, policies, and user provisioning. This includes phone calling management system, call routing, and call control.
Office 365 Calling Plans is an add-on service for the Phone System feature, delivered through Teams and Skype for Business Online. Calling Plans provide the people in your business with a primary phone number and lets them make and receive phone calls outside of your organization over the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
To learn more, read Here's what you get with Phone System in Office 365 and What are Calling Plans 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 a successful Phone System with Calling Plans implementation.
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, including Phone System with Calling Plans.
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 Phone System with Calling Plans technical implementation plan to achieve the desired end state.
Define business use cases for Phone System with Calling Plans
Phone System with Calling Plans allows organizations to modernize their workplace by enabling users to make business-related phone calls from their computers and mobile devices.
Workplace modernization can be part of activity-based working implementation, office moves, office fit-out refresh, retirement of legacy private branch exchange (PBX) solutions, conclusion of a PSTN service provider contract, etc.
In this step, core project stakeholders will define business use cases that support the implementation of Phone System with Calling Plans.
Business use cases are meant to document expected, 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, measurable business outcomes if these challenges are overcome
The following is an example of a completed business use case:
|Description of current business process
Standard configuration of Contoso’s office workspaces includes a desktop phone for every desk. Each employee will be provided with a direct inward dialing (DID) phone number. The desktop phones are connected to a PBX system and connected to PSTN via session initiation protocol (SIP) trunk. Employees can only make and receive phone calls at their assigned desktop phones.
|Challenges with existing business process
Usage analysis of the desktop phones shows that only 10% of the desktop phones are actively used, with the rest either configured to forward calls to mobile phones, or configured to simultaneously ring to mobile phones. Maintenance of existing PBX system and the associated desktop phones contributes to 20% of monthly telephony service cost.
|How technology can overcome these challenges
Phone System with Calling Plans will allow end user’s personal computer to receive and place phone calls over data network by leveraging the native Microsoft Teams app, removing the necessity to roll out and maintain desktop phones, and opens the opportunity to decommission the existing PBX system, as the phone service can be delivered via the cloud over the network with no dependency on traditional phone system.
|Expected, measurable, business outcomes
Removing requirements to maintain and decommissioning existing legacy PBX and desktop phones, will deliver a 20% reduction of monthly telephony service expense. Phone System with Calling Plans will simplify office workspaces, allowing Contoso to expand its operations by establishing new offices with minimal upfront telephony costs.
During the Envision phase, in addition to defining your business use cases, you should also get clarity around these items:
- Organizational scope
- Project timelines
Identify key stakeholders
The business use cases defined in the previous step will include organizational scope of Phone System with Calling Plans implementation. Based on that, you can complete the comprehensive stakeholder matrix 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 your 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 Phone System with Calling Plans implementation can be referenced below:
Vision: Increase productivity by maximizing Office 365 investments
|Objectives||Key Results||To Do|
|Deploy Phone System with Calling Plans in European branch offices by end of fiscal year 2018||FY18Q3: Deploy Phone System with Calling Plans in London office||Envision
|Decommission legacy PBX in London office by end of fiscal year 2018||FY18Q4: Decommission legacy PBX in London office||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 monthly telephony service expense||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. Capture this information in 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 Phone System with Calling Plans business use cases, from hardware requirements to software requirements, will be included as part of the environmental discovery.
Environmental discovery can also reveal whether you need to transfer phone numbers to Microsoft. This will help your organization adjust the project plan accordingly and prepare the necessary information required for number porting. To perform environmental discovery, use the Discovery Questionnaire.
Environmental discovery must include network readiness assessment to ensure the network is ready to support the implementation of Phone System with Calling Plans.
Network readiness to support Phone System with Calling Plans 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, perform a real-time media traffic simulation using these solutions:
- From Microsoft: Skype for Business Network Assessment Tool
- From partners: Network Readiness Assessment tools partners
The results of network readiness assessment will paint a clearer picture of the required network optimization or remediation required for successful implementation of Phone System with Calling Plans.
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 the Phone System with Calling Plans. 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 Phone System with Calling Plans 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 Phone System with Calling Plans 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|
|Phone System with Calling Plans 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 Phone System with Calling Plans 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 Phone System with Calling Plans.
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 Phone System with Calling Plans.
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 Phone System with Calling Plans.
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 Phone System with Calling Plans
To plan for the technical implementation of Phone System with Calling Plans, 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 Calling Plans
To find out where the Calling Plans service is available, read Countries and region availability for Audio Conferencing and Calling Plans.
Due to legal constraints, for Calling Plans to be available to multinational organizations, the contract for Office 365 subscriptions must be sourced from countries and regions covered by Calling Plans service, or where Calling Plans service is commercially available from.
After confirming your organization’s eligibility for obtaining the Calling Plans add-on, compile the list of user locations or offices where Calling Plans 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||Phone System Service|
|One Epping Road||Australia||Legacy PSTN service|
|100 Cyberport Road||Hong Kong SAR||Legacy PSTN service|
|One Marina Boulevard||Singapore||Legacy PSTN service|
|32 London Bridge Street||United Kingdom||Phone System with Calling Plans|
|39 quai du Président Roosevelt||France||Phone System with Calling Plans|
Licensing for Calling Plans
Calling Plan is an add-on to the Phone System feature in Office 365, so you must have a Phone System license enabled in order to use Calling Plans.
- Domestic Calling Plan
- International and Domestic Calling Plan
What is considered “domestic” for a specific user is determined by the user’s assigned Office 365 usage location.
Each Calling Plan type provides an allocation of calling minutes that users can use per month, either to make domestic calls or international calls. Domestic Calling Plan costs less compared to International and Domestic Calling Plan. To find out how many minutes are available for each country/region, see the "Calling Plans" section of Countries and region availability for Audio Conferencing and Calling Plans.
Typically, not everybody in an organization requires the ability to make international calls. The flexibility of subscribing and assigning the most appropriate Calling Plan type for individual user’s business requirements allows your organization to control the costs of Calling Plans implementation.
For each Office 365 tenant, the combined number of calling minutes are pooled by country or region, and per Calling Plan type. When the monthly calling minutes cap for the tenant is reached, Calling Plans service (except for emergency calling) will be suspended for the remainder of the month. Calling Plans services will resume automatically on the first day of the next calendar month.
To enable users to make outbound calls after the calling minutes are exhausted without having to wait until the next month billing cycle, you can setup Communications Credits for your organization. Communications Credits also gives the ability for users assigned with Domestic Calling Plan to make international calls charged by a “pay-per-minute” model.
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 chooses 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.
The use of Communications Credits can be controlled at per user basis, allowing you to ensure the capability is assigned to individuals in the organization that have proper business needs.
You can document the license assignment list for Phone System with Calling Plans users using the following example:
|User||Office||Office 365 License||Communications Credits|
|Emily Braun||32 London Bridge Street||Office 365 E5, International and Domestic Calling Plan||Enabled|
|Lidia Holloway||32 London Bridge Street||Office 365 E5, Domestic Calling Plan||Disabled|
|Pradeep Gupta||32 London Bridge Street||Office 365 E5, Domestic Calling Plan||Enabled|
|Marcel Beauchamp||39 quai du Président Roosevelt||Office 365 E3, Phone System add-on, Domestic Calling Plan||Disabled|
|Rachelle Cormier||39 quai du Président Roosevelt||Office 365 E5, International and Domestic Calling Plan||Enabled|
|Isabell Potvin||39 quai du Président Roosevelt||Office 365 E3, Phone System add-on, Domestic Calling Plan||Disabled|
Your Communications Credits planning numbers can be documented as the following:
|Initial amount||$ 1,000|
|Trigger amount||$ 400|
Phone Numbers and Emergency Locations
With Calling Plans in Office 365, every user in your organization needs to have a unique Direct Inward Dialing (DID) phone number and a corresponding validated emergency address.
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 for the details.
To obtain phone numbers from Microsoft directly, use any of these options:
- Skype for Business admin center
- Remote Windows PowerShell cmdlets
- [Submit a New Telephone Number Request form][https://support.office.com/article/Manage-phone-numbers-for-your-organization-6b61cb3c-361c-48a8-a9ef-d81bddde27bb).
The New Telephone Number Request form works best for a planned phone number acquisition, because you can request a contiguous block of phone numbers. Obtaining phone numbers using Skype for Business admin center or remote Windows PowerShell are not available in every country or region.
The first two methods - using Skype for Business admin center or remote Windows PowerShell - will work for one-off, instantaneous, phone number acquisition, and when contiguous blocks of phone numbers are not required.
There is a limit on the number of the phone numbers that can be acquired from Microsoft based on the number of Calling Plan licenses subscribed by your organization. For user (subscriber) phone numbers, the formula is (Number of Domestic Calling Plan + Domestic and International Calling Plan licenses) x 1.1 +10. For example, if you have 50 users with Calling Plan licenses, you can acquire 65 phone numbers ((50 x 1.1) + 10).
When you are configuring phone numbers for Calling Plans, it is required that an emergency address be assigned to each telephone number prior to assignment to a user. This is required to support emergency calling. The emergency address must be validated to ensure the emergency address is recognized that it is in a correct format that can be used by emergency response services.
Emergency Services Calling operates differently with Calling Plans service than on traditional telephone services. It is important that you understand these differences and communicate them to all users. Check Emergency calling terms and conditions for further details.
In addition to validated emergency address, emergency locations can be defined and associated with validated emergency address to give a more exact location within an address. An emergency location is typically building number, floor, building wing, or office number where the user is located.
The details of phone number acquisition, phone numbers, and emergency location details can be documented using the following template:
|User||Emergency Location and Address||Phone Number Acquisition||Phone Number|
|Emily Braun||1034/32 London Bridge Street, London, SE1, United Kingdom||Port existing||+44 20 7946 0034|
|Lidia Holloway||1023/32 London Bridge Street, London, SE1, United Kingdom||Port existing||+44 20 7946 0065|
|Pradeep Gupta||1023/32 London Bridge Street, London, SE1, United Kingdom||Port existing||+44 20 7946 0023|
|Marcel Beauchamp||07E15D/39 quai du Président Roosevelt, 92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux, France||Acquire new||TBA|
|Rachelle Cormier||07E15D/39 quai du Président Roosevelt, 92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux, France||Acquire new||TBA|
|Isabell Potvin||07E15D/39 quai du Président Roosevelt, 92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux, France||Acquire new||TBA|
Phone System voicemail, powered by Azure Voicemail Services, supports voicemail deposits to Exchange mailbox only and does not support third-party email systems.
Phone System voicemail by default will work with Exchange Online, however it has a minimum supported Exchange on-premises version and deployment model to allow delivery of voicemail messages to user mailboxes in the on-premises Exchange deployment.
Phone System voicemail features voicemail transcription and by default it is enabled for all users in your organization. In some cases, your business may have requirements to disable voicemail transcription for specific users or throughout the organization.
A fallback mechanism has been implemented so that Phone System voicemail can resend messages using SMTP, which means users with a mailbox on a third-party email system will receive their voicemail messages. There is no guaranteed service uptime or other voicemail features, such as changing voicemail greetings and other settings.
Phone System voicemail details for the Phone System with Calling Plans implementation can be documented as the following:
|User||Exchange Mailbox||Enable Voicemail||Voicemail Transcription|
By default, all outbound calls use the assigned phone number as calling identity (Caller ID). The recipient of the call can quickly identify the caller and decide whether to accept or reject the call. In some cases, there are legitimate business requirements to mask the Caller ID to protect the identity of callers by using the office main line number—this is typically a service number serviced by Auto Attendant configuration—as Caller ID, or to block Caller ID presentation altogether.
The following is an example of Caller ID masking details documentation template:
|User||Enable outbound Caller ID masking||Caller ID masking type||Allow user override||Enable inbound Caller ID masking|
|Lidia Holloway||Yes||Service number (OrgAA, +44 20 7946 0000)||No||Yes|
|Marcel Beauchamp||Yes||Service number (OrgAA, TBA)||No||Yes|
|Isabell Potvin||Yes||Service number (OrgAA, TBA)||No||Yes|
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.
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 placing a phone call.
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 What are dial plans? 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
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|
|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-39qdPR|
|Rachelle Cormier||39 quai du Président Roosevelt||Tenant dial plan||FR-Paris-Issy-39qdPR|
|Isabell Potvin||39 quai du Président Roosevelt||Tenant dial plan||FR-Paris-Issy-39qdPR|
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 deployment partner, with the information required to execute the technical onboarding for the implementation of Phone System with Calling Plans.
In general, a technical implementation plan will contain the following main sections:
Phone System with Calling Plans site enablement list
License assignment for Phone System with Calling Plans users
Communications Credits planning numbers
Phone number acquisition, phone numbers, and emergency location details
Voicemail configuration details
Caller ID masking configuration details
Tenant dial plans
Dial plan assignments
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.