How has Teams unified communications affected voice services?

– Written by Helen Johnstone

The rapid shift to remote working seen in 2020, resulted in Teams becoming the fastest growing business app in Microsoft history. Unified communications platforms such as Teams were invaluable when businesses saw a sudden shift to homeworking due to the pandemic and stay at home orders.

This shift accelerated a change in how we work. With many workers using one platform, such as Teams, for messaging, video calls and file sharing to stay connected with colleagues, whilst working remotely. Indeed, Microsoft Teams recorded a 72 per cent increase in instant messages sent in March 2020 alone. And with over 500,000 organizations using Microsoft Teams as their default messaging platform, that is a lot of messages! And video call fatigue became official, with a study published by Stanford University suggesting fatigue solutions.

More recently Microsoft reported 145 million daily active Teams users. Signally that Microsoft Teams has a significant share of the unified communications space. Yet, what does this mean for those delivering voice services?

Are traditional voice services still needed?

Gartner have forecast that by 2022, 15% of organizations will rely solely on cloud office suites (Microsoft Office 365 and Google Workspace) for their business communications needs, including telephony. The inclusion of telephony in this statement shows how voice services are still of value. This is also backed by research from Salesforce, showing that 92% of customer interactions still occur over the phone. So, despite messaging and video, there is still a place for voice calls. Yet to keep up with customer demand, voice, IT and Telco providers all need to consider how best to integrate these calls within the Teams UC platform.

Microsoft understand the importance of delivering enterprise telephony features within their UC Teams platform, with the announcement of Operator Connect. And according to the Workplace Collaboration 2021 – 2022 Research Study 70.4% of organizations adopting Microsoft Teams are using direct routing to connect to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). With market analyst Stephens stating that 4 times as many organizations are utilizing Teams direct routing vs. last year.

How can telecom service providers differentiate themselves?

Microsoft Teams brings a host of integrations to take advantage of. And by voice-enabling Teams, service providers can offer some unique solutions, or solution bundles. CRM integrations, work management apps, and industry-specific tools can all be used within the Teams workspace to optimize work productivity.

Unifying services onto one platform for the end user is the way to go. 85% of the world’s leading companies feel that APIs that extend business communications for both employees and customers are crucial to business growth. With Teams end users can reduce time switching between Apps, and by bringing calling into Teams users do not need to switch between operating systems to make calls.

The exponential growth in Microsoft Teams is also driving adoption of Qunifi’s Microsoft approved product Call2Teams.

Call2Teams is the leader in Microsoft Teams direct-routing-as-a-service and native calling – with nearly all firms identified in Gartner’s UCaaS Magic Quadrant, as well as 250+ other distributors, resellers, and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) using Call2Teams as their solution for Teams integration.

By overlaying Call2Teams our Voice, IT, and Telco partners find they can easily provide calling within the Teams environment. Meaning feature-rich telephony, which may not be supported in Teams, can be retained. Call2Teams opens up a hybrid approach, so businesses can make the most of enterprise-grade telephony and best-in-class unified communications, such as Microsoft Teams.

Call2Teams allows customers to retain negotiated calling plans and minutes. It also means feature-rich telephony, which may not be supported in Teams, can be retained.
For channel partners, Call2Teams offers an out-of-the-box, go-to-market solution. Importantly it is a value-add solution, which means our partners can take an active part in the Unified Communications conversation.

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