What does the rise in Microsoft Teams mean for the PBX?

– Written by Helen Johnstone
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What does the rise in Microsoft Teams mean for the PBX?

The communications landscape is transforming, and IT, Voice, and Telecom service providers need to respond. Microsoft has taken ownership of the user’s desktop. Office365 is the convergence point for all Microsoft’s key assets and with Teams, Microsoft is pulling telephony under this umbrella.

One integrated collaboration tool is a dream for IT admins, having just one application to deploy and manage to all users, across any device.

In addition to this Microsoft’s move over the last decade from selling software in boxes to delivering most of its services online means Microsoft now has a flexible monthly subscription and billing relationship with virtually all significant business customers

  • Microsoft owns nearly four-fifths of the business desktop market (source Statista).
  • Teams is Microsoft’s fastest-growing business application.
  • It is the second-largest Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platform in the world (source Synergy Research).
  • Teams has over 145 million daily users.

What does this mean for voice providers?

As businesses of all sizes implement a work-from-anywhere approach, the demands on communication solutions are changing. Businesses are moving away from traditional phone systems (14%) and adopting Unified Communications (82%) source: The Eastern Management Group

Whilst there is enthusiasm amongst users to do everything in Teams, there are serious business requirements that must continue to be delivered, such as compliance, reporting, call centers, etc, and more boring requirements like users or locations that just want a simple phone. This is the domain of the high-functioning PBX systems that are the bread and butter of the channel.

“Microsoft’s voice strategy does not appear to be to want to run the worlds’ biggest PBX; we see the roll-out of PSTN services by Microsoft to be fairly slow, and unlikely to be global. The features in the Microsoft PBX platform itself are not advancing as quickly as would be needed for many customers and importantly Microsoft have provided an interface for PSTN and PBX integration with Microsoft Teams, this decision suggests Microsoft’s primary interest is selling Teams, not phone systems.” Mark Herbert, President and Founder of Qunifi and the Call2Teams solution

Some UC providers have tried to ‘out-Teams’ Microsoft by building their own collaboration suite.

Yet working with rather than against the giant that is Microsoft is the way to go. And PSTN integration is one way for PBX providers to grow their offer.

Teams is a powerful UCaaS solution to have in your portfolio

Embracing a ‘with Teams’ strategy presents new and exciting opportunities for UCaaS providers, particularly with larger enterprise customers, where Microsoft Teams deployment is happening at an exponential pace.

The Teams PBX interface is called ‘Direct routing’ and opens up massive opportunities for savvy partners. There is a swelling customer base that understands the value and costs saving of using the new Teams client to manage and do everything.

There are two options available to organizations who want to integrate their existing PBX with Microsoft Teams…

The first is to install and license Session Border Controller (SBC) infrastructure but this can be costly and disruptive to setup and install.

The second option is to use Call2Teams which is the best of both worlds. Call2Teams is an add-on to Office 365. It allows organizations to retain their existing PBX phone system and fully integrate it quickly and easily into Teams.

Businesses are increasingly looking to reap the benefits of a single collaborative hub, such as Microsoft Teams. Yet businesses are unwilling to lose existing calling infrastructure, with feature-rich services that support multi-agent and call center environments.

With Call2Teams a hybrid approach can be taken. Utilizing the advantages of Microsoft Teams as a collaborative hub, whilst still maintaining the feature-rich functions of the PBX.

Demand is changing. Businesses are looking to utilize a suite of communication tools, such as phone, video conferencing, instant messaging, voicemail, email, fax, etc. It is about being able to dynamically choose the communications medium most appropriate.

“The future is interesting for the UCaaS sector and there will be some disruptive forces at play. Out of this disruption will come opportunity and a drive for innovation. The solution providers that give customers the richest experience without compromise are likely to prevail. There will also be further technology convergence, more than just IT and Voice services that will move the battleground. UCaaS providers that fix the ‘with-Teams’ challenge today can buy time to build and maintain clear differentiation as the market evolves.” Mark Herbert, President and Founder of Qunifi and the Call2Teams solution

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