Demystifying Microsoft Teams

Teams is progressively replacing Skype for Business in Microsoft’s quest to rule the business collaborative workspace market by, like all of its predecessors, when it comes to business grade telephony the options and features seem pretty thin. Mark Whitehead, Managing Director of VoIPcloud explains how this can be rectified.

Teams was launched in 2017 along side its older, more established sibling, Skype for Business and is now set to replace it in July 31, 2021. Since Sept last year however Microsoft has been pushing customers toward Teams.

With 13m and rising global active Teams users , the question many are asking however is whether Teams is ready for this ‘promotion’ and more importantly, are resellers getting the right information on how to sell it as a communications and not just a collaboration solution.

Comms Business Magazine: What is missing from Teams to make it an effective business communications tool rather than just a collaboration tool?

Mark Whitehead: As long as you have a solid network and are partnering with a vendor that has expertise in direct routing through SBCs rather than using applications like API Sync you will reduce the chance jitter and latency and achieve voice clarity. A Teams Integration to a VoIP PBX will sit in the call flow as any SIP device would and give you a full PBX experience with features such as Call Recording, Ring Groups and time based routing.

CBM: So what voice features are typically offered in the market today?

MW: This depends on the supplier; some providers will tell you it’s limited and most will offer only basic call termination with very few features.

As long as the user has Microsoft licences that support Microsoft Phone System, which is going to be expanded outside the traditional Enterprise licences following a recent announcement at Ignite, this represents a huge prospect for an MSP currently supporting an 0365 customer base. As well as being able to increase ARPU by adding voice to new rollouts there is a whole installed base to target with new sales campaigns.

In a world where recurring revenues are king, voice through Teams affords a great opportunity for growth.

Mark Whitehead of VoIPcloud

CBM: Isn’t that a rather limited features set? What would make it better?

MW: It would seem to be if it was to be believed, I was told recently you couldn’t call record through Teams which you absolutely can on the VoIPcloud system. Many providers are late to the party in respect of Teams and struggling to provide the Voice features that should available to the end user. VoIPcloud integrated Teams into is platform 12 months ago and are now enhancing the service. Products that supply Teams and Skype for Business such as our own are perfect for migration strategies.

MW: What can VoIPcloud offer in this respect?

MW: We have developed a solution that incorporates the Microsoft Teams unified communications application, and integrates with our bespoke Hosted PBX call flow manager. This allows business grade call flow control and advanced features like Call queues, Voice menus, Call recording and more, whilst adding all the unified communications features of Microsoft Teams.

CBM: How easy is it for resellers to offer these services?

MW: Over a period of ten years VoipCloud has developed an MSP friendly portal that allows wholesalers to set up their own white label partners whilst white label partners have the ability to set up end customers and referrers. Furthermore, the end users can build their own call flows reducing cost to serve to partners.

Through the portal Teams can be added like any other SIP device. Our knowledge-based articles and videos make the set up a simple cut and paste exercise with the Powershell navigated with ease. Add this to our 24-hr support desk and unlimited call packages and you have compelling Teams integration proposition.

VoIPcloud aren’t here to resell 0365 Teams but to help our partners add voice to licenses that their customers have already been purchased. We’re here to creating new partner revenue streams and to stop competitors coming in through their back door – we even offer free trials.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine