At the recent UC Expo conference in London, I was struck by the number of customers and partners who stopped by our Anywhere365 booth to talk about migrating their existing unified communications (UC) or legacy PBX solutions to Microsoft Teams. Since the days of Live Communications Server 2003, and all of Microsoft’s successive iterations, I have never seen such enthusiasm and interest among IT managers for moving their entire company’s corporate communications and collaboration infrastructure over to a whole new system. It’s usually quite the opposite. I think this speaks volumes about how Microsoft has evolved their Teams UC offering into a compelling workstream collaboration solution that is really resonating with enterprise customers.
One of the critical business units that must be accommodated when migrating to any new UC system is the organization’s main conduit to their customers and the outside world - the contact centre. Whether formal or informal, every company has a contact centre. This might take the form of a proper contact centre with multiple agents handling inbound or outbound interactions; a helpdesk; an informal sales team; or even a fully automated self-service IVR. The contact centre is often mission critical to the organization, has established key performance metrics to meet and does not tolerate service interruptions. To aid agent efficiency and ensure superior customer service, contact centres also typically have a high degree of integration to back office systems and business workflows.
While Microsoft has been adept at developing feature-rich UC solutions neatly integrated with the whole Office ecosystem and surrounding business applications like Dynamics 365, they have never offered a formal integrated contact center like most of their other UC competitors or the traditional PBX vendors. This is where Anywhere365 has come into the picture with our omnichannel Cloud Contact Centre solutions for Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business and Office 365 Phone System. Built natively on Microsoft platforms and applications and integrated with over 30 CRM systems, Anywhere365 has established itself as one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive providers of contact centre solutions for enterprises choosing Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business.
One of the companies I spoke with at UC Expo was a large UK public health provider who was evaluating replacing their legacy PBX with Microsoft Teams. While the company loved Anywhere365 as an alternative to their existing contact centre solution, their main concern revolved around migrating their contact centre operations and their large number of existing PSTN trunks with minimal service disruption. This was obviously an objection we were going to have to overcome to seal the deal!
When moving to Teams, businesses have a couple of options to connect to public networks:
- Move their trunks from their existing provider to Microsoft Phone System and Calling Plans
- Keep their existing trunks and connect to Teams using a technology called Direct Routing
Direct Routing is a set of tools that mediates between on-premises PSTNs or SIP trunks and Microsoft Phone System. This customer wanted to keep their existing numbers and service provider, so Direct Routing was the obvious choice. Luckily for me, AudioCodes, my tradeshow neighbours one booth over, just happens to offer several Microsoft-certified Mediant Session Border Controllers (SBC) that support Direct Routing. With their One Voice for Microsoft 365, AudioCodes offers a whole application and service surround to support Microsoft Teams implementations.
Among the mutual benefits the AudioCodes solution would provide:
- AudioCodes User Management Pack™ 365 would facilitate a phased migration of their users from the PBX to Microsoft Phone System with minimal disruption for both contact centre agents and general business users alike.
- AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center (OVOC) voice network management solution working in conjunction with Anywhere365 business intelligence would provide the contact centre with a holistic view of their entire callers’ experience.
- Anywhere365 Cloud Contact Centre can be deployed along with the new AudioCodes Mediant Virtual Edition SBC in the Azure Cloud making a for a cost-effective and easy to manage package.
So, with the migration objection handled, my prospect was confident moving on with learning more about how our Anywhere365 Cloud Contact Centre can take their client experience to the next level.
And I am definitely asking the show organizers to put us close to the AudioCodes booth again next year!
About the Author
Guest post by Todd Simons of Workstreampeople BV
Todd Simons has responsibility for Global Marketing for Workstreampeople BV, creators of Anywhere365 Contact Centre and Dialogue Management for Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business.
You can reach him through Email