The rise of the hybrid workplace has forced businesses to embrace new technology to keep their people connected and productive, with solutions like Microsoft Teams seeing incredible growth in the past two years.
And it’s fair to say that the popularity of the hybrid working model and the shift to unified communications have also created unprecedented and additional revenue growth opportunities for the Microsoft partner community.
But what challenges do Microsoft partners face when trying to tap into these lucrative new revenue streams and how can they successfully overcome them?
Every Challenge Is Really an Opportunity in Disguise
Here are four of the most common obstacles that Microsoft partners initially encounter when they enter the ultra-competitive Microsoft Teams arena:
- Technical – Solving technical problems will usually mean upskilling existing staff or recruiting highly skilled IT professionals to deliver the Microsoft Teams solution, with the most likely problems revolving around legacy integration or coexistence with legacy systems. This can be prohibitive in terms of cost for some partners.
- Financial and Administrative – If a Microsoft partner decides to offer their own calling plans to their customers through their chosen operator/SIP provider, billing for calls can become complicated. They will either need to invest in their own billing platform or link up with an operator/SIP provider that provides integrated billing as part of their calling services.
- Operational Management – Typical Microsoft partners provide managed services to their customers that include things like proactive monitoring and maintenance. But when it comes to Microsoft Teams, it is unlikely that their current tool will be able to monitor telephony traffic.
- Customer Retention – If a partner isn’t already providing customers with Microsoft Teams voice calling, then somebody else will certainly be happy to step up. Partners need to ensure that they don’t give customers any reason to ditch them for another provider.
It’s All About Voice Connectivity
To get into the game, Microsoft partners will need to know how to add voice connectivity to Microsoft Teams. There are four different ways to do this:
- Use a Microsoft Calling Plan.
- Work with a Microsoft-certified Operator Connect service provider.
- Deploy a session border controller (virtual or physical) and provide a dedicated Direct Routing solution.
- Find a vendor that offers a Software as a Service Direct Routing solution that enables the provision of voice connectivity quickly and easily as a subscription service.
Each of these different methods have their own particular advantages and disadvantages. For example, a partner may have a customer with branches in a couple of exotic locations, deploying a Microsoft Calling Plan to those locations is more economical than a dedicated Direct Routing solution.
However, most Microsoft partners prefer to own their customer relationship, so a situation where they have complete control of their customer’s end-to-end solution, user management and reporting, as well as potential revenue from SIP trunk services, is often the best way to go.
Connecting Microsoft Teams to Voice
Unravelling the Technical Complexity for Partners
A Big Round of Applause for the AudioCodes Live Portfolio
Microsoft Teams has radically opened up the opportunities for traditional telecom resellers with no Microsoft expertise and Microsoft partners with no voice expertise to offer Microsoft unified communications fully integrated with enterprise telephony as part of their own managed service offering.
Partners can therefore become trusted advisors to their enterprise customers, not just for Microsoft Teams itself but also in terms of voice connectivity, devices and applications (like SmartTAP 360° Live and Meeting Insights) that add value to Microsoft Teams.
AudioCodes has many years of experience in delivering voice solutions for Microsoft unified communications and in helping partners all over the world to do the same for their end customers. Thanks to the AudioCodes Live portfolio of subscription services (Live Teams, Live Cloud and Live Express), it is now even easier for Microsoft partners to leverage this opportunity and grow new recurring revenue streams with voice and video collaboration. Why not get on board now?