The opportunity for partners around Microsoft Teams Phone is undeniable, especially with the market demand for unified communications solutions for the hybrid workplace.
UC Today sat down with Yaniv Kitlaru, a Product Marketing Manager and expert in the field of cloud-based telecom at AudioCodes, to look at how partners can leverage the growth of Microsoft Teams while expanding their business offerings for new and existing customers.
UC Today: Microsoft Teams has reported over 270 million monthly active users as of January 2022. What does this growth mean for partners?
Kitlaru: Since its launch, Microsoft Teams has been an advanced unified communication and collaboration platform, and in recent years we’ve seen a massive increase in its usage. Many organizations were frantically trying to stay connected. At the same time, their workers moved to hybrid work, and Microsoft Teams enabled organizations to make that transition quickly and easily by providing both voice and video communications.
Teams provided the flexibility to work from anywhere and across multiple platforms, like meeting rooms, PCs and mobile devices. The monthly active user adoption figures speak for themselves. The number of business users is a strong endorsement of the capabilities of Microsoft Teams as a UC and collaboration platform. Gartner recently predicted that by 2023, 40 percent of all global telephony investments would be on cloud-based unified communications. Upon reflection, the window of opportunity for new and existing Microsoft partners is huge!
Now is the time for partners to seize the moment and get ahead of the curve by onboarding customers to Microsoft Teams Phone System.
UC Today: How can AudioCodes assist a Microsoft partner in delivering voice solutions?
Kitlaru: With nearly three decades of experience, AudioCodes continues to be a leader in voice communications. We solve voice technology challenges by creating practical, easy-to-use solutions for our partners. Recently, AudioCodes created a solution that will make our partners’ journey to Microsoft Teams Phone System as rapid and straightforward as possible. Live Express is a fully automated SaaS solution that reduces TCO by avoiding out-of-pocket investments in infrastructure and technical expertise and is offered on a per-user-per-month subscription plan. Live Express enables PSTN connectivity to Teams via Direct Routing and gives partners a multi-tenant solution for customer onboarding, monitoring and management. We’ve even gone a step further to include features for business customers, such as a self-service portal for them to view and manage their calling policies, eliminating the need to recruit expensive PowerShell experts.
UC Today: Do partners need to be certified by Microsoft to utilize AudioCodes Live Express?
Kitlaru: No! Any partner can take advantage of AudioCodes Live Express and deliver a scalable service that enables the Microsoft Teams Phone System via Direct Routing for their customers. With AudioCodes, partners can feel confident using a secure and robust solution to deliver, manage and operate Microsoft Teams Phone System services for their customers globally.
UC Today: How do partners make money with Live Express?
Kitlaru: Live Express allows partners to extend the relationship with their customers by integrating Microsoft Teams with voice. Voice connectivity, services and devices are critical to their customers’ unified communications and collaboration journey. Live Express provides an easier way for partners to extend their customer relationship to include voice, increasing their wallet share and helping to cultivate lasting and profitable relationships. Crucially, it reduces the partners’ time to market so that they can now take advantage of the Teams Phone System opportunity. It also saves them money as it is delivered as a cloud-based SaaS solution, so the partner does not have to invest in building the infrastructure. This takes the burden off partners and allows them to focus on what’s important: growing their business and creating an effective strategy to onboard new customers to leverage the total unified communications value of Microsoft Teams.
UC Today: Other than Live Express, what AudioCodes products and solutions are available to accompany partners on their voice journey?
Kitlaru: Direct Routing and Microsoft Operator Connect give partners and service providers the power to incorporate PSTN calling capabilities into Microsoft Teams. Live Express enables partners to offer voice and video calling services by linking Teams to the PSTN via Direct Routing.
AudioCodes also offers the chance for service providers to provide their customers with a Teams voice offering with Live Cloud, a platform that accelerates Operator Connect onboarding and operations. AudioCodes Live Cloud allows service providers to build new UCaaS offerings based on Microsoft Teams using a white-label service from AudioCodes. We provide the voice connectivity infrastructure setup, which includes Direct Routing SBCs, customer onboarding, user lifecycle management and tools for monitoring, reporting and analytics to help service providers get their Microsoft Teams voice service up and running quickly. WIth Live Cloud, service providers can also add more value to their services, one example being Teams certified compliance recording.
Distributors operating as a CSP or MSP can also deploy Live Cloud to offer Teams voice connectivity as a service to their reseller community. It’s a powerful way for partners to provide their own Teams voice service plus integrated applications as part of their broader managed service offering.