Since the pandemic hit last year, we’ve seen companies make massive technology changes to enable employees to work remotely. Microsoft reported that Teams experienced a 50% rise in usage over six months and now has 115 million daily active users. With so many businesses adopting Microsoft 365 (Formerly Office 365), it’s not surprising to see such high numbers for Teams, which is now included in every business subscription (e.g., Microsoft 365 Business Basic).
Although most of your customers have access to Teams, it’s probably not the only collaboration tool they’re using. Many remote workers use three or more collaboration tools a day, such as Zoom, Google Meet, Webex and Go To Meeting, just to name a few. Not only is switching among all these services disruptive to users’ workflows, but it also keeps workers from using any one of the above collaboration tools to its full potential. Even if your customers are using these tools’ free versions, the cost savings from working more efficiently is worth it.
Fortunately, there is a way you can help clients improve productivity and security while cutting IT costs. Not only that, but there are two things in it for you as well: a closer relationship with your customer and monthly recurring revenue.
How Adding Voice Solves Your Customers’ Collaboration Challenges
The solution I’m proposing to solve your customers’ disparate collaboration tool challenge is to add voice services to Microsoft Teams. Why Teams? As mentioned earlier, most of your customers already have Teams as part of their Microsoft 365 offering, and it’s integrated with other software products they’re using daily such as Word, Outlook, Excel, and SharePoint. Plus, it’s already widely used, which means customers are familiar with the interface and user experience.
One bonus reason to focus on Teams is that Microsoft is retiring Skype for Business Online on July 31, 2021, so several companies need to migrate to a new voice platform. Why not keep them with a vendor they’re already familiar with and give them a true UCaaS (unified communications as a service) experience at the same time?
Even if your customer isn’t currently using Skype for Businesses, there’s an excellent chance they’re using a legacy telecom system. Estimates suggest nearly 750 million traditional telecom endpoints exist in the market today, and now that so many businesses are extending their WFH plans, more and more of these conventional phones are just sitting idly at the office. Without an IP phone system that can be used anywhere, workers have to use their personal phone numbers and phones.
In the past, enterprises of any size and scale were reluctant to move their voice platforms to the cloud and realize the full benefits of UCaaS due to the complexity of manually migrating voice users from an array of disparate voice platforms. They lacked the tools and the process to make the transformation pain free, but that’s all about to change.
The VoIP Experience Isn’t What it Used to Be (Thankfully)
As innovation in the cloud has progressed rapidly, new tools and APIs are now available that have a massive impact on how enterprises can transform and migrate their current platforms. Automation is playing a critical role in how we visualize this transformation.
There are three primary paths channel partners can take to provide voice services to their customers. I discussed these options in-depth in a previous article, but here’s a quick recap of the top two choices:
- Buy voice and video calling services from Microsoft. It costs $20 per user per month for SMBs and $57 per user per month for enterprises, which means there’s no margin left for channel partners. Plus, the SMB plan is metered, only includes the US and Canada and is only available in 13 countries. If you have an SMB client who needs to make international calls or uses more than 3,000 minutes per month, they should expect to pay $40+ per user per month.
2. Use a Direct Routing as a Service (DRaaS) provider. Companies like SIPPIO, for instance, provide cloud-based voice services for Microsoft Teams via Microsoft Azure’s globally redundant data centers. Unlike the first option, this one is $12 per user per month for unlimited domestic calling, and it’s only offered via the channel. This voice service offering also allows organizations to enable traditional inbound and outbound PSTN voice calling functionality directly within Microsoft Teams, including support for conventional PBX-based phone systems and analog equipment, such as fax machines. The company also says it can launch voice services for a new client in less than 10 minutes from start to finish, and it’s available in more than 60 countries.
Get ahead of the UCaaS Curve
As more organizations transition to decentralized work policies, the demand for managed UCaaS will only increase. Seamless, engaging communication experiences — anywhere — will become the cornerstone of the future of work.
When you add voice services to your customer’s collaboration tool, it makes it easier for your customers to experience the benefits of UCaaS now, such as:
- A single repository for all their collaboration needs
- Cloud-based and agile innovation that adds new features regularly
- Reduced costs and complexity
- A highly secure and available global footprint to facilitate growth
Not only is this an opportunity to solve some of your customers’ biggest business needs and challenges, but it’s also an excellent way to build monthly recurring revenue for your business.