There is no doubt that the growth rate of monthly active users of Microsoft (MS) Teams is truly meteoric. Satya Nadella, Chairman of Microsoft, announced on the Microsoft FY21 Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call that “Teams usage has never been higher. We have nearly 250 million monthly active users”. He went on to state that “We have nearly 80 million monthly active Teams Phone users, with total calls surpassing 1 billion in a single month this quarter, and we’re just getting started”. Microsoft’s intent is noticeably clear and their position in Gartner’s quadrant top right corner is looking justified.
The big question has to be, is MS Teams fit for purpose to replace traditional telephony including Voice over IP (VoIP) systems? As an independent vendor agnostic consultancy we share our answer to this question drawing on our experiences helping our clients implement MS Teams.
COVID has and continues to disrupt the workplace, fuelling the shift to a hybrid workplace where users demand an initiative desktop / mobile user experience where they can meet, chat, video and collaborate. The rate of growth across the entire Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market is unmistakable evidence of the demand for this style of working.
Teams is different, Microsoft has a much bigger strategic vision than the traditional UCaaS market players. Teams was created with a bigger purpose in the software world. Let me explain while answering the question I posed in this article.
Chief Technology Officers (CTO) typically demand that their live production applications are to be cloud based and ideally bundled into a straightforward cost per user price model – conveniently Teams is part of the Microsoft365 packages. Another key Microsoft play is the rapid evolution of Azure as a cloud platform, where a CTO can take comfort for many reasons by locating their business critical services in the Azure environment. PowerBI now gives the business visibility on mission critical metrics spanning the entire operation, this window on the business is critical for managers and Directors.
With Microsoft now a mission critical partner essentially spanning the organisation, implementing new services with a Microsoft badge will typically become the path of least resistance to change at both a purchase approval and user adoption level. Perhaps we are back to the IBM days when no one got fired for buying IBM?
An interesting differentiator Teams has compared to other UCaaS vendors is how Microsoft have created the business case for global leading Software as a Service (SaaS) providers like Adobe, Salesforce, SAP, ServiceNow and many more to view Teams as a core component in the future of user’s desktop technology. As a result these SaaS vendors have invested and have / are developing tight integrations with Teams ensuring their SaaS services are compatible with the future of the desktop. Interestingly the UCaaS market leaders including RingCentral and 8×8 all integrate with MS Teams and claim to co-exist and enhance the MS Teams user experience.
Microsoft claim to have 80 million active phone users with 1 billion calls, which is understandable in the global SMB sector where their needs are fairly generic. The doubt has always been can the Teams phone system scale?
Careful decisions by Microsoft and the maturing of the market is now creating the opportunity for the number of users to scale into the Mid-market and Enterprise spaces. The key aspects to consider if you are thinking of deploying Teams or any other UCaaS service are summarised below:
There is no doubt that Teams has matured into a viable replacement for your typical workplace telephone system and does align well to support hybrid working especially if the CTO is committed to Microsoft. The range of endpoints, headsets, contact centre add on makes Teams attractive along with the options for PSTN connectivity.
However be warned there are short comings and serious considerations to take into account when choosing Teams as your telephone system. A detailed needs analysis is advised to define all the use cases across the organisation – once you have this you can then assess if Teams truly addresses all your user’s communication needs. Ignore this key step at your peril! If you need assistance Trig Point Consulting are on hand to support you.
If have any questions about your Microsoft Teams unified communications and contact centre plans or would like help making your technology work for your organisation, please do not hesitate to contact Richard and the team on 0203 855 6325, or email email@example.com.