Last week I wrote about one approach for service providers who want to respond to the threat of Microsoft Teams – to provide an integration of Teams into existing PBX functionality. That article has prompted quite a few conversations, and through these discussions I’ve realized that we should think about our possible responses in a hierarchy.
The Telco-Teams Integration Hierarchy
Starting with the simplest, moving towards the most aggressive:
- SIP trunk: If a business wants to move to Teams, you should at least be able to offer them a competitively priced SIP trunking product, so you keep their calls on your network. You don’t even need to be cheaper than the alternatives, provided you’re easier to work with (no need to port numbers!) and have a good reputation for service.
- Teams integrated with a PBX: As I discussed last week, with this approach you provide the SIP connectivity, but then you integrate that into an existing PBX or hosted PBX, providing a broader set of features than is possible with “just Teams”.
- Managed Service Provider: I’ve long held that one of the primary competitive advantages of local service providers is their ability to provide high-quality, personal customer service. So why not double-down on that idea, and become the managed service provider for your business customers. You end up providing not only voice, but their IT support, including reselling (and setting up) Microsoft Teams for them.
In the coming weeks we’ll dive more into the details of what this means from a product perspective (focused mostly on the PBX Integration tier) and how to make it work technically. But it’s always good to start with strategy – and this hierarchy both gives you some choices and a path for gradually expanding your product set for business customers.