A couple of months ago I wrote about the threat Microsoft Teams poses to telcos – where the big risk is that a business customer will cancel their PBX trunk, or their hosted PBX / UCaaS service, and instead switch all their seats to use Microsoft Teams instead.
Obviously, this would be bad news for service providers, so we’ve been doing some research and thinking to better understand the options.
Specifically, we think you, as voice service providers, should be asking this question.
What should we be doing to help business customers to have a great experience with Teams – and to provide value to those businesses beyond providing the data pipe.
Integrate PBX with Teams
As we’ve thought about this, and discussed with our clients, the answer becomes pretty clear. Service providers need to provide a PBX offering that integrates with Teams, but which is bigger than Teams.
Microsoft Teams is a good business communications client, but it’s pretty lightweight in terms of functionality compared to a “real PBX”. So while a business may be able to use Teams for a standard office worker, the more advanced PBX seats are going to hit some limitations.
So what if you, as the service provider, could say, “Yes, we support Teams as one component of your business voice solution. You can use the Teams client for those seats where it makes sense, and you can use your existing (hosted) PBX functionality for more advanced users – with all calls routed through your existing business trunks to your friendly local carrier.”
Wouldn’t that be the best answer?
Does Teams integration with a PBX actually work?
It seems likely that Microsoft will eventually provide a way to integrate Teams into the Metaswitch CFS – but so far they’ve only taken baby steps in this direction.
Given the rapid growth of Teams, many service providers will need a solution before anything “official” is available (if that ever happens) – which has created a space for some third-party applications.
For example, we’ve been researching a product called TeamMate which basically allows the Teams application to function as a registered SIP client within a larger PBX – either a traditional, premise-based PBX, or part of a hosted PBX deployment.
We are hoping to do some more testing over the coming months, so we can eventually offer a service where we can set this all up for our clients – so you have a ready-to-go solution to this problem. If you think a solution along these lines would be important in your business, please drop me a quick email so we can keep you in the loop.