Microsoft Teams has rapidly become one of the most popular apps in the world.
When first announced in 2016, Microsoft Teams was an uncertain competitor to Slack. Users were concerned the service wouldn’t compete with the functionality they already had from Skype for Business – a solution destined to be shut down.
Fortunately, not only did Microsoft Teams achieve feature parity with Skype at an incredible speed, but it surpassed virtually every other collaboration tool in terms of popularity. As the ultimate addition to an already popular ecosystem of productivity apps (Microsoft 365) Teams became a natural choice for collaboration for many teams.
As the service evolved, implementing Microsoft Business Phone features, direct routing, and operator connect, it even became a leader on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS.
Let’s take a closer look at how Microsoft Teams has transformed the UCaaS space.
While Microsoft Teams was gradually collecting more attention from potential fans over the years leading up to 2020, the solution saw an explosion of popularity with the arrival of the pandemic. When Covid-19 hit, companies of all sizes accelerated their digitisation efforts, and Teams quickly became a clear choice for building the digital workspace.
Not only did Microsoft Teams offer all the functionality staff needed to stay connected, like video conferencing, file sharing, and messaging, but it also offered rapid innovation to evolving teams. Microsoft began rolling out new tools faster than ever during the pandemic, from virtual backgrounds, to “Together Mode” video meetings, and even “Viva” for tracking employee engagement.
On top of all that, Microsoft also had the added benefit of already being a central part of the workplace technology ecosystem. Countless customers were already using Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in their day-to-day interactions.
Within no time, Microsoft Teams achieved a phenomenal 145 million daily active users, surpassing other market leaders like Cisco Webex, Zoom, Slack, and Google Hangouts. Companies large and small all found advantages in Teams. Just some of the names taking advantage of the technology include Accenture, Ernst & Young, and Pfizer.
According to Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, Teams is now on its way to becoming a digital platform as significant as a computer operating system, or internet browser.
Microsoft Teams’ impact on the world of UCaaS and collaboration has been so significant, most companies couldn’t hope to compete with the service. Fortunately, Microsoft has offered an alternative route – vendors can work with Teams instead.
The AppSource app market, Direct Routing, and Operator Connect means UCaaS providers can build an environment for their customers which leverages the potential benefits of Microsoft Teams. It’s even possible to build contact centres on top of the Microsoft Teams platform, which means there are new opportunities for CCaaS vendors too.
Embracing a “for Teams” and “with Teams” strategy gives UCaaS providers a wider selection of go-to-market options when it comes to providing businesses with innovative telephony, communication, and collaboration environments. Increasingly, we’re seeing more brands, large and small find a wider range of potential customers through the Teams landscape.
As Microsoft Teams continues to evolve with a more advanced feature set and wider selection of capabilities, companies that “Teams enable” their services are staying ahead of the competition. When UCaaS providers work with Teams, end customers can take advantage of a simpler, more convenient experience, with minimal rip-and-replace requirements.
The “with Teams” approach to UCaaS is also paving the way to a more customizable future for communications. Companies are becoming increasingly willing to work hand-in-hand with other brands to deliver the kind of personalised and bespoke environments brands need.
If companies are flexible enough to work with Microsoft Teams on UCaaS, then they’re also more likely to have the tools required to support companies with creating Teams CCaaS environments or implementing unique integrations. Since agility and flexibility are two of the most significant benefits driving companies into the cloud, Teams integration is a winning differentiator for UCaaS brands.
Clearly, Microsoft Teams has become one of the most popular tools for UCaaS in today’s ever-evolving communication landscape. With 145 million daily active users, and an ever-growing range of features, it’s difficult to argue with the value of Teams. However, what really makes the Teams environment so successful in today’s world, is it’s flexibility.
It’s difficult to say for certain whether Microsoft Teams would have experienced the same explosive growth as a UCaaS provider that it has today without things like direct routing and operator connect. Companies are increasingly looking for ways to mix-and-match their technology and essential business services. The flexible ecosystem that Microsoft Teams provides is perfect for that.
With Microsoft Teams integrations, vendors can give their customers a valuable opportunity to access all the advanced features Teams can provide as a collaboration leader. At the same time, they give their end users the peace of mind that comes with knowing they can continue to use the business telephony packages they’ve relied on up until now.
For many vendors, Microsoft Teams won’t necessarily be a UCaaS vendor “to beat” in the years ahead. Rather, the question will become how you can integrate with and enhance Teams to address the unique needs of your audience.