April 6, 2018

Innovations and opportunities with Microsoft Teams

By Michael Panciroli

Last month at Enterprise Connect, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of Microsoft Teams and shared that over 200K organizations are using Microsoft Teams adding 75,000 new organizations in 6 months. Late last year, we announced that we were bringing the Skype for Business capabilities into Teams—since that announcement, we’ve seen nearly 70% of our Skype for Business enterprise customers in Office 365 begin using Teams.

We also announced new capabilities for Teams, including bringing new Skype for Business voice capabilities into Teams. Additional new capabilities deliver on our vision for Intelligent Communications, such as inline message translation and the ability to blur your background in meetings. On top of that, we announced cloud recording and that we’re bringing Teams to a full ecosystem of devices, which will include devices from Microsoft as well as our hardware partners, and announced new meeting room and phone devices that will support Microsoft Teams.

We also announced new enterprise-grade calling features in Teams, including consultative transfer, call delegation and federation. Today, Teams delivers chat-based collaboration, meetings, and calling. Now with Direct Routing, Teams will soon have full enterprise voice features. Direct Routing is a feature of Office 365 and Phone System that helps customers connect their SIP trunks directly from their network to Microsoft Teams. It will enable customers to use their existing telephony infrastructure with Teams for calling, targeting the end of Q2 2018 for general availability.

If you missed it, you can hear Bob Davis, Corporate Vice President of Office 365, unveil new announcements advancing our vision for Intelligent Communications at the Enterprise Connect 2018 conference keynote.



Partners: Be ready for Microsoft Teams

With the current momentum and roadmap feature gaps closing rapidly, now is the time for Partners to get ready for Teams! For those who have been part of this communication journey with Microsoft for a while, you already know that there is a rich partner opportunity. You can help your Office 365 customers start using Teams today, either independently or side-by-side with Skype for Business, depending on their requirements. You can support their migration of Skype for Business users when Teams capabilities are ready for them.

Partners can help their customers pilot Teams with voice. This scenario is useful when a company is not ready to fully migrate to Teams as a PBX solution, and wants to start from a small pilot. By integrating with existing PBX, pilot users can be moved to Teams with Phone System while remaining users stays on the third-party PBX. You can help your customers with network assessments, licensing evaluation, planning, migration from their existing PBX to Office 365 Phone System, and adoption services—just to name a few. There are packaging and resell opportunities with SIP trunking, SBCs for Direct Routing, as well as audio and video equipment and services. You can offer ongoing services to monitor their call quality and manage their hybrid environments.

There are other opportunities to extend Teams which has an open developer platform with a rich set of capabilities to build apps or integrate with new or existing business processes and services. You can create connectors, build apps, messaging extensions or even build domain specific bots that integrate with Microsoft Teams. To learn more about the Teams developer platform, visit the Office Dev Center.

Check out the Teamwork partner guidance page, which describes the value of the partner opportunity and includes an approach for building a roadmap for your customers on their digital transformation journey. For more resources, see Microsoft 365 Teamwork Extended Partner Opportunities, where you’ll find managed services opportunity suggestions and recommendations for providing professional services with packaged offerings. Some of these things may be new, but I’m betting that many are similar to services that you already know how to deliver. You’ll also find the Teams Quick Start kit and the Teamwork Assessment Kit resources to help you get started on a first engagement.

Join our community call

Please register for our US OCP community call, Partners: Be Ready for Microsoft Teams on Friday, April 13 at 10 a.m. PDT. I will be joined by Microsoft intelligent communications experts, who will recap the latest announcements from Enterprise Connect, as well as provide practical guidance for partners as you work with your customers in scenarios such as greenfield, compete, and advanced scenarios with voice. We’ll also go through an extensive exploration of Teams and associated opportunities, and answer any questions that you have on the call. We can’t wait for you to join us!

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