We talk with Saif Ahmed at SCB Global about their expertise in the market
Although the Coronavirus pandemic has massively stimulated the usage of Microsoft Teams, much of the activity has been a knee-jerk response to radically changed working conditions and most integrations with other services and apps have been an emergency-grade rather than enterprise grade. Many service providers therefore have only limited heritage in supporting Microsoft Teams and are only now beginning to bring hastily assembled capabilities to the market in response to customers’ demands for Teams-adjacent capabilities.
“We’ve been promoting and working to enable Microsoft Teams for more than two years before the pandemic, and even last year people were saying that it won’t take off,” said Saif Ahmed, a Director at SCB Global. “We stood behind Teams because we wanted to see how far we could take it as a partner project. For us, it’s all about how we enhance Microsoft Teams and make it as productive as possible for the enterprise who can utilise it as their only system.”
The pandemic has meant that there are now many millions of Microsoft Teams users – resulting in a raft of resellers jumping onto the Teams bandwagon, competing to offer various integrations and additional services. Inevitably, many of these have been developed in haste and Ahmed is keen to emphasise that only few service providers have the accumulated knowledge and pedigree when it comes to augmenting and supporting enterprises in Microsoft Teams.
“Our company came from the voice-over-IP (VoIP) and telecoms industry in the early 2000s, so we’re from a carrier background and have gone through the evolution of voice from traditional telephony to VoIP and finally through to cloud with Microsoft,” he added.
“Most other resellers have a software background, but VoIP heritage is crucial now because of the voice expertise that Microsoft Teams demands”
Service providers with a software heritage lack voice experience of those with a carrier pedigree. SCB Global has worked with Microsoft voice products such as Lync and Skype for Business, both of which preceded Teams, since 2010 and has therefore been delivering voice solutions in the Microsoft stack for much longer than other providers. This positioned SCB Global to have direct-routing for Teams developed and in-place considerably before the pandemic, meaning that their OPTO4Teams solution is well established and ready to enable enterprise-grade services.
“Our voice experience has enabled us to have a wealth of relationships with different carriers around the world, which allows us to deliver solutions to as many as 160 locations with 49 being full stack,” explained Ahmed. “Our global reach is superior and this, coupled with our customer care, dedicated support and ability to provide tailored solutions to the customer differentiates us and helps us to break the operational and procurement silos many enterprises face.”
In addition to lack of voice heritage, software providers are often cautious of selling Microsoft software rather than their own. Many vendors say that Microsoft Teams will work with their software, but this adds complexity and fragmentation to a UC proposition by involving multiple systems and unnecessary integrations. Enterprises simply don’t have the management bandwidth to cope with unnecessary integration work or to try to force-fit solutions to their needs.
SCB Global, with its established OPTO4Teams solutions, has been experiencing a 30-40% growth and feels it has evolved into a market sweet spot. “It’s essential to offer the right tools to enterprises,” he added, concluding:
“COVID-19 should no longer serve as a limitation to productivity, enterprises can now continue as they did before, within this new digital world. SCB Global are helping, alongside Microsoft Teams, to enable enterprises to adapt to their digital transformation objectives”