Micah Singer says service providers need to “go native” with Microsoft to build the best Teams user experience
As Microsoft Teams’ dominance in the team collaboration market continues to grow past the 150 million daily active users mark, there is a common question for cloud PBX, PBX distributors, UCaaS operators, and other managed service providers (MSPs). How to integrate with Teams while simultaneously maintaining a strong relationship with the customer? If history is an indicator, building a better experience for the end users – in this case PBX or SIP services in Microsoft Teams – can make a big impact.
Service providers integrating into Teams may have mixed feelings about supporting customers on a platform wrapped in Microsoft’s branding, using Microsoft buttons and tools, and living in a Microsoft business software world. However, Microsoft has also built integration tools that allow service providers to craft a friendly, unique and branded end-user experience.
Micah Singer, Managing Director at TeamMate Technology said, “Fortunately, Microsoft has provided many of these tools including PowerShell, various flavours of Direct Routing, the Graph API, and a Teams Application SDK, to integrate in much more meaningful ways. Many operators like RingCentral, Fuze, Intermedia, Jive have already built Teams apps that extend their brand and tools into Microsoft Teams. If the service provider makes the Teams app particularly useful it gets ‘pinned’ to the top menu in the top super-app, Microsoft Teams. This is valuable real estate.”
“If you look at the world through the lens of the service providers, there is incentive to offer multiple options for Teams integration, from a light and inexpensive cross-launch to a tighter knit native integration. The value of going native is to create a more appealing Teams users experience. This starts with the Teams dial-pad linked to Direct Routing – a crucial native piece – and continues with a smart and useful Teams app that leverages the available APIs”
One of the key markers for a successful platform in the IT era has become the app store and Teams is no exception. If Microsoft’s stock price or daily active users is not a good enough marker of Team’s success, the thousands of standard and customised applications used within the collaboration platform demonstrate the breadth and diversity of businesses using the solution today.
These Teams apps allow the integration of hundreds of commonly used SaaS software into Teams workflows. Workflows are a key value in the Modern Workplace Microsoft is promoting around the Teams eco-system. UCaaS providers, MSPs and others are building these integrations. Singer points out, “Without a Teams app every service provider selling with Microsoft looks the same – it’s all Microsoft interface and branding. With a Teams app you can do extensive customisation to what the Teams user sees and experiences. The most popular Teams apps that we build for partners include Teams Notifications, UCaaS branding in Teams, and the presentation of existing web portals for user self-care embedded in Teams.”
TeamMate Technology, Singer’s company, provides the native PBX, SIP Trunk and SMS integration coupled with a Teams app studio to service providers and other partners who work with Microsoft Office 365 customers.