Microsoft Teams Direct Routing: Opportunity or threat?
Paul Wakefield, is leading the product launch of MS Teams - Direct Routing.
He has been the SIP Product Manager since joining Gamma in 2014, and has over twenty years of experience with the voice and wider telecoms industry.
Microsoft have tried to break into the telecoms space before – why is Teams and Direct Routing any different?
Microsoft have taken a strategic decision through “Direct Routing” and their API programme to support partners to drive their UC proposition and Teams enablement.
They recognise the role of the telco, delivery partnerships and customer choice around voice services and are in effect enabling the Channel to deliver voice on Teams, whilst securing the extended use of Teams as a complete UC platform. Microsoft will continue to be a dominant partner in any relationship but for the first time in at least a decade, this currently feels a little more like a real opportunity.
Fundamentally it’s about the scale of the numbers:
- Microsoft have 77% of the global desktop market
- 200 Million O365 licences globally
- 7 Million UK O365 licences in UK
- Teams has 20 million daily active users with growth forecasts of achieving 50M users by the end of 2020
- 92% of users don’t currently enable voice through “Calling Plans” which provides a significant market opportunity!
Microsoft will take a share of the global UC market – the question is how much?
Gamma can support the Channel to enable voice within Teams by utilising the architecture model Microsoft have developed and is in their interest to support.
What's Gamma's role?
Gamma’s position will be to support the Channel as the #1 VoIP provider in the UK, building on our heritage and reputation for quality and service delivery. We will provide a commercially viable and feature rich Direct Routing solution, making it simple to provision and support via the Gamma Portal. The offer will appeal to existing Telecoms partners, IT businesses and Microsoft specialists looking for telecoms support.
Gamma will augment Phone System enablement with standard telecoms components such as free* minutes but also through our SIP Trunk Call Manager product – natively providing additional PBX and analytics capabilities in the Gamma cloud.
Gamma’s position will be to support the Channel as the #1 VoIP provider in the UK, building on our heritage and reputation for quality and service delivery.
Where do you see the biggest opportunities within the portfolio for partners over the next 12 months?
There is a role for the Channel in both enabling Microsoft services, supporting deployment through professional services; technical expertise, customer service and product differentiation. The value for the user will be to provide an end-to-end working solution that meets their business needs. Microsoft Phone System isn’t a fully-fledged PBX replacement today, although the development programme is heavily resourced and catching up quickly. This allows for opportunities for feature and service enhancements, either filling current feature gaps or augmenting the capability with integrated services such as cloud contact centre, business analytics; PCI services or other “niche” capabilities.
Are the old fears of Microsoft bypassing the Channel down the line gone?
As a Channel Partner, the key questions will always be, “Where do I add value” and “How do I make any money”. It’s in Microsoft’s interests to support the Channel as a critical route to market, particularly with the blurring of the lines between traditional IT and Telecoms and enabling active users as opposed to simply selling licences.
Microsoft have been forecasted (Gartner) to take a third of the UK UC market by 2023, and if they want to achieve those kinds of numbers, Channel support will be crucial.
Gamma can support the Channel to enable voice within Teams by utilising the architecture model Microsoft have developed and is in their interest to support. We will provide a quality product, that is simple to consume (via the Gamma Portal) has robust operational and sales support and margin opportunity, to incorporate into your UC portfolio. For the first time in at least a decade, this currently feels a like a real Channel opportunity.