Microsoft recently released Business Voice as an add-on to small/medium business (SMB) Office 365 Plans (Office 365 Business Essentials and Office 365 Business Premium). What is Business Voice? Up until now, only the Office 365 Enterprise Plans (E1, E3, E5) had the ability to leverage the Microsoft Phone System functionality within Teams.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rush in enterprises seeking to deploy work from home solutions for their employees. They’re among the fortunate businesses that can continue to operate during the lockdown. At AudioCodes we’ve seen massive uptake in work from home solutions in recent weeks with our enterprise customers asking us to help their home-workers stay connected with secure, high quality voice, assist with Microsoft Teams and Zoom deployments, and help Genesys contact centre agents quickly switch to home-working. Technology is fuelling the home-working revolution, that much is clear. Don’t just take my word for it. Respected analyst firm Cavell Group surveyed service providers in March 2020.
Over the past few months, Zoom has become a household name as the world embraced the convenience of the company’s free solution to work from home and stay connected. Although the bulk of the company’s growth has been focused on the massive increase in consumer adoption, enterprises have begun to pay closer attention to Zoom Phone, the company’s unified communications offering. While video-enabled collaboration platforms will continue to play a critical role in the new world of work, school, and even family – the enterprise use case is particularly interesting. In my personal life, I’ve seen how easy it is for my daughters to use Zoom for their school work. My father (who is far from tech savvy!) uses Zoom to video call me and talk to his grandchildren. I’m not sure this was the company’s original intent when they launched Zoom Video. Regardless, the tool has transformed public perception of video-enabled collaboration as a widely accepted means of communication. The basic version is easy and intuitive to set up, and is free of charge as long as you’re calling within the platform, which appeals to consumers as a way to keep in touch with friends and family.
In my early years as a naïve young marketer, a wise and considerably more experienced sales manager told me “Andy, this marketing stuff sounds like scifi techno babble. Does anyone in the ivory tower ever actually listen to what our customers really need?” Or at least something to that effect. She may have been slightly less polite! But it taught me a lesson. Marketing isn’t about the feeds and speeds, product features or all things shiny and new. It’s about listening to customers, understanding their needs and solving their problems. Tech marketing is no exception. Which is why I was excited to recently get an invite to participate in a “technical workshop” with a huge AudioCodes end customer. And I do mean huge. This company operates in over 75 countries and employs a workforce of over 75,000 people in its factories, R&D departments and offices. You will undoubtedly be familiar with the company’s portfolio of brands, but I’m not revealing that here!. The workshop topic was all about the organization’s global migration initiative to Microsoft Teams for enterprise voice and collaboration, a journey which AudioCodes technology underpins.
In PART I of this article we addressed the motivation question: Why would an organization switch to IP Telephony when
As the world of work settles into the “new normal”, contact centers have been doubling down on technologies that enable agents to work from home. What was once an alternative business practice has become a critical capability that enables business continuity. In most cases the transition has been immediate and mandated by governments. No time for RFPs, multiple PoCs, or months of research, planning and gradual rollouts. Most Contact Centers have been slow to phase out existing on-premise solutions, and as a result lack the critical resources required to support alternative remote agents. In the rush to upgrade legacy systems, some IT teams have turned to nailed up connections to agents’ landlines, cellphones and Unified Communication clients. Others may consider migrating to a new ACD platform that has an easy-to-deploy WebRTC agent capability. Either path is costly, cumbersome, and disruptive to existing workflows and practices.