5 key takeaways for telecommunications service providers to increase revenue and opportunity with Microsoft Operator Connect
17 January 2023
Tom Arbuthnot is co-founder of Empowering.Cloud, a Microsoft Teams Industry Professionals Community., who also offer enablement programs for enterprises and Microsoft partners.
Tom hosted Dubber’s recent webinar about the opportunities to add services and revenue around Microsoft Teams Operator Connect. The panel included Timoor Husain of Microsoft, Mark Bunnell of Nuwave and Adrian di Pietrantonio of Dubber.
This blog summarises some of the key takeaways. To check out the entire webinar please click here.
Microsoft is scaling and simplifying PSTN connectivity for the customer and the service provider
Microsoft Teams Operator Connect has been in the market for over a year, and progress and adoption have been good. There are 43 Operator Connect service providers, and many more are coming. In this model, the operator is directly connected to Microsoft, which makes it very simple for the operator and customer to provision phone numbers.
Microsoft has been bringing telephony to their Unified Communications proposition for over 14 years. Traditionally, this involved customers deploying and managing their own session border controller infrastructure and connecting to the service provider with SIP trunks. This traditional model was quite complex, requiring a lot of infrastructure and professional services.
Operator Connect offers a much simpler model, which goes some way to explaining the quick uptake and adoption by Service. It sits alongside Microsoft's Calling plans and Direct Routing as one of four options for PSTN connectivity for Teams users.
Teams Phone Mobile is the latest connectivity option to hit the market from Microsoft, running on the back of the operator connect platform. It will offer the new ability to be a single mobile/cell number for your mobile and Teams. One of the benefits is that a single Teams-certified recording platform like Dubber can record and capture both the Teams and the mobile calls.
Combined, these four options give customers the choice to pick the combination that is right for them and personalise their experience of MS Teams. This level of choice also increases competition in the service provider market.
Customers want to reduce infrastructure and reduce costs
Customers are rapidly moving to Cloud Telephony platforms like Teams Phone. They are moving away from complex on-premises infrastructure, such as local SBCs, in favour of scalable cloud services.
I observed that with the acceleration of Microsoft Teams Phone, customers are often taking the opportunity to reassess their PSTN service provider choice and are looking to optimise spending and ROI on tech investment.
There is an increasing demand for self-service solutions. Mark Bunnell, COO Nuwave, noted 70% of Nuwave's customers are moving to self-service cloud management.
There is no doubt that while Teams Phone is a rapidly growing market, there is competitive and margin pressure on service providers. Microsoft expects more providers to join Operator Connect in the future. With over 53% of organisations already choosing teams over other communication tools.
There are opportunities to add value and revenue with additional services customers need
While there is pressure on the minutes business, and it is getting somewhat commoditised, some great opportunities exist to differentiate and add value. Microsoft Teams is an ecosystem solution, meaning you need many components from different Microsoft partners to complete the customer solution. These include PSTN connectivity, recording, contact centre, eCDN, reporting and devices.
Service providers are in a great position to build out their offering with telco-related services like recording, business insights, compliance and contact centre. Differentiating services in this way empowers customers to unlock the value ‘in’ the network, improve stickiness and boost revenue.
Timoor Husain, Microsoft, noted the opportunity to offer the even fuller Microsoft 365 stack as an operator as a true managed service.
Mark also pointed out that there is still a lot of complexity in enterprise telephony and that does provide opportunities.
Operator Connect Accelerators like Nuwave can increase speed to market and allow you to add additional services
Nuwave offers service providers a platform you can integrate to quickly get onto Operator Connect and give your customers a full self-service experience. They are one of Microsoft's certified Operator Connect Accelerator partners.
Beyond Operator Connect, Nuwave has already integrated with Dubber and can add additional revenue-generating services for your customers, such as Contact Center and Dubber recording. All from a single platform.
If service providers prefer, they can also integrate Dubber directly into their service provider network.
With Dubber, you can offer recording and data insights for traditional PSTN calls and all Teams' VoIP calls and meetings
Dubbers' platform is specifically for service providers. Adrian di Pietrantonio noted Dubber works with over 175 providers.
Dubber allows operators to offer cloud-based Teams certified recording for customers for compliance and productivity improvements. Beyond compliance, increasingly required by customers in all markets, customers and providers are leveraging recording data and offering new value-added services. With Dubber, recording can be extended beyond just the PSTN calls into the customers' Teams' VoIP calls and meetings, which is essential for complete customer coverage.
To dive into the detail around these points, you can check out the full webinar on-demand here.
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