At Microsoft Ignite, Andrew Bybee from Microsoft presented the latest developments for contact center integrations for Microsoft Teams. Partner solutions can connect, extend or power Microsoft Teams – bringing added value to customer interaction. He demonstrated what is already possible today and gave a glimpse of its future potential.
Over 28,000 developers and IT professionals met at the Ignite conference last week to check out the newest and brightest stuff Microsoft has to show. They talked to exhibitors and participated in the over 1000 sessions. Besides numerous news for Microsoft Teams in the context of meetings or adoption, there have been great announcements regarding calling capabilities. To give you a quick overview, we have summarized the important highlights of the session ‘Contact centers and Microsoft Teams’ by Andrew Bybee, Principal GPM at Microsoft.
How does Microsoft Teams fit into a modern customer service organization? By integrating the Contact Center solution into Teams, Andrew Bybee believes that conversations, experiences, workflows, insights and networks can all blend in together (video at 17min 25 sec in the presentation; link below).
Partner solutions bring three values: Connect, Extend, Power. The added value can be achieved on four different layers: Microsoft Azure Cloud, the M365 platform, the phone system and the Microsoft Teams App. These are four levels of value and opportunity to accelerate the solutions.
By using a phone system voice app you can connect Microsoft Teams with your phone carrier PSTN (public switched telephone network) (video at 19.15). These Azure-based voice applications and calling experiences are integrated into the Teams infrastructure. This facilitates the very simple case, of sending through a customer call from the outside contact center to Teams – “hoping that someone will pick up,” so Andrew states.
By extending Microsoft Teams, you optimize the client experience and voice apps for customer cases (video at 26.10). This improves integration of customer interaction flows between Teams and the contact center solution. Therewith, Teams can be used to extend the customer connection to every user and bring a contextual experience to the employees.
Luware Stratus Team is a partner solution that extends Microsoft Teams with added value and user experience, e.g. with personal dashboards to see what’s going on across the service or in a team (video at 31.40) or with service and workflow configuration (video at 31.50).
Andrew states: “We are seeing benefits […] for example with the company Synamedia who was able to transition from siloed different IT experiences into a unified IT experience using Teams and using one of the solutions from our partner Luware…” (video at 32.19). The Synamedia success story shows how the entertainment expert used Stratus Team to transform from an ‘island’ contact center to a harmonized customer service. They now have the ability to serve customers from anywhere and meet resourcing requirements and workload distribution in real-time.
Andrew believes that Azure and M365 offer great deal of potential and opportunities. With native Azure-based voice applications companies will be able to leverage the Teams calling infrastructure and client platform to deliver modern and intelligent solutions for customer interaction (video at 34.03). This creates many use cases customers can take advantage of, artificial intelligence and machine learning, Azure analytics and synapse capabilities are some examples Andrew mentions (video at 35.18). Besides Luware’s readily available Teams-based solution Stratus Team, we are also working on an Azure-based solution called Nimbus which is also fully integrated into Teams and will leverage all these opportunities.
So, when are these solutions going to be available? Towards the end of his presentation, Andrew showed the partners Microsoft is currently working with and that have already been investing here (40.23). He expects that the beginning of 2020 will be a good opportunity to try Teams calling to bring internal and external communication together. We from Luware are working hard on enhancing our readily available solution Stratus Team and bringing more ‘extended’-value with Stratus Agent, which will be launched soon. Furthermore, we are developing our Azure-based solution Nimbus which will also be available shortly.
Andrew Bybee leads product management, strategy development, and ISV partner engagement for Microsoft Teams enterprise calling and meeting ecosystem. With over 26 years of industry experience developing vertical solutions and platform technologies for business customers across a range of industries, Andrew has been engaged in real-time communications and collaboration technologies at Microsoft across multiple roles since 1999 and led large scale cloud transformation projects across multiple commercial product lines, including Microsoft Office and Dynamics CRM.
Watch Andrew Bybee’s full presentation including all slides.