Many Microsoft 365 customers turned to Microsoft Teams to support collaboration for employees as they worked from home during quarantines and stay-at-home orders.
The number of organizations with employees working from home illustrates a greater need for a single, integrated cloud communications platform that works with the organization's phone system, Constellation Research analyst Dion Hinchcliffe wrote in a blog.
A Microsoft Teams telephony integration with a corporate phone system enables organizations to provide, manage and support one set of communications services for employees, he wrote. But, to achieve this cohesion, organizations need to make the integration as seamless as possible.
Addressing a seamless integration of telephony and Microsoft Teams requires four steps, Hinchcliffe wrote. First, provide public switched telephone network (PSTN) access to Teams users without affecting existing UX. Next, organizations must provide full PSTN access to Teams users across geographies, with toll-free and direct inward dialing numbers.
Third, organizations must provide straightforward integrations for systems with high telephony usage, such as contact centers and CRM. Finally, retraining of administrators and end users should be limited, if required at all.
Read more for Hinchcliffe's example of a Microsoft Teams telephony integration with a UCaaS vendor.
UC evolves for multimodal communications
The enterprise communications market has changed dramatically over the last 20 years, from the early days of on-premises PBXs to the introduction of collaboration and conferencing software. The latest evolution in the market is cloud-based communications platforms that include telephony, conferencing, messaging, contact centers and APIs, Frost & Sullivan analyst Michael Brandenburg wrote in a blog.
Cloud-based communications platforms are different from end-to-end unified communications services, and organizations should understand the differences, he wrote. A communications platform offers multimodal communications that enable organizations to use any mode, including telephony, messaging and video, internally and externally.
These platforms provide employees with the flexibility to use devices and hardware endpoints or soft clients and mobile apps to conduct business, while offering a holistic view of all communications going in and out of the organization.
This differs from standalone applications or bundled UC suites, where applications are delivered from individual clouds and data is siloed.
"A communications platform offers a single source of data, including call detail records, call recordings and chat logs, to provide a complete and comprehensive state of communications," he wrote.
Learn why Brandenburg said APIs are another key differentiator for communications platforms.
Vonage's growth in the telehealth vertical
Telehealth services have become essential to doctor-patient communication as the COVID-19 pandemic closed medical offices to routine appointments. Vonage's strategy for cloud-based communications and contact center services puts the vendor in a strong position to address the growing telehealth vertical, Opus Research analyst Dan Miller wrote in a blog.
Vonage has made several acquisitions over the last few years to build its portfolio, including API provider Nexmo in 2016, video API provider TokBox in 2016 and cloud contact center specialist NewVoiceMedia in 2018. The TokBox acquisition, in particular, strengthens Vonage's telehealth support, he wrote.
Vonage gained telehealth customers through the TokBox acquisition, including InTouch Health. But Vonage is now seeing growth from the demand for video to support patient appointments during the pandemic.
"Employing Vonage's full-stack, cloud-based platform is a natural solution to the demands of a vertical industry that needs to redefine every aspect of patient and caregiver 'workflows,'" Miller wrote.
Read more about Vonage's global opportunities for growth in the telehealth vertical.