Jola Cloud Solutions' Blog

Microsoft Teams

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 22-Apr-2020 12:04:32

According to GeekWire, Microsoft Teams now has around 44 million daily users, up from 32 million before the COVID outbreak. It has been useful for many remote workers, who use it for online meetings, webinars, project collaboration and instant messaging.

There are a few new features coming soon such as a 9-person display, real-time noise suppression and ‘raise a hand’ options, for users not feeling comfortable jumping in at the end of the last speaker.

Direct Routing

For people working from home using Teams, this can also become their phone system. Instead of using Calling Plan to make calls outside of Teams, Microsoft will allow customers to connect Teams Phone System to an alternative network provider, using Direct Routing. It is quite complicated to set up, so is worth looking for automated provisioning, unless you have Microsoft qualified staff internally to help.

Jola Direct Routing for Teams is built on a Microsoft approved platform, offers numbers in 167 countries and every area code in the UK. Jola’s unlimited wholesale UK call package is a lot cheaper than Microsoft’s Calling Plan and comes with competitive international call bundles and unlimited in-country local call packages.

Jola partners enjoy healthy recurring margins on call bundles and out-of-bundle call charges, whilst still offering compelling prices to their customers. Ordering and management are all self-serve, through our well-established SIP Manager portal.

SIP Manager

Our SIP Manager portal allows resellers to place orders directly for Teams entities, configure Direct Routing and order UK and international SIP Trunks. Partners can set up call forwarding rules and manage customer address details, usage caps and fraud prevention rules. They can view real-time SIP logs, call logs and call answer statistics such as answer ratio, busy ratio and failure ratio.

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Topics: Microsoft Teams

What can hosted telephony resellers do about Teams Phone System?

Posted by Andrew Dickinson on 30-Sep-2019 10:51:41

There are plenty of doom-mongers around Microsoft’s recent incursion into the cloud PBX market but little practical advice. If you find yourself competing with Teams Phone System, here are three things to consider;

1.   Be prepared. Microsoft list only 22 inclusive features of Phone System on their web site and they don’t appear to offer optional extras. If you currently charge for some of their standard features, you may initially feel a little disheartened. However, many features you offer, and your customers need, may not be there. Put together a competitive matrix for your salespeople and their customers. Include the range of devices you offer vs Microsoft approved devices. Make sure your salespeople understand Office 365 pricing. Phone System is available with only the more expensive licenses and at time of writing is not an upgrade on Microsoft’s most popular 365 licence, Business Premium. Build a price comparison table into your Features Matrix. As Microsoft expand their features update your sales team.

2.   Focus on SMEs. Due to the level of licence and technical skill required to configure Teams Phone System, it feels as if it would appeal more to bigger companies. It has always been hard to sell a hosted cloud product to really large organisations. Yes, they benefit from not having to have a PBX in every office, but at a certain size it’s often cheaper for them to buy their own cloud platform. Because it is an upgrade to expensive Office 365 licences, Teams Phone System may be less attractive in the SME market, which is the sweet spot for most hosted providers and where the average sale is still only seven seats.

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Topics: Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Office 365, Teams Phone System and UK Charities

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 25-Sep-2019 10:57:44

There are around 200,000 charities in the UK, employing nearly a million people. This sector has been a conundrum for the IT channel because, whilst there are opportunities for professional service fees, ongoing revenue and margin are depressed by heavily discounted licenses and low commission rates.

For example, Microsoft’s E1 license is free up to 2000 users and E3 is only £4 a month. To add Phone System to either of these is only £2.40 but at £9.10 pcm (and no reseller commission), resellers and their customers have been put off by Microsoft’s Calling Plan (needed to make and receive calls outside the Teams environment).

Now resellers of Jola’s Direct Routing call plan for Teams can offer their non-profit customers the full suite of Office products, including Exchange, Teams, Phone System, and Unlimited UK calls at a competitive price.

Not only will the customer save on the rental of a traditional/hosted phone system, they will also no longer need telephone lines or ISDN.

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Topics: Microsoft Teams

Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams

Posted by Andrew Dickinson on 07-Aug-2019 09:19:49

What’s the opportunity?

Launched last year, Teams has become one of Microsoft’s fastest selling products. An upgrade to the Office 365 Enterprise license, it offers collaboration, screen sharing, voice, video, IM and a whole bunch of other cool features. If you upgrade to E5 you also get Phone System, Advanced Security and Analytics, for £30.80 per user per month. If you have E1 or E3 and only want Phone System, you can just pay an additional £6 per month. Microsoft do not currently offer Phone System as an upgrade on their most popular Business Premium licence, but this is a logical next step.

What’s the issue?

If you want to connect Microsoft Phone System to the PSTN (you will, if Teams is to replace your PBX or hosted telephony system), the Microsoft Calling Plan product is a little clunky. It’s also quite expensive, compared to SIP bundles available in the market.

What’s the solution?

Instead of using their Calling Plan, Microsoft will allow customers to connect Teams Phone System to an alternative network provider using Direct Routing. However, setting this up is complicated and expensive and there are only a handful of companies in the UK offering Direct Routing as a service.

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Topics: Microsoft Teams, Direct Routing

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