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Microsoft channel needs to be talking about Business Voice

A perfect storm of market conditions are making it the right time for partners to approach customers about their unified comms and collaboration plans

Microsoft resellers have been alerted to a 'perfect storm' of market conditions that are supporting a move to voice and greater levels of unified comms in the SME customer base.

With a large installed base of Office users, pressure to upgrade because support for version 10 and Windows 7 is ending next year plus the ever-nearing ISDN switch-off there are numerous reasons why the channel should be looking to talk about voice with customers.

Michael Frisby, managing director of Vuzion, used his keynote slot at an event this morning to bang the drum about the prospects for adding Microsoft 365 Business Voice into the package.

He highlighted the existing customer relationships that many resellers had, making it easier to add on more functionality for those users.

"There is a massive installed base of businesses using Office that partners can bring a truly unified comms experience to," he said.

Added to that the winding down of support for Windows 7 and version 10 of Office in 2020 meant that there were conversations that needed to take place about transitioning users to a more modern solution.

Likewise, the ISDN switch-off in 2025 meant that around 7m SMEs in the UK, which were still using the technology, were facing the prospect of having to move to an alternative.

Frisby also stressed that Microsoft had made great strides with its Teams suite and adding voice was now a compelling addition for the channel to pitch.

"Teams is the fastest growing app in Microsoft history and 1 billion people are using Office and 100m using Office365 and 13m using teams, so there is a big opportunity for the channel to drive Teams," he said.

Some data specialists might have a degree of trepidation selling voice but Frisby said that Vuzion was providing education and support and taking the pain out of that process for those that wanted to get involved.

He added that the benefits of adding voice were increased margin and greater opportunities to add services like Huddle rooms for customers, which would all add to the revenue that was coming out of existing relationships.

Others in the channel have also been signaling the opportunity around voice, with Ingram Micro also offering the cloud-based comms tools to partners.

"Microsoft Business Voice is a valuable addition to our suite of end-to-end solutions that address voice, collaboration and meeting rooms. The modern workforce needs providers who understand their challenges and offer solutions to suit their needs," said Colin McGregor, general manager of Modern Workplace, Ingram Micro UK&I.

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