As part of their relentless drive to continue increasing the adoption of Teams Phone within organizations, Microsoft have announced its latest program, Operator Connect Accelerator (OCA). But what does this latest variant mean for customers?
Let us start by first reminding ourselves, what is Operator Connect?
Operator Connect is another way of enabling Microsoft Teams with external calling capabilities. It allows customers to obtain PSTN phone numbers and services from accredited operators (such as Pure IP), directly via their Teams Admin Center. In essence it is a ‘bring your own carrier (BYOC)’ model for Teams, built around a trusted cross-connect between Microsoft and the providers cloud-based voice network using Microsoft Azure Peering Service (MAPS).
The benefits to customers of Operator Connect are:
- A simplified provisioning and management process
- A full cloud experience with no configuration or on-premises hardware
- More choice of providers and in some cases, a more cost-effective solution
So what is Operator Connect Accelerator (OCA)?
OCA is a program aimed more at other telco or service providers than it is end customers. The demand to be on the Operator Connect program is high, but the commitment required is substantial. Many operators have been unable to date, to meet Microsoft’s stringent criteria required for inclusion on the Operator Connect program. The OCA program is designed to provide those operators who want to be able to sell Operator Connect services, with a pathway to getting in the program, facilitated by one of the accredited OCA partners.
What will this mean for the end customer?
As of today, it will have little effect on end customer organizations but Microsoft hope that it will ultimately it will mean more choice of providers.
Of course, choice can be a double-edged sword. More choice can come with more complexity in terms of knowing the best course of action and which provider to choose. The decisions will come down to the differentiators in service, reputation, ability to deliver and costs. It remains to be seen what affect the extra ‘player’ in the model will have on the end outcome for the customer, in terms of the pricing and where first- and second-line support is carried out.
From a Pure IP perspective, what continues to make a difference to customers is not just that we offer Operator Connect in 43 countries, but also the services we offer above and beyond Operator Connect. To name a few, these include:
- Extended global coverage through managed physical and virtual SBCs
- The ability to connect hybrid and legacy environments (eg. fax, analogue devices, legacy PBXs, etc.)
- Integrations with other communication applications
- Direct Routing where needed
- Plus our award-winning fully managed service and global technical-led support
Watch our expert panel break down Operator Connect Accelerator and explain where it fits in to the other Operator Connect programs (below).