AudioCodes’ VP Sales – Global Services, Bill Skinner joins Dawn-Marie Elder, COO and General Manager at SIPPIO for an in-depth discussion on the successful partnership between both companies.
Thank you both for joining us today, tell us about yourself.
Bill: I’ve been in the telecommunication industry for 30 years and worked with AudioCodes for the last twelve. I spent most of this time developing, managing and dealing with the service part of the business.
I’ve also worked on Microsoft deployments and linked them to Skype and ultimately to Microsoft Teams, focusing primarily on multinational corporations making the transition from PBXs to a Teams system.
AudioCodes has worked closely with SIPPIO for several years, they are our customers, and we are their partner – together, we make voice more accessible.
SIPPIO provides the easy button to simplify transitioning organizations from any old PBX system to a truly global cloud-based solution.
Dawn-Marie: I spent a good amount of time at Microsoft before moving into telecommunications with Avaya and now SIPPIO. I find it fascinating that those two worlds are converging and becoming the same thing.
How easy is it to add voice services to Microsoft Teams?
Bill: AudioCodes is a voice company so for us it’s relatively easy. The solutions we provide for our customers are also easy to use, and we spend time with customers showing them that voice solutions are simple and useful.
Many people are afraid of voice, but you don’t need to be afraid at all.
How has SIPPIO enabled you to address the demand from your partners and their enterprises that are using Microsoft Teams but haven’t yet activated full calling capabilities?
Bill: The key is that you really need an easy button to simplify and automate the entire process of transitioning a company from whatever PBX to a cloud-based solution.
The collaboration with SIPPIO allowed us to do that.
As I mentioned earlier, I have spent 30 years in telecommunications, and it’s true that a lot of people are afraid of voice. The partnership with SIPPIO allows us to make this world more accessible.
Dawn-Marie, let’s talk about automation; is that where the easy button comes into play, and could you tell us what SIPPIO automates and how this impacts the overall user experience?
Dawn-Marie: What we aimed to do was really provide the easy button. However, at the same time, we wanted to remove having the individuality of different systems within companies but rather provide them with a ready toolset.
This has been developed in a protocol that grants different functionalities to users, without having to deal with the PowerShell coding aspect.
SIPPIO methodology also lets the administrator decide how to roll out voice capabilities and present calls within the company environment. This is especially important in larger enterprises where calls don’t necessarily need to be carried out in a standard way.
Let’s say hypothetically that we run a 500-person accounting firm, we have offices all over the country and AudioCodes is my managed service provider. How long is it going to take me to get everyone live if I’m already using Microsoft Teams and I need to get them activated on voice? Are we looking at weeks?
Dawn-Marie: Are you ready? Because if you’re ready I could have you activated today.
Once we have the DIDs it’s just a few minutes to set everything up. The bulk of the time in most projects is the planning in the deployment phase as well as determining which users you are going to voice-enable.
From there, we can enable voice in over 74 countries, through our 10+ Azure data regions that are meshed together for super scalability and reliability.
So, you’ve basically eliminated everything that makes adding voice to Microsoft Teams complicated, expensive and time-consuming?
Dawn-Marie: That’s right! 5 people or 5000 doesn’t really matter here because there is an economy of scale and automation where it’s very quick to walk through the tools.
That sounds a little bit too good to be true!
Dawn-Marie: Yes! One of the things that make the partnership between SIPPIO and AudioCodes unique is the technical side.
Very often organizations have complex environments and things you can’t just address by pushing a button, and that’s where AudioCodes and their professional services come into play.
Bill, can you explain how AudioCodes augments SIPPIO as the easy button?
Bill: As I mentioned previously, we had a tremendous amount of success over the years migrating PBXs to a Microsoft deployment and I agree that you could possibly upload 80% of the companies in minutes, but as Dawn-Marie said there are complexities as well.
I remember that when I started my career 30 years ago, the analogue was supposed to disappear, and guess what? It’s still here! I think today there are more faxes out there than I ever thought possible, and that’s where AudioCodes can help.
Dawn-Marie: It’s true – a lot of what we see is well suited to traditional analogue devices because you want that landline there when there is a problem.
Bill: We’re currently working with a customer who’s moving from a 1980 platform, leap by leap, into Microsoft Teams – a jump from the eighties directly to 2022.
We found SIPPIO to be the most versatile partner for full cloud, hybrid and premise-style deployments requiring legacy and PBX integrations, and that’s what makes the partnership so simple and effective.
AudioCodes is one of the earliest adopters and biggest advocates of Microsoft Teams; tell us about your approach to supporting AudioCodes’ partners and how you are helping them get the most out of the platform
Bill: AudioCodes has been a huge Microsoft partner for the past 14 years. Even though Teams has changed names and shape over the years, what the platform provides is the same. Over the years, moving our customers to Microsoft deployments made us acquire tremendous experience and lessons learned.
We enable our partners by sharing this experience with them, making sure we can apply solutions from challenges learned previously.
Is AudioCodes supporting customers both through the channel as well as direct enterprises?
Bill: Yes, we speak directly with enterprises but everything we do is through our partners, we are 100% customer focused.
When we talk about partners, AudioCodes supports both the traditional channel partner, MSPs and integrators but also telco operators, MSOs, and global operators?
Bill: Yes, we have been growing for over 28 years and we’ve expanded to different sectors. We worked with partners that had a tremendous number of capabilities and partners who don’t; AudioCodes foundations are based on partner enablement, on building successful systems that can be later managed by the partner themselves. That’s exactly how we worked with SIPPIO, complimenting what they are providing.
Hybrid working is here to stay. Dawn-Marie, can you provide any use cases or particularly successful examples?
Dawn-Marie: A couple of years ago, voice enabling was something nice to have, while today it has become a must-have. One of our mutual customers, who had a strict “work from work” situation, was really scrambled when COVID hit because they lacked a strategy that allowed any hybrid situation. They reached out to AudioCodes to explore the options to keep the firm working, even if remotely.
Bill: Yes, and as we continue working through, we see more hybrid working environments.
Some people are going back to the office while some others prefer to work from home, and what companies want is to give all their employees the same experience.
Whether they’re working from a desk, couch or beach, Microsoft Teams is allowing people to have an equal working pattern.
Thank you both for your time today, do you have any final thoughts?
Dawn-Marie: I want to express my appreciation for the partnership with AudioCodes; it has been a lot of fun! With Microsoft Operator Connect and Zoom Provider Exchange just launched, and more collaboration suites on the horizon – we’ve had and will continue to have many opportunities to grow together
Bill: I want to acknowledge that as well; we’ve been partnering together for nearly three years, and we’ve learnt a lot from each other.