The Dark Art of Direct Routing

Read the original article in UC Today by Rob Scott here.

Cloud Voice could be just what channel partners are waiting for

Once upon a time, not so long ago for some of us, telecoms and PBXs were like a dark art – a mysterious skill that few people knew much about. The telecoms industry thrived on healthy sales and engineering margins for years throughout the 90s and well into the 2000s.

Yet, like so many things, the environment for telecommunications has changed. As the cloud PBX arrived to offer more flexibility and scalability to the landscape, the market has shifted. Channel partner margins are now struggling to avoid the slippery slope to the bottom. Things are no longer as simple or straightforward as we once thought.

The Arrival of a New Era of Comms

In 2017, Microsoft introduced the world to Microsoft Teams, a new collaboration platform that boasted 100 million user head-start in the UC space (based on the Office 365 customer base size). It wasn’t long before this tool for video and chat began to gain more functionality. Microsoft recognized the demand for an all-in-one communications environment, and the phone system became a part of the stack. Basic PBX feature sets were suddenly available for organizations that needed more than just a collaboration solution.

Calling packages with bundled minutes started to roll out from Microsoft Teams. The experience was similar to a BT OneBill offering, where the only winner was the provider – not the customer. The arena was changing, but ideas for how to excel weren’t fully formed yet.

In 2018, a new concept came along in the form of Direct Routing. Companies clamored for this “bring your own carrier” option. More complex organizations now had an ability to connect third-party SIP trunk carriers. This meant you could access more countries, better compliance, and enhanced flexibility.

At the heart of Direct Routing is SIP. All you need is a certified SBC (session border controller) in between Microsoft Teams and your chosen SIP provider. SBCs make SIP very flexible, therefore once you’re up and running you can route virtually anything SIP into the Microsoft Teams platform.

For a broader understanding of Direct Routing options read my recent blog.

Where the Opportunity Lies for Channel Partners

Hopefully, you’re still with me by this point. In the last couple of years, cloud platforms have begun to be more capable and diverse again, boasting advanced featured and integrations. Where the Cloud PBX was deemed relatively simple over the years, the parity between an enterprise PBX and a modern UCaaS platform has well and truly been achieved.

Direct Routing is a big opportunity for the channel partner. There are very few companies in today’s landscape that run simple phone systems and with the shear amount of companies wishing to fully utilize Teams for cloud voice, now is the time to get started.

Not every organization can sign up to a UCaaS service and deploy softphones, then be ready to get to work instantly. Most companies have complicated requirements that include the deployment of legacy devices, integrations, and in-depth solutions for security and compliance. Companies need a bespoke offering that interconnects with third-party platforms and serves specific needs.

That’s why when someone asks me what the next big opportunity is for channel partners, I reference Direct Routing. This solution is crucial because the landscape is so complex. More companies are looking at Direct Routing to make the connections been disparate parts of the communication stack. However, not everyone can understand how Direct Routing works.

Today’s enterprises need support and guidance from people who know how to set up the perfect Direct Routing experiences. That’s where channel partners can rediscover their magic and regain more opportunities within the industry.

Learn the Art of Direct Routing

There’s a new mysterious dark art available for channel partners to harness today, and it comes in the form of Direct Routing. A channel partner that can create the ultimate collaboration and communication experience offers some serious benefits for companies who can’t figure this connection out themselves. Now is the perfect time for channel partners to start experimenting with Direct Routing too.

Partners in the Microsoft ecosystem currently have a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate their value to end-customer organizations. This is your chance to show that you can assist your clients in navigating the complex avenues of cloud voice and Direct Routing for Teams estates.

It may be true that there isn’t much money in the process of simply selling Microsoft Teams to end-customers today. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities here. There’s plenty of gold around the edges for channel partners to discover, if they know where to look.

If you can help your end customers deal with the complex issues of building the right communications stack right now, then you’re in the right place.