BizTech BizTech Podcasts

71. Direct Routing or Operator Connect with Microsoft Teams? Which is better? With Mike Baillargeon

May 31, 2023

Subscribe to the Next Level BizTech podcast, so you don’t miss an episode!
Amazon Music | Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify | Watch on YouTube

Listen in today as Mikey B, Telarus CX Solution architect underscores all the differences of how your customers can procure Microsoft Teams, along with the value props of each. Not only will he address different customer environments and how to sell them, but we’ll learn storytelling and hear how Mikey’s early path to Shakespeare comes in handy!

Josh Lupresto (00:01):
Welcome to the podcast that is designed to fuel your success in selling technology solutions. I’m your host, Josh Lupresto, SVP of Sales Engineering at Telarus. And this is Next Level BizTech, everybody. Welcome back to another episode. We are kicking off this track talking about Microsoft Teams, as if you haven’t heard enough about Teams. You haven’t because there’s new stuff and we need to talk about what’s important, why it matters, and no better to do that than bring on somebody. Really smart. Mike Baillargeon, Telarus solution architect. Mikey, welcome to the show.

Mike Baillargeon (00:39):
Thanks, Josh. Super happy to be here.

Josh Lupresto (00:41):
So the title of this track, Mike, is Microsoft Teams. Is it direct routing now? Is it Operator Connect? You know, we’re gonna get into that now. How do we, how do we pick that? So, so I think as we go through this, we’re gonna answer that for the partners and, and kind of walk them through that. And as we kick this off, what I wanna start with is I wanna start with you personally. I want to hear your background. Anybody that doesn’t know you, I, I find that that’s probably a really small list of people, but anybody that doesn’t know you, help us understand where did you start? How did you get here? Have you always been on this path? Did you, did you get sucked into this world, like some have? Fill us in.

Mike Baillargeon (01:20):
, thank Josh. So I was an English major in college. I wanted to bring Shakespeare to the masses, , that was, that was my end goal. But a funny thing happened on the way to that path, and it was called being a substitute teacher for six months. And I gotta say, if you, if you’re a parent out there with kids in school, those teachers worked so hard. And in the six months I was a substitute teacher, I decided maybe I should get a minor in engineering and math , because I, I, I could handle the English. I, I love the, the, the English language and reading and poetry and all that goes with it. But the teaching part’s actually the hard part. So interesting. My wife and I, we, we were married and up here in New England, and we decided we wanted to leave the cold for the sun.

Mike Baillargeon (02:14):
So we moved to Phoenix, and we lived in Phoenix for about 20 years where we decided, you know, that cold might be okay. So we left the, the, the sun and moved back. And what happened was when we moved out there, like a lot of us, you know, right outta college, you just, you know, pick up, pick up the newspaper back then Josh, I’m a bit of an old guy. Yeah. Pre indeed. And there’s this opportunity. Do you like to talk to people? You know, do you have good customer service skills? This job is few. I’m like, great. Sounds amazing. And they were paying like eight bucks an hour. I was like, this is awesome. So what that job was, by the way, was a call center rep at a thousand person B p o. Nice. The second hardest job in the world besides teaching is being a call center rep. .

Mike Baillargeon (03:04):
And I learned that pretty quickly. So while I was there, I made good friends with the IT team because I saw what they did. I’m like, okay, they’re, they’re walking around the building. They’re, they’re at these high level meetings that, you know, I want, that’s where I wanna be. I wanna be where a sausage it made. So I, I, I started talking about, I’m like, what do you guys do? And what, what, what is this? They’re like, oh yeah, we’re with a telecom admin. We have an AT&T now, Avaya, definity, G3R PBX, and eight refrigerator size cabinets in the back. I’m like, wow, that is awesome. And there was an opening and like all good young people, I completely lied during the interview and I got the job. So I was responsible for programming a AT&T PBX for a thousand people. And I had no idea what I was doing. Figured it out. And here I am now.

Josh Lupresto (04:04):
Love it. Cut out perfectly for engineering. Beautiful. Yeah.

Mike Baillargeon (04:08):
Awesome story. And what, yeah, I’m sorry. One thing, one thing that I will say, what my English degree did teach me is how to tell good story. What we are seeing, Josh, and we may get to this, is the evolution of sales. It used to be the person who knew the bits and the bites and the speeds of the feeds best was the best salesperson. Now it’s the one that can craft that yarn, right? That, that, that journey from where you are to where, where, where the customer doesn’t even know where they wanna be. That’s your job. That sherpa that takes us on, on the journey. Now, you need to know a little bit about the bits and bees to get ’em there. But the beauty of that is if you can craft that really great story, you’re gonna own much more of that customer’s wallet. And that’s really what the English English degree did for me. We have an awesome team, Josh. There are so many smarter guys and gals on our team with bits and bites than I am, but I think I tell a pretty good story.

Josh Lupresto (05:05):
Agree. Agree. You got me sucked in. All right. I want you to tell me a story on customer trends. You know, we’re, you know, we’re past the, the, you know, the big covid upswing and then, you know, people reconsidering, do they need what they bought? Is it working? You know, Teams has, has certainly progressed in a user count, however many millions it is now. But walk me through maybe some current trends of, of what the customers are struggling with. What do you, what are you seeing in that?

Mike Baillargeon (05:35):
Yeah, great. So pandemic hits, and they, we have to send all these people home, right? So what’s interesting is, I think Zoom won the marketing war became a verb. Teams has won the desktop war. You can monetize the desktop side more than you can monetize the marketing side. And that doesn’t mean that Zoom doesn’t continue to do well. They’re one of our, our, our top suppliers. But what it really means is 75% of my conversations start like this. Mike, you know, when we, when the pandemic hit, right? We had an on-prem PBX that wasn’t suited for working from home. I either had to buy more licenses, or I had to buy a physical phone for them to take home to VPN in. And it’s just super kludgy. So what ended up happening was most of the people just forwarded their on-prem extension to their personal cell device.

Mike Baillargeon (06:33):
But that’s not great customer service. You can’t transfer back. You don’t have the screen pop, you don’t have anything. So that was the rash decision they made three years ago. Now, they need to make a rational decision. And what they’ve said is, you know, we send, we tend to, to live in Teams. And if we live in Teams, wouldn’t it be nice to have that single pane of glass for Teams, internal chat, document sharing, email sharing files, and now voice? The problem is Microsoft has made it sound like it’s unicorns and rainbows. . The issue is it’s not. Now, it can’t be easy when you lose the right supplier and the right technique. Don’t get me wrong. We’ve had wonderful installs, but, but until a client talks to one of our trusted advisors and they talk to somebody on our team, the client, I hear things like this, well, I have Teams, so phone is free.

Mike Baillargeon (07:32):
Or they say, yeah, I wanna use the team’s PBX. Or they, or they say, Hey, you know, I can talk to my internal people, so I must be able to talk to external people too. So, you know, for my friends out there, when we, when we come into these discussions, we’re gonna use the three E technique. We’re gonna educate them on, on what’s real and what’s mythical. We’re gonna enable them through licensing that we can provide to get them to where they wanna be, and then we’re gonna empower them with the right supplier to get it done the right way. That’s, that’s what I’m seeing. People are all in on Teams. Now, I’m gonna tell you a little secret, half the people I talked to end up not going through team’s voice because of a feature or finance, and they end up with one of our great standard UCaaS users. So don’t think that if we talk Teams, they go in Teams, we talk agnostic, modernization, transformation of their voice platform that they have today. And if it means go to Teams, awesome. If it means go to a UCaaS provider, awesome. At the end of the day, we are gonna do what’s right by them, not what we’re hearing from the market.

Josh Lupresto (08:52):
Love it. I wanna talk I’m gonna break down the trends a little bit here. I’m gonna get into the specifics of Teams. So when we started doing all the recon a couple years ago, and direct routing became a thing, we looked at what it meant to be qualified. You know, we, we, everybody said, I’ve direct routing, and we realized half of them didn’t. And then when we found that, okay, you had to have these certified list of SBCs, you had to be on the Microsoft approved list, and you know, those who had adjacent SBCs of, of Microsoft’s pick, and if they were in Azure, right? It told it told a much better, more cohesive story. So now, you know, direct droughting iterates, and just like all Microsoft things, they iterate and we get to where we are with operator connect. So, can you walk us through where you see the product sets? Now, what we knew about direct routing, what does operator connect do differently?

Mike Baillargeon (09:45):
Okay, let’s take a little bit of a step back. So when a partner comes to us or a client, we’re in that education phase that we just talked about, and there’s four ways to voice enable Teams. So the first education we tell a client is one Teams is not a phone system. It is an endpoint, a a soft phone. That’s all it is. And just like a soft phone on a on-prem PBX or a soft phone with a UCaaS provider, it requires two things. It requires a license. And in the Teams world that is that $8 us, it’s $10 20 cents Canadian PBX enablement or PSTN calling license, it’s included with an E five license. But if your client has an E one or business premium or E three, that’s $8. Some people call that the Microsoft Tax. I play a bit of poker.

Mike Baillargeon (10:45):
I call that the ante. I gotta ante up the $8 before I see any of my cards before I do anything. The second license you need is you need access to a carrier who has access to PSDN, right? So the four ways is all about that access. The first way is go direct to Microsoft Friends. Do not let friends have customers buy direct from Microsoft . Lots of reasons for that. The biggest one is they are not a tele telephony carrier. So customer has to do all the porting themselves. They’re not great with troubleshooting. There is no redundancy, there’s no fact support, there’s no analog support. The easy part is going to, clicking the button that says, yes, I’ll buy it for 12 bucks. Right? The hard part is everything that comes after that. But it’s good to educate the client that that’s an option.

Mike Baillargeon (11:36):
The second option is what we call, what I call native direct routing. And what I mean by that is we have a great cadre of Microsoft Gold Partners in our portfolio. So they do direct routing, and they’re right in Azure direct routing. That’s a, a fancy term for the voice is gonna go from your team’s client to Azure to whoever’s SBC is there. And then that SBC of the carrier connects to PSDN. So it’s a, it’s, it’s a bit of a ubiquitous term. Everybody uses it the same way. And it, and it kind of works the same, but don’t be afraid of it, right? Don’t say, yeah, you should never hear a provider say, yeah, we do direct routing better than anyone else. Okay, that’s good marketing, but it’s all about the same. No offense, why do I call it native?

Mike Baillargeon (12:24):
Because this crew has their SBC session border controller, either virtualize or on a physical device, right? In Azure, there’s no third party helping them out. These tend to be Microsoft Goal partners. So a typical customer who would lean in this direction would be this, listen, we have 200 users. There’s literally three people on our IT team. We are pretty good with Microsoft, but we are being pulled in 50 different directions. We really need a partner in moving us to this Teams environment. We need someone who’s, who knows Microsoft really well, and to help us with this, those type provider, the, those questions. And that customer really should go with a native direct routing. Again, Microsoft goal partner. The other nice thing is they’ve added extra features. When you go right to Microsoft, you get eight features. Make a call, take a call, hang up on a call, transfer conference, voicemail, auto attendant, basic hunt groups about it.

Mike Baillargeon (13:25):
Mm-Hmm. when you go to a native partner, because they know Microsoft so well, they’re able to add in SMS or eFax into their ui. Okay? The third type is the UCaaS provider, right? So this is the very traditional UCaaS provider that you’ve been selling for years who say, Hey, listen, we do direct routing. Now the value of auca, correct? So if you go to the, to the native direct router you it, it has been mandated by it. Thou shall use Teams for voice, right? Everybody’s on, right? You’re either on a train or on the tracks with acast provider, it’s a bit more choose your own adventure. This is the type of customer that you’ll hear. Listen, yeah, 400 people across the US really across the globe. And I’ll be honest with you, you know, we were pretty much a Zoom shop and we just moved to Teams.

Mike Baillargeon (14:26):
We still use Zoom a little bit, or we use Go-to a little bit, or Vonage or, or Uber Conference, a k a Dialpad meetings a little bit. But really we, we we’re going down that path, but we haven’t had buy-in from everyone. Is there a way that if you wanna go on Teams, you can go on Teams, but if you’re not ready for that, you have a really rich PBX UI to use. And when you’re rated Teams for Teams, we can just kind of roll you into it. Yeah, that is exactly what our traditional A providers are wonderful at, right? Choose your own adventure, right? Hey, 20%, let’s put you into Teams. The other 80% we’ll put you onto our native UI that we spent millions, tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars perfecting. And then, but then the, the directories are connected. So it’s still a seamless transfer between the two. And when people are ready to move, great. Or maybe people get jealous, like, Hey, I like that UI a lot better. Is there a way I can get outta Teams and get that ui? Sure. Here you go. The fourth way is what’s called operator connect. Apologies for taking the long road to get there. No, this is good.

Josh Lupresto (15:37):
This is good. This is, this is now, now I think it’s important though. I think it’s important to underscore how we got here. Otherwise, you’re not gonna understand where we’re going. Cuz today it’s Operator Connect. Next time we get on this podcast, it might be something different. So break us down. Operator Connect. Yeah. What, what does that do now?

Mike Baillargeon (15:51):
Yeah, so Operator Connect. So two important things to understand. Microsoft actually listened to its customer community. What, what they heard was, listen, Microsoft Teams is our, that’s our path. Oh something I asked, I have a favorite to ask my friends out there. Do try not to call it Teams. PBX Teams phone, let’s use the phrase voice enabling Teams. That’s what we’re doing. Voice enabling Teams. So when customer says, I want that Free Teams PBX, you can say, well, we’re happy to help you with voice enabling Teams, but it is not free. And let’s talk about that. Okay, PSA over moving forward, operator Connect. People went to Microsoft and said, we wanna go teens, but honestly, you’re a terrible carrier. You’re hard to work with. I gotta work with PowerShell, which is that like basic looking programming, FORTRAN looking programming interface that you have.

Mike Baillargeon (16:47):
Help me out, get some big carriers out there certified on your product. Make it easy for us and we’ll go all in. And Microsoft said, done. So they created this, this platform called Operator Connect. Now, operator is not Lilly Tomlin one, ringy Dinghy, two Ringy Dinghy Operator to Microsoft Means Carrier. So think of it as Carrier Connect. They use the word operator. So now I can go into the Azure marketplace, type in operator, and all these certified providers, some of the largest providers on the planet are certified. We have Rogers in Canada, we have AT&T, Verizon in the US ,we have Fusion Connect, we have Call Tower, we have Command Link, we have Intelipeer. These are people you’ve worked with for years with their UCaaS and broadband services. Now they’re certified on Operator Connect. So how is Operator Connect different than direct routing?

Mike Baillargeon (17:48):
Great question. Question. Glad you asked. . Couple important things with the direct routing partner, they have their own admin UI that is outside of Teams, easy to use, connected to Teams on the backend, but separate, no big deal. Operator Connect, they got smart. They said, why don’t we just put it in the Microsoft admin portal? So now you’ll see a tab that says operator, and you can add numbers, delete user, delete users, add users, delete numbers, add user, whatever, all in one portal. Operator Connect is also a SIP trunk model, which is different than the direct routing model, which is the very classic, oh, you have a hundred users, you have to buy a hundred licenses. Yeah. Now operator connect is, you have a hundred users, you have to buy a hundred SIP trunks. But we’ve all been in telephony for a long time.

Mike Baillargeon (18:39):
We understand that SIP trunks have been along around. So the price of that has come way down. So when we introduce Operator Connect, that tends to be the low cost leader in in the deal. So who’s buying operator connect? Mike? We have a, we have a a thousand users in the us we have a IT team of 25 CCNA, CCIE, CC3PO, certified technicians. We’re all over Microsoft. C3PO? . Oh, come on, you’re a nerd. You probably have that certification. I know you we’re all in with Microsoft. We can handle that. We just need an easy to use portal. We can self-service boom, that is Operator Connect. The biggest thing about Operator Connect is self-service. Easy to use. The drawback, I don’t wanna use the word drawback, but one of the things that is missing is you’re not gonna get a lot the advanced features, right?

Mike Baillargeon (19:41):
SMS, eFax, you’ll have to kind of add those on. Now also analog is hard to do with Operator Connect. However, because we have such wonderful suppliers that use BroadSoft or Cisco as well, they can actually license Broadsoft or Cisco licenses for the overhead paging, for the fax machines, for any of the analog. And again, kind of like the UCaaS provider that has a single directory, they can do that. So what’s great about going to Operator Connect is you’re gonna get a great price. And if you need some of those kind of old school analog features, they can handle that as well.

Josh Lupresto (20:14):
Love it. Ah, man, that is a, that is the best history lesson you are ever gonna get on a breakdown of you know, not just the different flavors now, but it’s, that’s, that’s a couple years compressed into just a few minutes. And I think that’s important because you don’t know where your customer is. But I think if you understand that, go back, listen to this again, listen to it three times, I think that’s a really, really important segment because it’s gonna help you figure out how to get pulled into that conversation. Great stuff. I, I wanna talk now, I, I wanna get into a real example. Maybe, you know, the, the thing we always talk about in this section is, you and I have seen this plenty. The deals don’t always end the way that they start. And that’s a good thing because we tend to just find more it, it, it’s not that we’re holding out the menu you know, like at one of the restaurants that’s got everything on it, right?

Josh Lupresto (21:06):
Cheesecake Factory is what I’m thinking of. But that’s really just part of how our discovery goes. We wanna make sure it works. We wanna make sure it integrates all of those things. And so naturally walks us into other things. So I would love for you to walk us through an example. We can keep customer name private, but maybe walk us through an example. Something you, you walked into, what were you told the situation was, and after you did some of the discovery call with the customer, what did you find out? And you got into the weeds, what did they have and then what did they need? And really, what did you put in place?

Mike Baillargeon (21:38):
Yeah, I, I, I have three case studies, so I’ll run through ’em pretty quickly, but they’re completely different. So whenever you work with the Telarus team, especially myself, we don’t bring you three flavors. Like I would never bring a customer. Three operator connects boring, right? If you see one, you’ve seen ’em all. And then it’s just a price war, right? When you work with us, we’re gonna bring you one native, one UCaaSt and one operator connect. That way they get the full flavor, or what we call here the Neapolitan of the UCaaS world. First one big healthcare company. They had 80 clinics across the state. They tried to go to Microsoft Direct themselves. They’re like, Hey, listen, we’re Microsoft people. We got this covered. No big deal. It failed miserably. They couldn’t get to work. It was one way audio. So the, they reached out to their trusted advisor that had sold them, you know, just broadband service in the past.

Mike Baillargeon (22:33):
Like, listen, we’re stuck. We’re, we have 80 clinics and we, we have like a hundred people that we just moved to Microsoft Teams voice and if not working, what do we do? So we went in, we actually had we were engaged with at CIO level and we said, listen, you get two choice. We can keep going down this Microsoft approach, but bring in an appropriate supplier. Or we could take a step back and bring in a traditional UCA supplier with all the features that you had on your 30 year old Avaya system, and not start from scratch, but really kind of put your users at ease versus going into this Teams environment with the limited feature set, the no paging that they’re used to, the no parking they’re used to. So in this case, the customer was wanted to go Teams, they tried to do it themselves, swinging a miss.

Mike Baillargeon (23:21):
They brought us in and we actually sold them a traditional, one of our preferred UCaaS providers because it had the features they were used to, had the look and feel that they were used to. And you know, the install went pretty smooth across 80 sites. So again, friends don’t let friends buy direct from Microsoft. Perfect example for that second example, large retail chain which you think you like retail. How is that a team’s opportunity? Ah, good question. So they have maybe 200 users at corporate and maybe 50 retail stores with, I don’t know, 10, 15 phones overhead paging. So we went in with one of our Connect partners and they just nailed it. They were able to bring broadband services to each store. They were able to give really low prices. Again, as I mentioned before, they had a way to get into the overhead paging and the team at at headquarters love the self-service interface.

Mike Baillargeon (24:27):
And now they’re virtually bringing on more stores on their own without even talking to the supplier. So think about this. You sold it with 10 stores and now six months later through up to 30 stores, you had no idea because they didn’t go through a supplier, they just did the self-service. Yeah. Just one footnote. Be very careful. Do not my 2 cents. Do not tell a customer, you know, operator connects the way to go. You can go right into Microsoft Marketplace, click on an operator, connect partner, and boom, start your free trial and you’re all good because cuz Josh, what’s the customer gonna do?

Josh Lupresto (25:06):
They’re gonna do it and not tell you

Mike Baillargeon (25:08):
They’re gonna do it and not tell. And how much money will I make if they do it, not tell me and I don’t register that deal?

Josh Lupresto (25:15):
Negative $400,

Mike Baillargeon (25:17):
Negative $400 with tax, please. If you have a client, you think they’re gonna go Teams, don’t mention Operator Connect, right? You can say, Hey, there’s a new model to do it, whatever. Or if you do mention Operator Connect and you think that’s the way they’re gonna go get with me, get with your regional se get with and we can say, listen, it’s gonna be a great fit for this supplier. Go register it right now and then send your customers some info on that supplier to cover ourselves. Second PSA completed the third customer. Very interesting. Josh, do you remember what the Microsoft tax was? What is that?

Josh Lupresto (25:57):
A lot. Eight. Eight

Mike Baillargeon (25:58):
Bucks. $8, right? Yeah, $8. So is there a way to avoid paying the Microsoft tax? I live in this day in New Hampshire, no Sales tech tax, no state income tax. We’re full by the way, no one else move in here. . how do I avoid paying the Microsoft Tax? We have four or five suppliers that figured it out. What they do is they have an app in the marketplace, right? It’s UCaaS for Teams, right? With their logo, it gets downloaded right into the Teams app. So basically what they’ve done is they’ve taken their soft phone and their platform, put it into Teams. Now the $8 gets you access to the, the, the team’s handset, right? I want everybody to open up their Teams app right now. Do you see that handset right there? That costs you $8 to touch? If the customer’s like, listen, we’re a nonprofit, that’s just gonna kill our budget, but we, we really want Teams, we’ll use one of these providers.

Mike Baillargeon (27:01):
So when a call comes in that provider’s soft phone pops up within Teams when they wanna make a phone call, they click on not the $8 icon, but their own app and their soft phone pops up. So it’s a little, it is quote unquote in Teams, but it feels very much like AKAs ui. So the advantage to that is you get great redundancy, you get great reports and you get it in Teams. Okay, Mike, well what’s the drawback? Always a catch, right? This guy, okay this guy is the catch. If you buy the $8 license, then you can get voice in your Teams mobile app. Awesome. If you skip the $8 the, you cannot use your team’s mobile app for voice. You’d have to use that UCaaSt suppliers mobile app. Okay? So that’s, that’s the big, I don’t know if it’s the biggest catch, but it’s the catch, right?

Mike Baillargeon (28:02):
So if you have customers who like, oh, my, my, my whole sales team is mobile, you’d probably wanna pay the, the, the $8 fee to get that into that app. If they’re like, yeah, we don’t really care about that, then let’s talk about it. And we had a customer, they were a nonprofit legal organization longtime customer of one of our, our best elite partners out of the Midwest. And they’re like, we’re all in on Team’s voice. I’m like, great. Okay. So you have the nonprofit license, you need to pay, I think, I think it’s five bucks for nonprofits. You gotta pay this. They’re like, whoa, whoa, whoa, that’s gonna blow out our budget. I’m like, well, it’s, it is what it is. I said, you could go this route. Well show me a demo. So we brought in one of our trusted suppliers, they did the demo and they’re like, if you can get your Percy price down to this, we’ll buy it tomorrow. Guess what? They bought it in two days. So they went Teams, they didn’t pay the $8. They went around that. And the exp they, and the experience is different, but they said for the price it was the way to go.

Josh Lupresto (29:08):
Love it. Good stuff. Great examples. I love that you got a couple different situations there. Good stuff. Final couple questions here as we wrap this up. Yeah, you know, you, you’ve given a lot of tips and I think a lot of insight into what the different options of the Microsoft environment are. So maybe I’m a partner listening to this, or maybe I’m, maybe I’m thinking about becoming a partner and this excites me cuz I’ve got customers that do these things. But maybe I’m in an adjacent technology area. Maybe I’m selling infrastructure, maybe I’m selling security, and I haven’t pushed into this yet. What’s your advice? Like this, obviously we know that we’ve got terrific resources such as yourself to help them. They’re not in battle alone. We’ve got a lot of friends on the team to be able to help them. But if they’re just trying to get in and trying to crack into this meeting, what’s your, what’s your coach? How do they get that meeting with, with some, knowing some of what you’ve shared with us here?

Mike Baillargeon (29:57):
Yeah. You have to ask questions, right? It’s not intuitive. So at, at Telarus our focus is on horizontal selling, right? So don’t, don’t just stay in your lane of connectivity or cloud or whatever, ask the next question to get more horizontal with that client. Because what you’ll find is these adjacencies are just natural. Hey, hey, hey Josh. It, it’s Mike over at Mike’s company. We’ve been doing business 20 for 20 years. Hey, listen, I need to, to up my internet speed at one main street. I need fiber at two Washington Street, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Great. I’ll get those quotes right over to you. Right? Stop. Yes. You can get the quotes. Awesome. So what’s going on? What, why do you need the bump in, in the connectivity in to Washington Street? Is that a new location? What’s going on? Oh, yeah.

Mike Baillargeon (30:46):
You know, we you know, we just hired 50 more people and you know, we have our on-prem Cisco, you know about that, right? And we’ll can go to cloud. So we want infrastructure to handle that. Oh, did you know that I’m an expert on, on UCaaS Solutions. Oh, well we didn’t think of it that way. Well do, but do you have any experience with Teams? We wanna go, we want the free Teams PBX. Yes, of course. All the PRI suppliers we work with offer some type of way to voice enable Teams. Be careful with the word free because that doesn’t really exist at all. So I’m happy to bring in my voice engineer, talk about the different ways to connect, to connect Teams to voice without going to Microsoft, which it will be a way that you will hate, right? Ask questions.

Mike Baillargeon (31:37):
Yeah. They put in a new order. Ask ’em why. Love it. Ask ’em if they’re all in on Teams. Like I said, zoom won the Marketing War Teams won the desktop war. You, how do I know that? Teams is now in Windows version 11 chat bar. It is in the OS Teams went from 70 million users active monthly and 2019 to 270 million active users. In 2021. Boom. Only six to 7% of that user community has voice enabled Teams. Now, I was an English major in college, so not super smart on math. Josh, super smart on math, Josh, 6% of 270 million. Is that a, a good size number? I, I always forget what the decimal point. It’s

Josh Lupresto (32:30):
A high quota, but it’s a good commission. Yeah,

Mike Baillargeon (32:32):
, fair

Josh Lupresto (32:34):
Enough. Love it. Good stuff. All right. Final thoughts here. I wanna look to the, the future a little bit and, and, and I know it’s hard right now because this is, everything just changes so quick. But if we look into Mike’s Crystal ball, let’s call it 12 months plus you know, or, or within this 12 month span, anything different that you wanna see our partners doing? Anything different? You want us to be prepared for anything coming down the, you know the gauntlet from Microsoft that we need to be aware of? Or do we just, we stay the course with everything that you mentioned so far?

Mike Baillargeon (33:04):
All of the above, right? Right. We keep pushing the voice enabling team, but more importantly, we keep pushing voice transformation. If they end up in Teams, awesome. If they end up on a UCaaSt provider, awesome. But we have that conversation. Once we’re into the conversation, we can kind of guide their journey to whatever makes most sense. A couple of the future conversations that I’m having is around contact center, right? Hey, listen, I have Cisco on-prem PBX with their contact center. We wanna do everything in Teams, and this is where my English degree comes in. Cuz I get to talk about prepositions, right? Because I say, well, there’s two key prepositions. Do you wanna be within Teams, like in the Teams ui or do you just wanna integrate with Teams? It might be, it’s a separate ui, but to, but to transfer su super easy.

Mike Baillargeon (33:55):
And it comes down to I want the best product from my people and my clients. Great. Let’s let’s start with that framework. Now we have both. We have within Teams and with Teams, so we are educated enough to have that conversation, but it’s a, it’s a, it’s an important one to have. The next thing is Microsoft Marketing Machines just preannounced their digital contact center. And, you know, J Lo who’s on our team and Megan, they’re wonderful. And, you know, they’re doing research on that. I’m, I’m poking my toe in it. The biggest thing I found out is it’s a, it’ll actually be part of Microsoft Dynamics, not Microsoft Teams. Mm-Hmm. What, so that tells me that unless a customer is all in on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM, it’s not gonna really work well for them. Well, I can tell you I talk to dozens of customers a week.

Mike Baillargeon (34:52):
Only a small percentage of those actually use dynamic CRM versus HubSpot, Zoho, Zendesk customer with a k and something called Salesforce that that one may take off. We’re still waiting to see if people have adopted that. The, the bulk of those users are that. Now there are some huge Microsoft shops that are all in on Dynamics, don’t get me wrong. But the fact that it’s not gonna be in Teams is actually gonna be in Dynamics, I think is a huge boon to our supplier community so they don’t have to fight that conversation. Yeah.

Josh Lupresto (35:26):
Great stuff.

Mike Baillargeon (35:28):
That’s it.

Josh Lupresto (35:29):
Have wraps us up Mikey. Appreciate you coming on, man. Dropping there, there is, you, you gotta come back and listen to this podcast 10 times. There’s some great stuff in here. Thanks so much, much for coming on and doing this, man.

Mike Baillargeon (35:38):
Hey, we are here to moooove your customers to Cloud Voice.

Josh Lupresto (35:42):
For, for those of you on video that have no, or on audio that have no idea what that means, there’s a picture of cows in the background. I’m Mikey’s Wall. So if you haven’t caught it on YouTube yet, go back and check it out. All right, Mikey B. that wraps us up. I’m your host, Josh Lupresto, SVP of Sales engineering. This is Next Level BizTech. Michael Baillargeon, Telarus architect. Till next time.