Microsoft Teams Highlights on Microsoft Inspire 2022

Microsoft Inspire is Microsoft’s partner conference. This is both to celebrate the efforts and victory of Microsoft partners throughout the year and also for Microsoft to define the partnership opportunity and their areas of focus for their upcoming FY23.

It’s a great opportunity to hear directly where Microsoft thinks the market is going and what they are focusing on. Which should also be your areas of interest as a partner if you want to be with Microsoft.

Of course, I follow all Microsoft Teams/Modern Workplace sessions and here are the main takeaways.

FY22 Microsoft Teams numbers

We didn’t hear any new numbers that we hadn’t heard before (maybe at Inspire in November), but there were some impressive numbers recapped:

  • Over 270 million monthly active users
  • Teams Rooms devices more than doubled year over year
  • Use of Teams by frontline workers doubled year over year
  • 80 million active Microsoft Teams Phone users (I still don’t like the definition of that number, as it includes both Microsoft Teams VoIP and PSTN usage).
  • App usage in Teams grew 10x between 2022 and 2022
  • Over 460 new Microsoft Teams features released in FY22 (struggling to keep up? Check out my new Empowering.Cloud project)

4 areas of focus for Microsoft Teams

Nicole Herskowitz, VP of Microsoft Teams, gave a great Unlock Business Growth with Microsoft Teams session, where she laid out very clearly what areas Microsoft is focusing on and even how their field sales team is recognized in these areas.

1. Microsoft Teams Rooms – Win Hybrid Meetings

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Microsoft is focused on conquering Microsoft Teams rooms with technologies like front row and smart cameras. The Microsoft field metric for this is paid Teams Room licenses. There was no mention if there was a preference for Microsoft Teams Room Premium over the standard Microsoft Teams Room.

Less than 8% of the 90 million conference rooms worldwide are currently equipped with video. Source: Frost & Sullivan, March 2021; Global Video Conferencing Devices Market Status, Forecast to 2025

2. Team Phone – Modernize Communications

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Microsoft predicted that cloud-based calling will overtake on-premises calling by 2026. Microsoft Customer Success teams are focused on enabling E5 customers who have the licenses but have not yet activated Teams Phone. Engage with customers early in the E5 renewal process to create intent to deploy Teams Phone. Sell ​​the Teams Phone add-on to E3 customers.

Microsoft has confirmed that Direct Routing is currently the most used option for PSTN connectivity in Microsoft Teams. I am confident that over time Operator Connect will become the dominant PSTN connectivity option.

The Microsoft field metrics here are Teams Phone revenue and number of activated users.

3. Activate frontline workers

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Microsoft is studying the opportunity of 2 billion frontline workers worldwide. With Teams features like Shifts, Tasks, Approval, the new Updates app and no-code/low-code apps are opportunities to add value here.

The field metric here is new frontline worker seats.

4. Apps in Teams – Make Teams the work platform

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Microsoft wants Microsoft Teams to be a platform for business applications and processes. Over 1,500 ISV apps are available in the Teams App Store. Customers have used over 80,000 unique sets of custom business apps in Microsoft Teams. Microsoft has also added payment options directly to the Teams app store, including in-app payments from free to paid.

The Microsoft field metric is active app usage in Teams.

Microsoft Digital Contact Center

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Microsoft announced its new Microsoft Digital Contact Center platform. It is not a single product/SKU, but rather a playbook combining all or part of Dynamics 365, Nuance, Power Platform, Teams and Azure.

  • Dynamics 365 – Customer Engagement Center/Contact Center as a Service. Provide omnichannel engagement, including live chat, SMS, voice and video (Azure Communication Services), and virtual agents
  • Nuance – Contact Center AI, providing services such as IVR, voice biometrics, authentication and fraud prevention
  • Power Platform – Development of Low-Code/No-Code applications, for automation and reporting (Power BI)
  • Teams – Collaboration, providing integration and spin-off options between the contact center and the rest of the organization
  • Azure – Global Cloud Infrastructure, providing the infrastructure for all of these services and Azure Communication Services for SMS, PSTN and video.

Microsoft strongly emphasized during the launch that being open and interoperable is a priority for them. Thus, the platform or parts of the platform can be integrated into existing contact center solutions. Indeed, Nuance is already widely used alongside contact centers such as Avaya, Genesys and NICE.

For more details on Microsoft Digital Contact Center, check out my blog here.

excel live

Excel Live allows everyone in the meeting to view and interact with a workbook in real time. Excel Live will be available for public preview in August

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Collaborative annotations

Collaborative annotations allow everyone in the meeting to draw, type, or react to content shared in the meeting powered by Microsoft Whiteboard. During desktop screen sharing and with Annotation mode enabled, meeting participants will see the Annotations toolbar and can start adding annotations to get feedback and lead the discussion. Collaborative annotations are now generally available. Learn more here.

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Teams webinar improvements

  • Biographies of the presenters: Make presenters stand out with their photo, company name, job title, LinkedIn profile, and more.
  • Thematization: Showcase your brand and align your event theme with a relevant banner, logo, and color scheme that appears on the registration page and webinar communications
  • Capacity limits: Set a specific limit for the number of attendees who can register
  • Custom Questions: Collect information from attendees with more predefined custom questions, including the ability to include consent for event-specific terms and conditions

These features will be available for public preview next month. Microsoft has done a full blog post about it here.

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Asynchronous video messaging in Microsoft Teams (video clip)

Video Clip is a new feature that allows you to easily record and send a short and light video message in chat. The music video will be in public preview in August and generally available in September.

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