Australian telecommunications firm Telstra has signed a world-first agreement with Microsoft as a key step towards securing the technology industry’s future.
The Telstra - Microsoft deal will soon allow customers to enjoy free voice calling in the Office 365 environment. This new deal is the first of its kind signed between Microsoft and a telecommunications company.
The product resulting from the new agreement is called Telstra Calling for Office 365, which will be available to users around mid-2018. The service is said to combine traditional phone calling services into Microsoft’s top Office tools and collaboration tools such as Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. The calling service will be sold to customers as a standalone service which is expected to generate a new revenue stream for the both the partnering companies.
Telstra Calling for Office 365 will allow Telstra to retain customers as the ageing telephone systems run through PABX transition into retirement. The company will also have the opportunity to gain a foothold in multichannel collaboration platforms. Moreover, the new product also allows Microsoft to add new features to the existing services of the Office suite and other collaboration products.
According to Michelle Bendschneider, executive director of global products at Telstra, the Telstra Calling for Office 365 marks one of the company’s biggest product launches of 2018. It was born after a long series of collaborative efforts between Telstra and Microsoft employees, where Telstra had to work hard to build up its expertise prior to the partnership. Bendschneider also added that the new product will not only serve Australian large-scale enterprises, but also the rest of organisations in the country which faces the challenge of incorporating new hardware ahead of major changes in the market such as the NBN.
Rachel Bondi, chief operating officer of Microsoft Australia, says the Telstra Calling for Office 365 product is a good example of the robust partnership that Microsoft and Telstra have fostered over a couple of years. Bondi also explained that the unification of the Microsoft-Telstra collaboration experience will provide customers with the convenience of having voice and phone services, project management, and messaging apps under a single user experience – Office 365.
In March 2018, Microsoft made an announcement regarding the performance of its key enterprise collaboration tool – Microsoft Teams. According to Microsoft data, since its launch in late 2016, the software has gained around 200,000 organisations as users. Although Teams faces constant competition from Slack, which also allows users to make voice and video calls, the deal with Telstra signifies that Microsoft has the upper hand when it comes to adding traditional phone calls to the Office 365 suite.
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