Rob Quickenden, CTO, Cisilion
Well, all that is about to change when it comes to workplace collaboration. Microsoft might dominate with Microsoft 365 and Teams, but there are still many companies that have huge investments in other meeting platform technology like Cisco Webex and Zoom. For years Cisco dominated enterprise video, but since the pandemic, organisations have shifted to Teams in the millions and feel trapped with hardware which won’t work natively with Microsoft Teams, thereby limiting their collaboration strategy decisions.
Many organisations use Cisco collaboration for their contact centres – technology which works seamlessly with Cisco Webex but again – not with Teams. This again hinders transformation since call centre users are unable to collaborate effectively with their customers on Teams and, worse, with other departments that have shifted to Teams. But all that is changing as Cisco and Microsoft are collaborating to offer complementary solutions across their customer base in two ways:
Cisco Meeting Room technology is now certified for use with Teams
Cisco Webex Contact centre is now certified for Teams
Why does this matter? Because customers have been asking for a more straightforward way to achieve interoperability between Cisco meeting room technology and Microsoft Teams for years.
Previously, to shift from Cisco Webex to Microsoft Teams, meant a complete hardware replacement of meeting room technology (or complex, clunky interoperability software). The latter is not a great experience for the user, and the former is not good for budget or from a sustainability perspective.
Now businesses can keep their Cisco kit and either repurpose these to run Microsoft Teams natively OR, run both Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams seamlessly together on the same hardware without interoperability apps and services. This means business can have the best of both, or the best of one. Rather than having to dump their hardware or invest in different hardware vendors, refurbish rooms, and incur expensive refit costs, they can continue to use what they have.
What’s more – regardless of whether they desire to fully move to Teams, retain Cisco Webex or use a blend of both – the fact that Cisco Webex Contact centre is now fully certified for Teams means businesses that run, or want to run, Cisco Webex Contact Centre can now achieve seamless connectivity between both platforms.
For many businesses, this gives them freedom over their choice of collaboration, voice and meeting technology without worry about integration with their Cisco Contact Centre. Teams now boasts more than 280 million users and is the fastest growing collaboration tool in the world with 20-25% growth year on year. So not being able to service customers who use Teams has been a huge headache for some businesses who had invested in Webex.
This is also important for customers that have felt unable to move to Teams due to their sunk investment in Cisco meeting room technology. By partnering with Microsoft, businesses, Cisco and Microsoft all win. Cisco retains its loyal customer base (who love the premium Cisco hardware), Microsoft gets more businesses on Teams (as the blockers are down) and businesses can choose the best experience for their users that align to their collaboration strategy.
Finally, Cisco Webex is a true enterprise class contract centre. Their certification with Microsoft Teams brings more choice to business, removes some of the blockers for Microsoft and allows Cisco to target businesses that use Microsoft Teams, and who are in the market for a new contact centre solution that is certified for Teams. With the big technology companies now collaborating on their workplace technology it’s a win, win for everyone.