Becoming the world’s best voice integration: The Call2Teams story
Almost every great service, solution, and product that’s worth its salt has been built on the back of something that came before. Be it through experience, breaking traditions or spinning off from an existing concept, one way or another everything undoubtedly has a story. Recently crowned as the Best Microsoft Partner and Best Use of Telephony and Unified Communications, this is the story behind the success of Call2Teams and just how it was pieced together.
How Call2Teams started
What makes Call2Teams unique goes back far beyond initial development, in fact the building blocks can be traced as far back as 1997 with a simple concept that would go on to have massive impacts on the way our business operates today.
The first piece of the puzzle: As a Service before its time
During the early days of the internet, as email was cementing its place as the preferred method of communication, Mark Herbert, co-founder of Call2Teams, developed an appliance that simplified early email infrastructure. It made it so that office workers no longer had to share the same terminal to send and receive emails, but as popular as the system was, it was the strategy to charge customers on a per-user, per-month basis that ultimately inspired the structure of Call2Teams over a decade and a half before it went to market.
The second puzzle piece: Our relationship with Microsoft & the foresight to adjust
We have always had extremely firm ties with Microsoft, long before Dstny For Service Providers was formed. In their previous roles, Mark alongside fellow Call2Teams co-founder Richard Carver, were the first in the UK and amongst the first globally to secure a Microsoft syndication agreement for distributing Office 365.
It was in these previous roles, as our journey towards cloud-based marketplaces began, that several guiding principles were formed that still influence the way we work to this day:
People want solutions that are both easy to use and ‘easy to buy’
You have to be creative, be ready to disrupt and be ready to challenge
A business succeeds when it bites off more than it can chew and is not afraid to fail and grow
Keep it simple
Puzzle piece number three: Realizing the need
The first true glimpse of what we now know as Call2Teams was seen when Mark joined forces with Richard to found what became Qunifi and build their own telephony platform. As they got businesses calling, they were also constantly learning about the issues that were being faced by their customers. One of the patterns they saw came in the form of some pure and simple truths – The telephony platform market was becoming increasingly difficult to get a foothold in, people absolutely hate to change their phone systems and porting numbers was often a logistical nightmare. It was on the back of these facts the pivot towards an integration model occurred and Call2Teams began to formulate.
Integrating to innovate
Fast forward to 2017. With the addition of Martin Falkus, Mark and Richard made their start on bridging the gap between telephony and IT. It didn’t take long for their integration to become more dominant than the traditional telephony solution that it was tied to, as being able to plug into Unified Communications was their main USP. And rightly so, as it would go on to allow companies to use their existing telephony structures to move from on-premises to the cloud without changing a single piece of hardware.
The growth of Call2Teams
Call2Teams was originally Call2Skype with a focus on Skype for Business, but as the world witnessed Microsoft begin to change the modern voice market, the team saw a way to deploy its 20+ years of experience and relationships and repositioned as Call2Teams. As part of this effort we were not only one of the first five companies in history to sell cloud services through Microsoft, we even helped to develop the actual marketplace itself.
Puzzle piece number four: Building features and a team that matched our ambitions
As Call2Teams grew, so did the team surrounding it. With the critical addition of CEO Jeannie Arthur and a growing team of developers, the ball was well and truly rolling and both foresight and futureproofing were at the top of everyone’s minds. This materialized in the form of two crucial early additions to the Call2Teams product that were pivotal to its longevity and success – deep branding and the ability to easily sync. These two additions proved invaluable when the popularity of Call2Teams exploded upwards, we were immediately ready to scale. Businesses could not only be kept fully separated on the back-end, it was also incredibly simple to sync massive amounts of users. Both employee experience and customer experience were second to none.
Being market ready
Call2Teams became officially market-ready at the start of 2020, and even though our telephony platform was still in our product portfolio, it was almost completely overshadowed by our now award-winning standalone voice integration. But the platform itself was only half of what Call2Teams had to offer. Fully leaning into the guiding principles set years before, the transactional back-end of our solution was both easy to buy and easy to sell, thanks to simple and powerful billing, pricing, tariffs and management.
The go-to-market strategy was a bold one – Teams enable every UC platform in the world. This was accomplished through a channel-only approach by chasing the biggest names in the business, sure in the fact that once they tried Call2Teams there would be no going back.
Thanks to our channel partners and an efficient feedback loop, Call2Teams at launch was fully robust and already changing the worlds of telephony and IT, but then the wider world changed itself in a way nobody could have expected. The pandemic made it so that almost overnight businesses across the globe needed cloud-based calling that was compliant and secure regardless of working conditions. Not only this but because of the time sensitivity this all needed to happen on pre-existing infrastructure – a seemingly impossible ask if it were not for everyone’s favourite piece of middleware.
The slow but steady gravitation of IT and Telecoms had turned into a rapid collision that both industries are still building upon today. Because it had been built to be scalable, deployable and agnostic, Call2Teams immediately solved what would have otherwise been a major crisis for companies across the globe. When the pandemic was at its height there were already measures in place that let our partners easily scale at will. We already had some of the biggest players on board, so when our phones started ringing, we were able to rise to the occasion and make sure businesses’ phones kept ringing as well, right off the bat.
Where Call2Teams is today
A lot has happened in the few short years since the launch of Call2Teams. Microsoft Teams has accelerated towards having an active user base which is just shy of being the same size as the entire population of the United States and the great cloud migration is well underway. As we look back on our journey, it’s sometimes hard to believe just how much Call2Teams has grown, adapted, influenced and improved by building on the puzzle pieces that have been put in place over the past 30 years.
As for where we are now, we work with nearly all of the leaders in Gartner’s UCaaS Magic Quadrant as well as hundreds of other Providers, Resellers and Distributors worldwide. We are now a part of the Dstny family and our latest release of Call2Teams Go is already making waves, alongside an ecosystem of products that we hope will one day be just as popular.