It’s been well over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, and it is now quite evident that remote working is here for the long term. In this unprecedented environment, it is technology that has emerged as a crucial enabler to maintain seamless communication, at work and otherwise.
Communication platforms of today are ensuring that there is no disruption in any work-related activity, where the needs go beyond just voice extending to video, creating worksheets, sharing documents and so on. This has spawned innovations of its own with collaboration being the key.
Microsoft Teams, a leading communication platform for workplaces, businesses and even schools, has been actively partnering with independent software vendors (ISVs) to build new innovative apps to address numerous challenges, as well bring people together despite the distance.
ISVs are a critical element for any technology company to enhance and expand the scope of its product, as the former brings a host of new innovative applications .
“When ISVs build on top of our technology, the flywheel of innovation begins gaining momentum,” says Geeta Gurnani, country head, Modern Work, Microsoft India.
This has become the driving force today as Microsoft Teams has witnessed very rapid growth ever since the start of the pandemic.
In the pre-pandemic era, back in November 2019, Microsoft Teams had about 20 million daily active users (DAUs). This is the count of unique users performing an intentional action in a 24-hour period in any of the Teams clients — desktop, mobile, or web. Intentional actions include sending or replying to a chat, joining a meeting, or opening a file in Teams. Passive actions like auto boot, minimising a screen, or closing the app are not counted. Fast forward to October 2020, and this number has reached 115 million DAUs as reported by the company.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in April 2020 said, “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months. From remote teamwork and learning, to sales and customer service, to critical cloud infrastructure and security—we are working alongside customers every day to help them adapt and stay open for business in a world of remote everything.”
In the face of such explosive growth, it is not possible for a single enterprise to deliver all the innovations, and this is why ISVs play a key role here.
“The beauty and strength of Microsoft Teams is that it’s designed as a surface where partners can interweave capabilities to create innovative, productivity-enhancing solutions,” says Geeta.
She further adds that users utilising third-party apps and custom-built solutions in Teams every month grew over seven times year-on-year.
Role of Indian ISVs
In India, Microsoft Teams has diverse set of partners who are building world-class solutions on top of the platform to offer differentiated solutions for customers across the world.
Geeta remarks that ISVs come in all sizes, whether it is student startups or established IT solution-providers, but are united in a common goal to drive digital transformation through innovative tech solutions.
For example, the startup Skillate has developed an AI-based recruitment platform that is integrated with Microsoft Teams that makes hiring easy, fast, and transparent.
There are also other examples of ISVs, such as Empuls, which helps improve employee efficiency and engagement by ensuring continuous feedback and performance rewards. LambdaTest, with its Microsoft Teams integration, allows for developers to work as a team and solve issues faster by letting them initiate quick real time tests at the click of a button from right inside a conversation.
“With the broadest canvas to build upon—from bots, messaging extensions, cards, and apps across chat and meetings to name a few—partners have created amazing solutions that reach people where they are, and fit the needs of customers in this digital, post-pandemic business environment,” says Geeta.
Globally, more than 800 Teams apps have been published by independent software vendors (ISVs) across the world.
This is also the need of the hour as Microsoft Teams in India saw organisations of varying sizes and scale, from different industries, adopting Teams to maintain business continuity and keep their workforce engaged and productive.
These included companies such as Mahindra, Pidlite, as well as healthcare service providers like Fortis and Healthcare, who are leveraging Microsoft Teams. Besides, others like Aakash Institute, Amity Education Group and the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme have onboarded themselves on Teams platform.
“Microsoft Teams isn’t just a calling or meeting platform – it is a one-stop secure unified workspace for communication and collaboration,” says Geeta.
She also says that organisations saw higher efficiencies with reduction in costs as well as faster time to decision.
In such a dynamic environment, ISVs also stand to gain as Microsoft also helps them ‘go-to-market’, and sell their solutions efficiently. They also have the opportunity to reach millions of cloud customers with Microsoft’s commercial marketplace for organisations to find, try, buy, and deploy the app or service.
“ISVs are responsible for a large majority of software applications built on third-party platforms, and are among the biggest catalysts for growth in cloud adoption,” says Geeta.
As part of its future roadmap, Microsoft will integrate further with ISVs by providing them training, support and go-to-market services to successfully scale their businesses.
“Today, ISVs are looking for hyperscale, are eager to acquire, and actively engage with more users at a faster pace. Integration with Microsoft Teams provides a platform for them to catapult discoverability to 115 million users who are actively using Teams daily,” says Geeta.
These measures also help the ISVs in India to reach out to the global customer base of Microsoft, and help them differentiate themselves on the Azure marketplace and Teams app store.
“We are proud to have such a strong and thriving ecosystem of partners who are continuously pushing the bounds of innovation with the solutions they’ve built on Microsoft Teams,” says Geeta.