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Operator Connect combines communication and collaboration in the age of hybrid working

Rogers Business recently took part in the 2022 RIMQ symposium, the gathering of Quebec’s municipal IT leaders in Quebec, to talk about the recent five-year strategic alliance with Microsoft.

cell phone held in hand

In March 2021, Rogers began offering the Microsoft Operator Connect solution that makes it possible to integrate PBX/VoIP telephony with the powerful Microsoft Teams collaboration tool. As announced in March 2022, Rogers became the first wireless telecommunication service provider in Canada to offer Teams Phone Mobile, which simplifies collaboration and communication by providing users with a single business provided number across mobile phone, desktop, and Teams devices.

Jeremy Bourassa, Product Manager, Microsoft Teams, Operator Connect at Rogers was excited to share the benefits of the solution with seminar participants. “Operator Connect provides a comprehensive enterprise call experience to users of Microsoft 365 integrated into Teams globally, which makes it possible to maximize investment in the Microsoft platform.” 

Moving to mobility

Bourassa was enthusiastic during the demonstrations of the mobile solution at the Rogers booth. He explained that, “With Teams Phone Mobile, it adds mobility to the Teams platform seamlessly by allowing your cell phone number to be used right in the app. No more having to manage two numbers. All the enterprise services and security are handled by Teams Phone Mobile, which helps eliminates legacy infrastructure.”

He explained how his Rogers phone currently has one number on the mobile and a second number on his Teams app. But with Teams Phone Mobile, you can put everything on one number. “If I’m on my phone and my Teams app isn’t open, it still rings on my mobile. If I’m on the Teams app, I have access to all the enhanced experiences, videos, shares, etc. that are included in my phone. This system adds an unmatched level of redundancy to my wireless. And whether you’re in data mode or VoIP, it’ll work!” 

Bourassa recognizes the dramatic growth of the Microsoft Teams tool, whose active users went from 30 million in 2019 to 270 million in January 20221. Integration between the collaboration tool and telephony was inevitable. “Today, it is rare for someone to work on traditional telephone system alone,” Bourassa admitted. “People are moving from legacy platforms to a collaboration platform like Teams. With Operator Connect, from Teams, the user has a numeric keypad and can dial phone numbers and not just click on contact names.”

Simplicity and savings: the case of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

The global popularity of Teams following the explosion of teleworking simplified the adoption of Operator Connect because users were already familiar with the tool. And it’s easier for administrators because they no longer have to manage two systems. Customers can count on professional support from Rogers Business and Microsoft.

At the technical level, Bourassa explained that adding numbers requires only three simple steps. Also, the integrated solution’s cost model is based on number of users and not so much on equipment purchase, which results in savings by reducing the need for additional equipment.

Pierre-Luc Fuerte, Head of Information Technology at the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, which recently introduced Operator Connect, spoke about his experience at the 2022 RIMQ symposium.

The Chamber’s 130 employees took advantage of the company’s recent migration to cloud computing with the Microsoft 365 platform and the renewal of the agreement with its wireline provider to make major changes.

By choosing Rogers Business, the Chamber was able to “Switch from the old system to the new one in just one month, seamlessly and with no technical glitches,” said Pierre-Luc Fuerte. “With Teams, everything is concentrated in a single environment.” 

A strong alliance and a long-term vision

Also at the RIMQ symposium, Jean-Steve Shaker, Technology Architect and Director of the Microsoft Technology Centre in Montreal, stressed the importance of the strategic alliance between Microsoft and Rogers Business.

As he explains, the partnership between the two giants is not new: “For about 10 years, Rogers has been one of our partners on the telecommunications side and one of the first to use the Microsoft 365 platform. They were already enjoying a ’user’ experience with nearly 26,000 employees on Microsoft 365, rather than a platform ’integrator’ experience.” To achieve Gold Partner status at Microsoft, Rogers demonstrated its superior expertise in number and quality of installations at customer locations thanks to its team of certified Microsoft technology experts.

Therefore, the recent alliance between Microsoft and Rogers for Operator Connect and Teams Phone Mobile is part of a long-term relationship that Rogers’ current and future customers will be able to keep benefiting from for years to come.