With a reported 280 million monthly active users of Microsoft Teams, it is no surprise that there are multiple sessions at Enterprise Connect 2023 focusing on using Microsoft Teams to deliver increased business value for your organization.
Enterprise Connect is a perfect place to learn more about Microsoft Teams in the context of connected and competing solutions. I'm presenting three Teams-focused sessions and I wanted to also recommend other sessions that will maximize your Enterprise Connect takeaways if you're Teams-focused.
Monday, March 27, 2023
8 a.m. - How to Build Your Contact Center on Microsoft Teams
Start off Enterprise Connect right with this first session discussing the opportunities, options, and challenges to building your contact center using Microsoft Teams as the foundation.
During this session I will explain the differences between the connected, extended, and power models that can be used to integrate contact center functionality with Teams. I will also highlight what you should consider when evaluating the different Teams contact center solutions.
9 a.m. - Will Cellular Fixed-Mobile Convergence Finally Happen With UC/Collaboration?
This panel session, moderated by BCStrategies wireless expert Michael Finneran, includes Mahendra Sekaran, VP of Engineering for Microsoft Teams, who is expected to explain the Teams approach to FMC.
Teams Phone Mobile (previously called Operator Connect Mobile) allows a single number to be used across all Teams devices including your mobile phone. This also provides improved voice calling from your mobile device in many situations.
However, there are alternative approaches, including Cisco Webex Go.
10 a.m. - Video Interoperability: Today and Tomorrow
Video interop continues to improve, continues to be desired by customers, and continues to pose challenges.
Ilya Bukshteyn, VP of Engineering focused on Teams devices, will participate in this session along with Peter Verwayen (Vice President of Product , BlueJeans by Verizon), Espen Loberg (VP, Product Management , Webex by Cisco), and Jordan Owens (CTO, Americas, Pexip) to talk about how different solutions address interoperability issues.
11 a.m. - Opening General Session: Hybrid Work, AI & More: Strategic Trends and Hot Topics
Lan Ye, Corporate VP for Microsoft Teams, is among the participants in this opening session and will have an opportunity to discuss how Microsoft is focusing on strategic topics relevant to communications technology professionals.
I expect ChatGPT and Bard to play a starring role.
3 p.m. – 7 p.m. The Expo Hall
This year, Microsoft, as a titanium-level sponsor, will have a huge presence with a large booth in the center front of the expo hall. Expect the breadth and depth of Microsoft technologies to be on display.
After exploring the Microsoft booth, make sure to traverse all the rows and aisles of the show floor as more and more vendors have integration stories related to Microsoft Teams. I especially enjoy visiting some of the smaller vendor booths, located around the periphery of the hall, as they often bring new innovative ideas to EC.
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
8 a.m. - Teams Voice: Options, Issues, and Opportunities
Grab a coffee and a light breakfast and then head to Sun A for my session focused on Microsoft Teams Voice.
In my 13th year of delivering the Microsoft communications and collaboration overview session, I am focusing on when and why it makes sense to add PSTN voice to Teams, how to do it successfully, and the varying approaches to get the job done.
I’ll look at the pros and cons of calling plans, direct routing, operator connect, and operator connect mobile (aka Teams Phone Mobile).
I’ll also explore common misconceptions, obstacles, and pitfalls; hopefully helping you and your organization plot an uneventful path to success with Teams Voice.
10 a.m. – MICROSOFT KEYNOTE
Nicole Herskowitz, Vice President, Microsoft Teams & Platform Marketing, leads the company keynote. I expect Herskowitz to highlight new Microsoft AI and ChatGPT-powered features that will be enhancing the Teams user experience.
After Herskowitz's keynote, plan to hang around to see the Cisco keynote at 10:45 am, delivered by Snorre Kjesbu, and the RingCentral keynote delivered by Mo Katibeh at 11:30 am. This highlights one of the great strengths of Enterprise Connect: the ability to compare and contrast the different philosophies and approaches between UCaaS vendors.
12 p.m. – Grab lunch then spend more time on the Expo Hall
The exhibit hall opens at noon on Tuesday. A great time to continue your exploration … as long as you emerge by 2:45 p.m. so you can head to …
3 p.m. Living in the MultiCaaS: Comparing Microsoft, Cisco, Zoom, and RingCentral Solutions
While this mega session I am co-hosting with the incomparable Brent Kelly is not focused solely on Teams, I would encourage any organization who is considering Teams or has already adopted Teams to attend.
Microsoft Teams has seen explosive adoption, but it is not the only game in town. Brent and I have spent months preparing for this session so that we can help you understand the important and material differences between Cisco Webex, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and RingCentral (all strong solutions, and all rated in the Leaders quadrant of the Gartner Magic Quadrant).
If you haven’t determined the best UCaaS solution for your organization, this session will help you understand specific attributes that may make one solution a better fit.
If you have already selected a UCaaS solution, this session will likely provide deeper insights into the capabilities of your selected platform.
As a vendor, consultant, analyst, or industry follower, this 90-minute session is packed with information, insights, details, and some fun.
Brent and I are looking forward to seeing you.
5 p.m. – Booth Crawl – Expo Hall
After the informative “Living in the MultiCaaS” session, you can head back to exhibition hall enjoy a beer and some bites and impress others with your new Microsoft Teams knowledge! (Booth crawl ends at 6 p.m.)
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Day Three for those who are counting. While not directly involving Microsoft Teams, you can meet up at 6 a.m. to join a fun 5K run or stretch and breathe during a 6a.m. yoga session outside on the Coquina Lawn.
8 a.m. - How Reliable is Your Cloud Solution?
Mahendra Sekaran, Vice President of Engineering, Microsoft Teams,, Microsoft will join Ankush Gangwani (General Manager and VP of Product, Bandwidth), Amir Hameed (SVP, WW Solutions Sales & Engineering, RingCentral), Doug Knight (Senior Director, Product Management – Voice and Unified Communications, Spectrum Enterprise) and Sanjay Srinivasan, PhD (SVP & Chief Technology Architect, Vonage) for a discussion on UCaaS and CCaaS reliability and redundancy, facilitated by BCStrategies Expert Steve Leaden.
1 p.m. - Unlock the Power of Microsoft Teams Meeting Experience with Yealink Latest Solutions
Microsoft and Yealink will be showing off Yealink’s latest Teams-certified devices, including innovative display, white boarding, and immersive meeting solutions.
1:30 p.m. - What's new in Microsoft Teams Phone
Scott Plett and Kruthika Ponnusamy, both Program Managers at Microsoft, will provide an overview of new functionality coming to Teams Calling and Devices in 2023.
2 p.m. - The Future of the Platform and Conferencing Provider
Ilya Bukshteyn, Vice President, Microsoft Teams Calling and Devices, Microsoft, joins Graeme Geddes, Head of Zoom Phone & Zoom Rooms, Zoom, Mark Ewing, Google's Product Lead for Google Meet Rooms and Hardware and RingCentral's Solutions Engineering Leader Michael Landry to discuss the key issues platform providers must tackle to enable the next generation of conferencing services. The session will be facilitated by the conferencing expert Ira Weinstein.
3 p.m .- How Collaboration and Employee Experience Come Together
VP for Microsoft Teams Nicole Herskowitz and Vyopta VP of product and marketing Jonathan Sass and Unisys Senior Director for Global Strategy Weston Morris comprise this panel session, facilitated by Beth Schultz, to discuss how to bring collaboration insight into your organization's employee experience strategy.
Thursday, March 30, 2023
8 a.m. - From Composable to Customizable: How CPaaS Is Enabling Applications and Integrations
Another great early day session, this time including Bob Serr, VP of Azure Communication Services at Microsoft. Joined by experts from Cisco, Twilio, and Vonage, and facilitated by Zeus Kerravala, this session will seek to answer the question “Where should you focus your CPaaS/composable enterprise efforts in order to maximize the potential benefit for the business?”
11:15 am – Locknote / Wrap Up Session
Moderated by Eric Krapf, General Manager and Program Co-Chair for Enterprise Connect, this wrap up session is always fun, free-wheeling, and informative. Audience participation is encouraged and expected. While the locknote is likely to not be focused on Microsoft or Microsoft Teams, I’m certain that how to work with or around Microsoft's communications offerings will be discussed.
Enterprise Connect 2023 will be held from March 27-30 at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, FL. You can check out the attendance options here and dive into our line-up of sessions and keynotes here.