8x8 Operator Connect Debuts, Extending Partner Opportunity

The cloud contact center company says it is the only Operator Connect provider with a native contact center solution built for Teams.

Moshe Beauford, Contributing Editor

April 16, 2024

3 Min Read
8x8 Operator Connect opportunity
Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock

8x8 Operator Connect for Microsoft Teams is available by invitation-only preview via the 8x8 early access program for existing customers. Michelle Paitich, global vice president of channel sales at 8x8, told Channel Futures why now is the time to adopt Operator Connect, which provides public switched telephone network (PSTN) connectivity with Microsoft Teams and Teams Phone.

"8x8 is committed to enabling external communications where our channel partners and their customers demand it, including Microsoft Teams," she said. 

Paitich further expressed that the victory of 8x8 voice for Microsoft Teams and growth with the solution-certified 8x8 Contact Center for Microsoft Teams makes adding the option for Operator Connect a "logical next step to further 8x8’s investments into the Microsoft Teams ecosystem and partnership."

What Does 8x8 Operator Connect Mean for 8x8's Channel?

Paitich said that 8x8 Operator Connect will further enable the contact center and cloud communication company's channel partners "to deliver enhanced value to their customers by providing a broader range of communications and customer engagement solutions for Teams that meet the needs of each persona in an organization."

8x8 is one of many vendors in the space integrating with Microsoft Teams, especially from an Operator Connect standpoint, as the trend of doing so appears hot right now.

Related:8x8 Updating Partner Program to Keep Up with Changes

There are others, including Ribbon Communications, Pure IP, NTT, Call Tower, Fusion Connect, G12 Communications, SIPPIO and more.

What might very well set 8x8 apart from its competition is that there are very few unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) providers offering Operator Connect for Microsoft Teams that also extend a Teams-certified native contact center solution. 

8x8 Operator Connect will be a "significant differentiator" for 8x8 channel partners, Paitich said.

She added that leveraging 8x8 Operator Connect will reduce costs through greater efficiency and aid in navigating Microsoft's notoriously intricate licensing structure. 

8x8's Michelle Paitich

"This ensures that organizations can mix and match license types based on persona needs, reducing the complexity of vendors and services required to enable complete external communications through Microsoft Teams," Paitich told us. 

A Partner Pitch From 8x8 

For partners who remain skeptical about jumping aboard the Microsoft Operator Connect bandwagon, Paitich said they shouldn't be.

"As the only Operator Connect provider to also deliver a Teams-certified native contact center solution, providing partners with a complete portfolio of Teams integrations, partners can deliver streamlined, simple deployments with a global reach," she said.

Paitich said this experience includes the ability to mix and match license types based on business and employee needs, all from a single provider, calling that another channel partner benefit. 

Paitich, too, voiced that partner incentives play a part in what 8x8 is endeavoring to execute.

"In addition to spiffs and residuals for our agents and discounts for our resellers, our Elevate [partner program] partners have access to no-cost training, enablement and certification opportunities for the new 8x8 Operator Connect solution."

80 Million Reasons to Come Aboard?

With more than 80 million monthly active users in over 180 countries leveraging Microsoft Teams Phone, therein lies a possibly lucrative opportunity for partners looking to dip their toes into the Operator Connect pool.

Microsoft has been aggressively targeting new Operator Connect-certified partners since 2022, when it launched its Operator Connect accelerator program, with the channel as a prime route to market.

That was on full display during Microsoft's recent quarterly earnings call when the company announced revenue in its productivity and business processes unit reached $19.2 billion, an increase of 13% from the previous quarter.

About the Author(s)

Moshe Beauford

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Moshe has nearly a decade of expertise reporting on enterprise technology. Within that world, he covers breaking news, artificial intelligence, contact center, unified communications, collaboration, cloud adoption (digital transformation), user/customer experience, hardware/software, etc.

As a contributing editor at Channel Futures, Moshe covers unified communications/collaboration from a channel angle. He formerly served as senior editor at GetVoIP News and as a tech reporter at UC/CX Today.

Moshe also has contributed to Unleash, Workspace-Connect, Paste Magazine, Claims Magazine, Property Casualty 360, the Independent, Gizmodo UK, and ‘CBD Intel.’ In addition to reporting, he spends time DJing electronic music and playing the violin. He resides in Mexico.

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