What’s the best approach to a B2B app store? Take operator enhancements directly to enterprise app portals – like the Gintel Cloud PBX integration with Teams
Many operators now offer integrations with enterprise software applications – such as Gintel’s Cloud PBX for Teams solution – but these must be discoverable from inside the software application portals, not just from the operator’s web offers.
Embedded enterprise application store or operator web delivery models?
Many enterprise software applications support thriving ecosystems of partner applications, with off-the-shelf or simple integration options. These can often be discovered through the client interface – selecting, for example, the ‘apps’ icon in Teams takes users to an environment in which they can search for applications that offer native integration with Teams, adding value to their business.
Such embedded application stores can be contrasted with operator portals, that bring together different services and offers. For a long time, many operators have sought to provide their own portals and guide B2B customers to their own curated set of applications and services. While this makes sense from the perspective of enabling easy subscription to such services, it also creates a gap between the tools on offer from the operator and others that are used by B2B customers.
It does not, however, make sense from the perspective that B2B customers may be more likely to discover complementary capabilities from inside the tools they most commonly use – that is, their enterprise business applications. They may be unaware of the resources available to them from their service providers and so everyone loses out, because complementary capabilities go unnoticed.
Convergence is essential to maximise your audience
However, convergence is definitely coming, as we are seeing across our customer base. To return to Teams, we’ve created a version of the Cloud PBX that can be delivered as an app in the Teams ecosystem portal – it essentially brings everything a standard EBCS user obtains in the classic web portals and mobile app, but also brings it into the same working environment as Teams.
As a result, a user of the Cloud PBX service can fully unify their experience across both environments. We’ll be exploring this in much more detail as we roll out the feature, but there are many advantages – not only does it handle the expected Teams Direct Routing, it also adds a host of new features, such as:
- Common numbers and identity
- Common, unified status and reachability
- Device backup
- Cost management / Free on-net packages
- Fixed consolidation and elimination
- Corporate dialling and answer groups
- Call transfer
- Multi-party collaboration
While these features can be promoted through an operator’s own website, where better to highlight them than inside the application they are designed to enhance? In one of our first deployments of this solution, the features are available as an extension to the existing subscription – so, it’s easy to deliver to current subscribers, bringing something novel to your user base.
This approach also enables operator-specific extensions and features to be brought to a wider audience, so that potential customers can also see the capabilities on offer – which could lead to more choosing to adopt the core service offer.
This convergence is now essential. The operator B2B world has, for too long, been seen as separate from the rest of the enterprise software domain – but interoperability between applications and complementary functionality is now commonplace.
So, it makes sense to ensure that the widest possible audience is aware of these capabilities – and that means that operators must embrace enterprise app stores, using the specific adaptations they wish to support to penetrate the appropriate ecosystem, rather than relying on customers to discover these through portals that they may visit only from time to time.