Reseller News

Spark Enhanced Teams launches with Kiwi business market focus

New offering billed as premium full-service product

Spark has unveiled a new business collaboration solution in the form of Spark Enhanced Teams (SET), leveraging the Microsoft Teams product suite in New Zealand.

Alongside Microsoft, the premium full-service product also has the backing of industry specialists in the form of Ingram Micro, Polycom, Plantronics, Ribbon and Kollective.

Purchased individually or as a package, the solutions span calling, meetings, devices and events within the Microsoft Teams portfolio, targeting enterprise customers across the country.

According to Peter Vincent - tribe lead for voice and collaboration at Spark - the telecommunications giant has specifically positioned the offering as a “premium full-service product” in the local market.

“Teams is enjoying unprecedented success locally and globally, and with Spark’s enhancements for calling, meetings, devices and events, it provides the complete communications and collaboration solution for enterprise companies, small organisations and everyone in between,” Vincent said.

“Spark’s holistic approach to enhancing Teams’ collaboration capability is unique in the market. And this is all delivered and supported by Spark with the largest team of experts in New Zealand.”

The offering also includes no upfront infrastructure costs, Spark Voice Connect SIP with bundled calling, consumption-based pricing, OPEX pricing for hardware with lifecycle management and large-scale Teams Events.

Vincent said this is all delivered with “carrier-grade quality” and backed by Spark’s 24x 7 operations support.

“We’re at the start of an ‘Intelligent Communications’ revolution, with speech-to-text automatically created for recorded conference calls, blurred backgrounds to reduce attendee distractions, and much more to improve meeting productivity,” said Mark Walton, modern workplace business lead across Asia Pacific at Microsoft.

“Spark has built a comprehensive offering that encompasses carrier-grade voice, meeting room solutions, interactive whiteboards, large-scale meeting broadcasts and the ability to deliver these solutions for all New Zealand businesses – all backed by Spark’s experience as a leading New Zealand telecommunications provider.”

Two years after its launch, Microsoft Teams is finally outpacing team chat rival Slack in the market - largely thanks to Teams’ free availability as part of Office 365 subscriptions.

That’s according to a recent survey of 900 IT decision makers in North America and Europe conducted by Spiceworks.

The results indicate that Teams is now the second most popular business chat app and is used by 21 per cent of respondents, up from three per cent in a similar Spiceworks survey in 2016.

That ranks it ahead of third-place Slack, the popular standalone team chat tool in use by 15 per cent of businesses polled - that represents a slight increase from 13 per cent in 2016.

The most popular tool is another Microsoft app, Skype for Business. It’s used by 44 per cent of surveyed businesses, up from 36 per cent two years ago.