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Microsoft’s On Fire – My thoughts from Microsoft Ignite 2020

October 21, 2020 / Scott Kinka

Every year, about this time, the major tech companies have their launch events, and junior pundits and Wall Street market makers the Internet over have a field day analyzing (and scrutinizing) the announcements.   As usual, Apple produced a beautiful and heartfelt piece of art that somehow felt bigger than the actual announcements they made (no iPhone?).   Google’s Launch Night In shared more tech in 30 minutes than Apple did in an hour but somehow still felt like the B side to your favorite album.  Microsoft’s Surface Event?  Underwhelming by comparison.

That said, it was Microsoft’s sprawling 48-hour online tech conference, Ignite, that really fired up our imaginations (pun game on!).

Not surprisingly, Ignite was followed by the same questions we get every year (well, every 6 months when you add Microsoft Inspire to the junior analyst calendar). What does this mean to the market, and specifically what does it mean for Evolve IP? While I won’t cover 48 hours worth of announcements in a blog post, I will hit on 3 storylines affecting our customers and partners.

Microsoft TEAMS – the Zoom Killer?

The fortunes of Zoom and Microsoft Teams have been well documented throughout Coronavirus.  Both brands became verbs in March and April –  Zoom due to its superior meetings experience (meeting size and creative backgrounds most significant) and Microsoft Teams, due to its Workstream Collaboration features and deep integration into the Office 365 accounts that customers already had.  Since then, Microsoft has been feverishly working to close the meetings gap and, in many ways, they already have.

I have been quite vocal in my opinion that Microsoft would eventually win the meetings war, because they won the spreadsheet war in the 90s and the email/productivity war in the 2000s, and so on.   Frankly, no one company has the opportunity to make the meetings experience feel so “connected” to the rest of your work.

Ignite marks the tipping point in the meetings war.  Microsoft had already addressed its meeting size limitations with its large gallery and together mode and added a superior background feature which, in my opinion, has less artifact and ghosting around the speaker than other solutions.  But at Ignite they closed a big remaining gap with breakout rooms and lit our imaginations on fire with the custom layouts and additional together modes.   Yes – you can present in front of your PowerPoint like a newscast.  And they are adding the event registration capabilities that have kept Cisco Webex a favorite for Webinars.   In an era where Apple fanboys (guilty) wait for a slickly produced annual launch to show off a few new IOS features that feel like incrementalism, Microsoft has never moved faster.

Microsoft Teams Phone System – Your Next Phone System is the Collaboration Tool You Used During Coronavirus

The most remarkable announcements about Teams Phone System is that there just weren’t that many.   They are changing the calling screen with some much-needed optimization.   In addition, they are adding some new collaborative calling features that enable multiple Teams users to collaborate on external calls, not just internal voice and chats.

The largest feature of note here is upcoming support for SIP phones.  Details are still emerging but the simple idea is that businesses can use their legacy investments in SIP devices on the Microsoft Teams platform – a feature that we have supported in our Teams Enterprise Voice Product for some time (with the added benefit of DR and a host of traditional phone features).

Add the fact that there were basically no announcements about expanding call groups and queues, and it’s easy to see that Microsoft is letting the eco-system (partners, service providers, developers) do the dirty work of engaging in customer’s unique requirements while they focus on mass-market features against Zoom, Cisco, Slack, and others.

Recent announcements by UCaaS platforms 8×8 and Ring Central that they are jumping into the Direct Routing game to fully integrate with Microsoft Teams – despite their well-documented investments in their own meetings solutions, and lack of history with Microsoft – are further evidence of this trend.

Deploying Microsoft Teams with Phone Systems

This overview dives into the major considerations you’ll want to think through, as well as provides advice on implementing Microsoft Teams Direct Routing independently or with a 3rd party enterprise voice provider like Evolve IP.

Azure Communication Services – Getting Under the Hood

ACS understandably got the most buzz of the event.   And I immediately started fielding questions about what this means for Teams SaaS providers like Evolve IP.  Microsoft describes ACS as “a cloud-based communications service that lets you add voice, video, chat, and telephony to your apps.”  ACS opens up Teams further to the development community.  ACS is not competing with UCaaS providers, it’s an entry into the CPaaS market (think Twilio and Nexmo).  The fact that it’s marketed under the Azure brand and not the M365 brand demonstrates that this is a developer and tech-focused offering, not a mass-market subscription product.

ACS continues the trend of previous announcements from Inspire when Microsoft opened up presence and recording options to allow deeper third-party integrations for more complex contact center and speech analytics offerings.  ACS will allow software developers and cloud service providers like Evolve IP to build more tightly coupled IVR and SMS applications for our Teams’ customers.   It will enable the further creation of an eco-system around the Teams core that addresses the requirements of larger businesses in specific industries.   In short, Microsoft is empowering the community to fill the Teams edge cases.

For further evidence look no further than Microsoft’s announcement that the Power Platform can be used to build applications directly into the Meetings experience (not just the Teams client) enabling new work streams that we haven’t even thought of yet.

The Future is Team Collaboration

Do you Teams?  Yeah – most businesses today do.   And while Microsoft continues to push the envelope in Productivity, Collaboration, and Meetings (features that everyone can use), their announcements at Ignite (and previously at Inspire) show that they are looking to their ecosystem partners to build around the platform to service customer’s specific needs.    As a 12-year partner of Microsoft, Tier 1 Cloud Service Provider with them, and a SaaS developer in the Teams ecosystem, we’re happy to fill that role and we couldn’t be more excited about what’s next.

Evolve IP Delivers the World’s Most Advanced Teams with Integrated Voice Communications Solution (seriously, we do!)

This might sound like hyperbole but hear me out. Sure, there are several providers that enable Teams direct routing. Some use bots. Some (like us) do so at the platform level. BUT how many of them also deliver:

  • Cisco enterprise voice (the world’s #1 VoIP solution)
  • A fully-integrated, Gartner Magic Quadrant noted Omnichannel call center
  • AI-driven speech analytics with HIPAA/ HITRUST, GDPR, PCI compliant call recording
  • Integrated business messaging (SMS <> Texting) from your employees DID
  • And, there’s much more…

If you’re interested in learning about our Teams with Cisco voice solution please fill out our contact form or just start a chat here on the site. We’re looking forward to speaking with you!

Categories: Business Collaboration
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Compliance is a way to do business … not an afterthought when clients need it.

At Evolve IP we have a dedicated compliance and security practice and work with two of the world’s top 3rd-party compliance auditors, Grant Thornton and Ernst & Young, to enable customers to extend their compliance to our fully audited cloud. This focus allows us to deliver the documentation and assurances that other’s simply cannot including HIPAA / HITRUST, PCI-DSS (all 12 sections), SOC 2/3 and more. The Compliance CloudTM includes true client isolation, encryption in transit and at rest, private VLANs, firewalls and dozens of other security measures.

What Our Clients Say
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What the Experts Think

Our analyst-acclaimed solutions are built on a world-class, compliant architecture that leverages the blue-chip technologies organizations already know and trust.


We deploy best-of-breed solutions including: Disaster Recovery, Contact Center, Unified Communications, DaaS, IaaS. Our services are analyst-acclaimed, vendor-validated, client recommended and award-winning.


Evolve IP is proud to have achieved the honor of being HITRUST CSF certified! Certification to the HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) affirms that all of Evolve IP’s cloud computing and cloud communications services adhere to the strictest security standards for electronic protected health information (PHI). The HITRUST security standard was developed by and for the healthcare industry as a means of going above and beyond the compliance requirements of HIPAA.

The HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) was developed to address the multitude of security, privacy and regulatory challenges facing healthcare organizations. The HITRUST CSF was developed by healthcare and IT professionals to provide an efficient and prescriptive framework for managing the security requirements inherent in HIPAA. HITRUST CSF rationalizes healthcare-relevant regulations and standards into a single overarching security framework. An important part of the “What is HITRUST” answer is understanding that the CSF is risk-based and compliance-based so that organizations can tailor the security control baselines and vendor management programs that they follow based on their specific organization type, size, systems, and regulatory requirements.


The Privacy regulations of the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) require health care providers, organizations, and their business associates, develop and follow procedures that ensure the confidentiality and security of protected health information (PHI) when it is transferred, received, handled, or shared. This applies to all forms of PHI — paper, oral, and electronic, etc. Those who fail to adhere to HIPAA can suffer from huge fines climbing into the millions of dollars for major violations.

The Compliance Cloud™ fully enables covered entities and their business associates subject to HIPAA regulations to leverage a secure environment to process, maintain, and store protected health Information (PHI) featuring among other controls.

SSAW 16 Service Organization Control II (SOC 2)

Evolve IP has received an SSAE 16 SOC 2 Type II report on our internal controls relating to how we assess and address the potential risks associated with the security, availability, and confidentiality of not only the cloud-based services that we provide, but also our physical and logical infrastructure. Evolve IP utilizes the Certified Public Accounting firm of Grant Thornton to perform its annual audit and attestation in accordance with the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 16 and the associated Trust Services Principles, as published by the AICPA, to evaluate the effectiveness of Evolve IP’s service organizations controls.


While Forbes regularly features coverage and recognition about Evolve IP, they've most recently recognized Evolve IP as being the "Best Cloud Computing Companies And CEOs To Work For In 2017".  They've ranked Evolve IP in the Top 3 just behind Google and Microsoft in the Cloud Infrastructure classification.  (Feb 2017). Forbes  also recently recognizes Evolve IP for bringing Singer Equipment Corporation, a mainstream business based in PA, into the cloud by means of unified communication. (Sept  2017). Last year, Forbes recognized Evolve IP's survey of 1,080 executives citing that the number one reason to go to the cloud is the same reason that it is avoided. (Mar 2016).

Unified Communications Product of the Year

TMC and Internet Telephony Magazine have named Evolve IP’s unified communications platform as a 2017 Unified Communications Product of the Year Award winner. This marks the 6th time Evolve IP has been honored with this prestigious award and follows a series of product innovations that have allowed the company to rapidly expand its international coverage.

Evolve IP’s business collaboration tools and IP phone system dramatically improve employee productivity in the office and on the road with a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platform that fully integrates voice, video, instant messaging & presence (IM&P), desktop sharing, audio/web conferencing and more. The company also provides a sophisticated Web-based management portal, OSSmosis®, that allows administrators to easily configure system functions and quickly modify users without the need to reach out to a third party for changes.


Inc. magazine has recognized Evolve IP in the 34th annual Inc. 500|5000, an exclusive listing of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. The list will be unveiled in the September issue of Inc.

The story of this year's Inc. 5000 is the story of great leadership. In an incredibly competitive business landscape, it takes something extraordinary to take your company to the top," says Inc. President and Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg. "You have to remember that the average company on the Inc. 5000 grew nearly six-fold since 2012. Business owners don't achieve that kind of success by accident.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

Evolve IP has achieved Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) compliance covering all 12 sections of the PCI DSS. The PCI data security standard is a comprehensive set of standards that require merchants and service providers that store, process, or transmit customer payment card data to adhere to strict information security controls and processes. It was created by the founding brands of the PCI Security Standards Council, which includes American Express, Discover Financial, JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide, and Visa Inc.


Evolve IP is also a registered and participating member of the CSA Security, Trust & Assurance Registry (STAR). The CSA was formed to encourage transparency of security practices within cloud providers. It is a free, publicly accessible registry that documents the security controls provided by various cloud computing offerings, thereby helping users assess the security of cloud providers they currently use or are considering contracting with. CSA STAR is open to all cloud providers, and allows them to submit assessment reports that document compliance to CSA published best practices. The searchable registry will allow potential cloud customers to review the security practices of providers, accelerating their due diligence and leading to higher quality procurement experiences. CSA STAR represents a major leap forward in industry transparency, encouraging providers to make security capabilities a market differentiator.

Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500TM

Evolve IP has been ranked for the second consecutive year on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies in North America – both public and private. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2012 to 2015. The list is a veritable Who’s Who of technology that has included tech companies like Google, VMware and Facebook.

Technology Fast 500 provides a ranking of the fastest growing technology, life sciences, and energy the companies – both public and private – in North America. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth during the period from 2012 – 2016.

Red Herring

Red Herring has named Evolve IP as one of the Top 100 Companies in North America.  Red Herring’s Top 100 recognizes the leading and most promising private companies from around the world. Among the over 20 criteria used to analyze companies for the award, Evolve IP was noted for its financial performance, technological innovation, customer footprint, the DNA of its founders and addressable market.

Red Herring selects the award winners for North America from approximately 1,200 privately financed companies each year in the US and Canada. Since 1996, Red Herring has kept tabs on these organizations and its editors were among the first to recognize that companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Skype,, YouTube, Palo Alto Networks and eBay would change the way we live and work.


Evolve IP has been recognized as one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” in Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur360™ Performance Index, a study involving a comprehensive analysis of private companies in America. Based on this study forged by Entrepreneur, Evolve IP is recognized as a company that exemplifies growth, not just in top and bottom line, but in sustainability and the ability to achieve lasting success.

According to Entrepreneur, after evaluating approximately 10,000 U.S. based firms, the team of editors and researchers behind the E360 Performance Index collected more than 250 pieces of data from the finalists, focusing on growth drivers and challenges, goal setting, resource allocations, and reward systems. The analysis uncovered a class of leading companies, including Evolve IP, whose continued success is largely based on superior value creation for their customers, building an adaptive learning culture, and aggressive geographic expansion—placing them amongst the most dynamic firms in America today.

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Evolve IP Named To The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Contact Center as a Service
November 16, 2020 / Evolve IP
Evolve IP today announced that Gartner has named it to the Magic Quadrant for Contact Center as a Service*. Evolve IP’s omnichannel offering, which runs 30-40% less than comparable...
Evolve IP Appoints Pete Stevenson as CEO and Randal Thompson as CRO to Drive Next Phase of Growth
October 16, 2020 / Evolve IP
Evolve IP, a leading global provider of Work Anywhere™ solutions, today announced that the Company’s Board of Directors has unanimously appointed board member Pete Stevenson as Chief Executive Officer....
Evolve IP Enhances Its Microsoft Teams and Cisco Voice Direct Routing Platform
September 22, 2020 / Evolve IP
Evolve IP announced that it has integrated SMS business messaging and voice recording with AI speech analytics into its Microsoft Teams direct routing platform.
Evolve IP Integrates Business Messaging Into Microsoft Teams; Enhances Microsoft’s Direct Routing Solution
September 17, 2020 / Evolve IP
Evolve IP® announced that it has launched a fully-integrated SMS / business messaging platform for its Microsoft Teams Direct Routing solution.
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