Recently, Vyopta’s Nick Wiik talked with Doug Green of the Telecom Reseller Podcast about the ways Vyopta has responded to the spike in remote collaboration needs during the Covid-19 pandemic. With Microsoft Teams collaboration use spiking and more users relying on Vyopta’s data and analytics, there’s a clear benefit in improved quality and monitoring of usage at enterprises of all sizes.
Doug: So this is a really interesting podcast. We’re going to be talking about something that is increasingly important to a growing number of our readers, that is optimizing Microsoft Teams collaboration with monitoring and analytics. And it has to be said, there’s never been a time when doing that has been more important, both because Teams has become more distributed than ever and Teams is now handling a larger distributed workforce than we’ve ever had. So let’s dive into that in just a second. But first, Nick, what is Vyopta?
Nick: Sure. We are a software company. We make monitoring and analytics software for collaboration systems and we help organizations around the world to improve performance, helping the quality of collaboration as well as driving business outcomes with collaboration. So being able to operate more efficiently, get the data out of their platforms and translate that into different business outcomes.
Now, as we were talking about just a second ago, an increasing number of people are using Teams and the people using Teams now have a very distributed workforce. So why do I need monitoring and analytics if I’m using Microsoft Teams?
It’s worth noting we’re having this conversation in the fall of 2020 here. And what we’ve seen from the Vyopta perspective when everything went down with Covid in March in the U.S., at least, there was this overnight acceleration of industry trends and people were considering the cloud, people were considering the likes of Microsoft Teams and Google Meet and other cloud platforms like WebEx and Zoom. But all those timelines got accelerated drastically.
The adoption went up overnight. And essentially what happens there is the business model of how organizations are getting work done completely shifted, whether it’s entirely remote, somewhat remote. Now people are getting work done over Microsoft Teams. So why now for monitoring and analytics? It really comes down to having a purpose-built solution is ultimately going to help you cut costs, support you and get more value out of this tool.
On the cutting cost side this is one thing we’ve been really excited to see. Industry analysts put out probably the best numbers and quantitative analysis of this. Having a specialty tool like Vyopta, a purpose-built tool for things like Microsoft Teams, is cutting operational costs in their math to the tune of 28 percent. That’s on a per-license basis. So you think of the costs here in the cloud-based system, know what are those incremental costs? This is everything from it’s scaling your teams to meet that demand to troubleshooting to, again, overnight there is this massive shift and being able to support these teams with native tools, it can help, but especially tools that are something like Vyopta and they can piece together multiple parts of the Microsoft ecosystem.
So you can have Cisco endpoints with Pexip interop going into an experience that is “Microsoft Teams” but those OEM tools don’t have those other perspectives where Vyopta does. And then going a bit deeper than on the performance side. We’re able to add in our algorithms, our expertise on things like video quality that are lacking from sensors as video is more pervasive.
You really need to make sure that’s there for that performance level. There’s really the cost-cutting side and helping to scale those teams. And then the upside is really organizations are now delivering their services over collaborative tools like Microsoft Teams. Making sure that the performance is there, that your employees are engaged in looking at productivity and the data coming off of these tools, like Microsoft Teams in a clean environment that’s multivendor like Vyopta is cutting costs, but also really helping the top line because collaboration is such a critical part of service delivery now.
Now, what’s life like without this tool?
Without it, it’s going to be tough on a number of different levels. I’m thinking specifically of one of the large enterprises we work with today. They implemented our Microsoft Teams monitoring analytics, and they were able to quickly disseminate this to all of their frontline level one folks to immediately help them troubleshoot, as well as the level two and three architects making decisions around that. How do we manage in this new world, how do we make systemic, you know, quality issue decisions and architectural decisions?
Because Vyopta is purpose-built, we can help with those level one folks, to deflect a lot more of those issues. And we can also provide the granularity and expertise that the architects and directors need to make big decisions. Without this, you’re really hoping and honestly, especially in mid-market or enterprise, grasping for level two to support the massive amount of issues and user questions that are coming through, because frontline IT teams really aren’t equipped to use the OEM tool.
And so without it, those core architects, directors and collab professionals are pretty swamped where with something like Vyopta, we’ve seen with all things Covid and Microsoft taking off the actual number of users logging into our platform is skyrocketing because there is more of a level-one need. And they need to really help the frontline IT folks with a purpose-built tool. And the other thing I would add to that is, again, this is a very Microsoft Teams-focused kind of point in collaboration time right now.
But the Microsoft ecosystem is not entirely Microsoft. Again, there’s interops, there’s endpoints. There’s the voice Edge and Expressway of getting out to PSPM. Being able to monitor all of that and have analytics on all that’s going to help both those decision makers in collab as well as the frontline folks helping with performance management.
Now, I understand since we last talked back in the spring you’ve had some updates too.
Yeah. Really, when the world changed in the spring our focus at Vyopta was ‘How do we help with performance management in this distributed world?’ And so there’s kind of two poles there. It’s the deep coverage of Microsoft Teams, but with the other UCaaS providers that we support, Webex, Zoom, BlueJeans, Pexip… there’s a number out there that we can go in and get additional data from an API. So things like the IP address where people are calling in from. Vyopta, adding the value add on algorithms to look up in the office on VPN and outside of the office.
So really getting more data and then doing more with that data for a remote use case, that’s been one of the big pillars throughout the summer that we’ve been pretty focused on. Then the other has been usability. While it may seem somewhat surface level to the point earlier, the number of users in our tool has really skyrocketed. We have now gone out and gotten to the frontline IT folks, so it needs to be dead simple to use. It needs to not have a massive instruction book. You need to understand how to solve problems when they come up. And so we’ve really invested heavily in making the experience clean, clear and easy for frontline folks to use, as well as getting much more data support for the youcast and remote working situations.
Could you give me a couple of examples of where companies started using Teams and then they adopted your solution and what the results were?
Sure. So across the board, we’ve been seen some really impressive upticks in terms of adoption of our platform. And then what we monitor for Microsoft Teams has obviously been picking up significantly with such a big shift to working from home. The one example that I wanted to lead off with was also a little bit deeper. Here is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies using us to monitor Microsoft Teams collaboration. They’ve been a client of ours for five-plus years. And overnight, the number of users on Vyopta skyrocketed because they needed their frontline folks to be able to support the volume of issues coming through with Microsoft Teams.
That was one good anecdote. I know across the board, and we have to revise these numbers in post-Covid here,but in general with a purpose-built tool like ours, we’ve seen, I believe it was 17 percent increase in quality for the actual quality of the tool from day one to day 365 for quality of performance, I should say. So being able to have a purpose-built tool like ours for driving adoption, but making quality much better because you’re making better decisions. You’re catching issues before they occur with our alert engine. That would be another big improvement there.
Do those improvements then translate into money saved or money earned for the company?
Yeah, I think that’s the easiest one to quantify and it’s going to be on that money saved. And that’s where the studies are really great with the specialist tools like Vyopta there’s a 28 percent drop on operating expenses. I figure that’s probably the hardest dollar there. There was a little bit of a softer path to ROI in looking at, you know, improved quality. While 17 percent improved quality may be kind of tough to put a dollar to in a second, that’s a big sales pitch or for an executive board review that you’ve avoided those critical issues of angry emails and are able to move the ball forward with the sale or partnership. That’s something that’s a little bit harder to quantify. But I do think, looking at the cost-cutting side, that’s something that’s there.
And I think there’s an argument against us too, which is, well, hey, that’s not going to save you money today. But if you look at the growth rates of your collaboration usage, and you look at the fact that IT teams really aren’t getting that much more budget, certainly not to grow headcount. This is true for MSPs as well. And that’s how they look at the bottom line. How can they scale to support more usage? Usage is going up and to the right through the roof and being able to, in the future, cut those costs and reap the benefit of the 28 percent cost savings, I think that’s ultimately where you look at kind of quote unquote, free growth of usage without grinding your teeth.
I think if you look at any other business unit and say, where in the pre-Covid time was tripling every two years in terms of video minutes, that’s now obviously much greater, tripling every two years for other business units, you’re probably getting more investment. You’re getting the CFO’s attention and you need to scale. The expectation of collab professionals is really incredible that they’re able to support this. They’re not getting their teams to grow for MSPs. You know, the more you grow your team, the worse your margins. So I think that’s something that really when you think of ROI being able to scale, leverage the level one teams that are out there and have a purpose-built tool as an incremental value and on things like call quality, on things like alert engines, proactively avoiding issues, which is really where we shine. I think that’s the ROI story that’s a little bit more forward looking, but it is definitely resonating quite well right now.
Now, is there a channel opportunity here?
Yes, absolutely. We do sell our suite of products, including the Microsoft Teams coverage through the channel. We have a direct field team as well. So either route is something we started to see a good amount of traction in for the summer, particularly with Microsoft Teams.
So Nick, I want to thank you for coming by and talking to us today about the importance of Microsoft Teams collaboration, monitoring and analytics and what that contributes to both the functioning of Teams and also really the functioning of the company. So what can we learn more about Vyopta?
Vyopta.com is our website. And there we have different pages broken out by industry, by use case, as well as technology, where you’ll find Microsoft Teams has its own page there to learn more about that. And then also in terms of the different folks listening, whether you’re representing an MSP or a channel partner or you’re an enterprise, small, medium or large, looking to see how other customers of Vyopta are using our solution, you can go in and find those different pages all at Vyopta.com.
You know, I think you’ve brought up another important point for listeners that sounds like your product is a little bit specialized for some industries, too.
Yeah, it’s been interesting to see in higher ed, and telemedicine, really, where the need has been very strong recently, we’ve seen a good uptick there in terms of our performance management, of collaboration as part of your service, if it’s education or certainly telehealth. That’s been a big one. But honestly, across the board with all things Covid, it’s become so critical for internal collaboration. And that uptick in Microsoft Teams collaboration has been so pervasive that we’re really starting to diversify quite a bit in terms of the customers coming to us.
Interesting times for the Teams community and very interesting to hear about how your product and also Teams itself are being used, but for now, I want to thank you for joining me and we’ll look forward to maybe diving into some of those verticals in the next one.
Absolutely. Thanks, Doug. Pleasure to be here. Thank you.
Chad Swiatecki is a business writer and journalist whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Billboard, New York Daily News, Austin Business Journal, Austin American-Statesman and many other print and online publications. He lives in Austin, Texas and is a graduate of Michigan State University. Find him online on LinkedIn.