Benefits of Skype for Business
There are dozens of UC solutions available on the market today, many are competitive in features and price. The Microsoft Skype for Business platform is a true unified communications solution. The reason being that as the developer of the Skype for Business application, Microsoft has a significant advantage over other platforms, because it dominates the market share of enterprise operating systems and productivity applications with 83% of enterprises using Microsoft platforms world-wide.
So how does this benefit Skype for Business? Because Microsoft also develops the Windows and Office applications, it is able to provide truly seamless integration built right into Skype for Business. This means you use the same username and password to login to Skype for Business as you do for your computer network and email. The integration with Outlook offers users the familiar look and feel of features they have enjoyed in the Office suite of applications. In addition, the integration with Exchange provides unparalleled access to email and calendars. Finally, Skype for Business fully integrates with Office 365, even if hosted on-premise or by a 3rd party vendor.
The end result of this robust integration of applications is a remarkably fluid end user experience. From the moment the user logs into their computer, the interface of the Skype for Business client includes of the familiar icons of the Office suite. Within Outlook, the user presence feature shows the status of colleagues who have emailed you. In addition, creating a Skype for Business meeting is a simple click of a button within an Outlook calendar invite. Skype for Business is also aware of the meetings scheduled on your calendar and will automatically change your current status based on your schedule. Chat conversations through the Skype for Business client are archived in a folder within Outlook, which can then be easily searched. When it’s time for a scheduled Skype for Business meeting, the traditional Outlook meeting reminder will pop up, however it will also have a “Join Now” button which will allow you to easily join the online meeting or conference bridge with just one touch. This can also be done on supported Skype for Business IP handset phones from vendors such as Polycom. All of this sophisticated integration across multiple applications including user presence, chat, email, calendar, voice, video, and conferencing allows for simple and seamless communication and collaboration within the organization.
Skype for Business Features
As a true unified communications platform, Skype for Business can replace several systems and applications, including phone systems, web meeting solutions, conferencing services, organizational instant messaging, and collaboration solution. Skype for Business effectively combines them into a single powerful platform. This consolidation of systems results in cost savings, streamlined communications, and increased organizational efficiency. Skype for Business includes the following feature set.
Skype for Business is a complete phone system with all the features and capabilities of a traditional PBX system and will replace any on-premise telephony hardware. It provides direct call routing, emergency calling, toll-free numbers, and all your existing numbers can be ported over from your current provider.
The phone system allows end users to configure their individual settings and offers an array of features in addition to the basics such as hold, forward, transfer, and voicemail. In addition, Skype for Business allows you to connect with any device including IP phones, Skype Room Systems, PCs, Appel devices, and mobile devices. You can make, receive, and transfer business calls in the office, at home, or on the road, using a phone, computer, and mobile device without the need for a traditional phone system.
Online Meetings & Collaboration
Skype for Business is a complete online meeting, conferencing and collaboration solution, with all the capabilities of other platforms integrated into one system. It allows you to host audio, video, and web conferences with anyone inside or outside your organization. Online meetings allow you to join audio and video meetings using one-click screen sharing and HD video conferencing.
Audio conferencing enables attendees to join from any telephone by dialing a local access number. The dial-in capability complements single-touch join options on PC, smartphone, and browser. The mobile meeting app allow you to join a meeting, chat, and call into meetings on smartphones and tablets.
Skype for Business allows you to communicate with team members using messaging, voice calls, and video calls, and display your availability with your online status through user presence. Collaboration features include desktop sharing, uploading files, and chat messaging.
Written by: Payam Pourkhomami, President & CEO, OSIbeyond