Skype for Business: The Unified Communication Standard
Unified Communications is one of the hottest buzzwords in the IT industry today. As organizations continue to leverage new ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) to keep their workforce agile, collaborative, and performing at the optimal level, they also want to ensure employee satisfaction by offering better options and greater flexibility. Today, the modern workforce is turning to holistic communication platforms that can serve their entire organization’s communication needs with a single software solution.
A predominant unified communications platform dominating the market today is Microsoft Skype for Business (formerly known as Microsoft Lync). As a Gartner’s Magic Quadrant Leader, this solution has not only been recognized as having the highest completeness of vision, but also the ability to execute on that vision. I’d like to quickly explain the key cornerstone fundamentals of the components that encompass this very powerful unified communications tool.
Conferencing & Collaboration
Skype for Business conferencing is one of the most common platforms used by organizations across the globe to instantly connect and collaborate with ease and efficiency. Skype for Business desktop sharing allows users to quickly share their screens, and give others the ability to easily take control and swap presenters on the fly. With just one click, users can join a video/audio call from any device, even their laptop computer, without needing additional equipment. For those who prefer a more traditional method, Skype for Business will automatically provide a telephone number that can be used to dial in. Users can also provide their own local dial in number if they prefer.
As employees increasingly want to use a wide variety of devices and methods to communicate with other individuals, Skype for Business has evolved to offer the flexibility to communicate via audio, video and IM from any device, including Android, iOS, and Mac OS X.
The IM/Presence feature in Skype for Business allows users to see the current status of their colleagues at a glance. As today’s workforce becomes more mobile focused, this feature is becoming an increasingly vital and powerful tool utilized to instantly inform individuals within an organization of each colleague’s current availability from any device. Whether you’re on the phone, currently away, or in a meeting, Skype for Business will do all the work to ensure no communication is lost. Additionally, when combined with Microsoft Exchange, Skype for Business will instantly update your status based on your calendar appointments.
Prior to today’s modern conferencing technology, a video conference would require all members to be on the same device, or have access to an expensive room-based solution. With Skype for Business, starting a video call is as simple as clicking “start my video”. Additionally, the video steams scale based on environmental factors or the size of your window, allowing smooth communications even in the most restrictive of environments.
Unified messaging provided by Microsoft Exchange is one of the most exciting voicemail platforms currently on the market. It serves as the perfect complement to Skype for Business. We are all familiar with the standard voicemail features, but with the addition of text to speech, native dial by name directory, and the ability to dial-in to check your emails and calendar appointments, this product truly deserving of being in a class of its own. Unified messaging utilizes your outlook and/or current settings to determine the type of greeting that plays, allowing users the flexibility to have custom greetings depending on their current status or availability.
As the workforce becomes more and more mobile and location independent, the Skype for Business phone system has done the same. The full suite of functionality is available on an Android, iOS, Windows, or Mac OS X and performs whether you are at your desk, working from home, or working half way across the world. With Skype for Business, you take your business phone and all the capabilities with you, not just where you work.
On-Premise or in the Cloud
The Skype for Business platform allows you to choose the deployment that best suits your organization’s business or technology focused initiatives. As of December 1st 2015, Skype for Business Online, as part of the Office 365 platform, has offered full PSTN Telephony for those organizations who do not wish to add additional infrastructure within their on-premises environment. This allows the flexibility to scale on-demand without the need for building out the infrastructure. As we move towards a cloud-first world, Skype for Business gives organizations the option to deploy in the cloud, on-premises or in hybrid environments.
Ready to Get Started with Skype for Business?
SWC helps organizations develop cost-effective, flexible, unified communication solutions to fit their business needs. Our proven Microsoft Exchange and Skype for Business adoption methodologies and enablement programs help to deploy an all-in-one communication platform to empower workplace communication.
If you’re interested in learning more about Skype for Business and how you can use unified communications to enable your business, contact SWC for a free demonstration or register for our next Chicagoland business technology event.