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Getting the Most Out of Skype for Business
September 13th, 2017

Getting the Most Out of Skype for Business

Ian Linton

Skype for Business is a unified communications solution that brings together a number of important communications technologies, services, and devices into a single integrated platform. It integrates v...

Skype for Business is a unified communications solution that brings together a number of important communications technologies, services, and devices into a single integrated platform. It integrates voice, mobile, messaging, email, video, voicemail, text, and chat and makes them available on desktop phones, home phones, smartphones, and mobile devices.

That makes it easy to choose the most suitable form of communication without switching devices or leaving the Skype for Business interface. Employees who are away from their desks can check messages or emails on their smartphones, place a voice call or join a video conference, all from the same application.

Skype for Business can improve personal productivity, overcome communication challenges, support mobility, increase collaboration, streamline business processes, and transform the traditional office into the workplace of the future.

However, to help your business get the most out of Skype for Business and accelerate organizational change, it’s essential to demonstrate the potential benefits and overcome any barriers to implementation.

Appoint a champion

For implementation to succeed, employees must be willing to make changes in the way they conduct business and communicate. If user issues are not addressed, resistance to change can create major barriers to an otherwise well-planned implementation strategy.

A Skype for Business ‘champion’ can help increase interest and raise awareness of the solution. They can also provide support and mentor users. Cross-functional teams can also be invaluable when it comes to communicating the benefits across the organization, as well as to customers, partners, and suppliers.

Demonstrate the benefits

Skype for Business removes many of the communication barriers that have traditionally held back productivity and efficiency. Making employees aware of the potential benefits encourages adoption and helps users get more from Skype for Business.

Find an available expert

When employees need advice or information in a hurry, it can be frustrating trying to find an expert who is available. With Skype for Business, they can use features such as Presence and Follow Me to reach the right person quickly.

Reach colleagues the first time

With so many colleagues working remotely and so many devices to choose from, reaching a colleague the first time is difficult. Skype for Business solves that problem by simultaneously dialing all numbers until there is an answer.

Never break calls

It can be inconvenient for employees to break a call because they need to leave their desk. With Skype for Business, they can switch devices without interrupting the call.

Avoid interruptions

Employees about to join a meeting or trying to finish an urgent project need to avoid interruptions brought on by unwanted calls. The Presence feature includes a Do Not Disturb option to alert others they are busy and shouldn’t be interrupted.

Manage multiple message formats

Checking email, voicemail, text messages, and instant messages on different devices can be time-consuming. Skype for Business solves that with a single unified messaging inbox.

Communicate on the move

When employees are working on the move, they can have limited access to communications systems. Skype for Business provides a rich mobile experience.

Access services on multiple devices

Employees working away from their desks may find it frustrating trying to get information or use their normal desktop services. Skype for Business provides a consistent user experience with access to all services from virtually any device.

Escalate calls

If escalating a call does not happen quickly, the extra delay may cause friction between the customer and agent. With Skype for Business, they can escalate immediately to speed up the resolution time.

Set up conferences

Setting up conferences through a service provider is costly and takes time. Skype for Business makes it easy to set up meetings from any Office 365 application.

Collaborate across multiple locations

With colleagues and partners spread across multiple locations, it’s often difficult to collaborate. Skype for Business provides access to the web, video, and audio conferencing solutions that simplify collaboration.

With a busy meeting schedule, it’ not easy to keep track of meeting details or set up new ones. Skype for Business integrates with calendars to organize employees schedules.

Use multiple channels

Today’s employees want to communicate in many different ways. They might want to send a text, instant message or email. Make a quick call from their desktop phone or mobile device. Or hold a brief meeting via chat or video conferencing. With traditional communication models, they need to switch between separate applications on different devices. By using Skype for Business, employees can bring all these channels together and create a single seamless communication experience. The single platform and consistent interface makes it easier for them to communicate on any device from any location, improve productivity, reduce costs, and build a more collaborative workplace.

Increase mobility

Skype for Business helps businesses improve productivity and collaboration on the move by taking advantage of its mobility features.

Skype for Business provides essential support for mobility and ensures users get the most from their solution, wherever they happen to be working. Keeping employees in contact from any location doesn’t just impact productivity. It can increase employee engagement, particularly among the Millennial generation and remote workers, and it supports easier, more frequent collaboration.

Integrates with Office 365

Users can get more out of Skype for Business by using its ability to integrate with important business applications in Microsoft Office 365. Skype for Business is an integral part of Office 365 and that means it offers features that other UC solutions cannot match.

To improve collaboration, for example, employees can schedule meetings through Microsoft Outlook, or launch a video conference from an Office 365 application. If they are preparing a presentation or report and want to share it with colleagues, they can email the content via Outlook and set up a call or conference from Word or PowerPoint to discuss or review their proposals.

The integration of Skype for Business with Office 365 makes collaboration an integral element of important business processes and integrates it with familiar applications.

Use all collaboration tools

Meeting participants can get the most out of Skype for Business by putting all communication tools in a single interface including:

  • Voice – Audio conferencing is suitable for simple forms of collaboration when face-to-face contact and content sharing are not essential. With Skype for Business, users can launch calls from directories, Outlook, or Office applications.
  • Video – Video conferencing ensures participants have the face-to-face contact that is essential to collaboration success. They can also use other Skype for Business tools to send messages or hold chat sessions during a video conference.
  • Content sharing – Participants can view, review, and update content including documents, reports, presentations, models, and images, helping them share or present information and make decisions collaboratively.
  • Instant message and chat – Messaging is useful when users only need a quick response to a question or an update on a project from a colleague or a team.

Create new workspaces

Collaboration through video and content sharing is increasing in popularity. And, with Skype for Business, the technology is available to enable employees to connect, share, and collaborate on any device, in any location, with anyone inside or outside the organization.

To help employees make the most of this collaboration flexibility, it’s important to create new workspaces to accommodate the increasing number of participants and the demand for informal meetings outside the traditional conference room. Small huddle rooms, team meeting rooms, and personal spaces are now part of the collaboration mainstream. And, mobile or remote employees can participate just as easily from any location.

Skype for Business makes this possible because it can deliver reliable, intuitive, innovative, and seamless collaboration experiences in any space. When collaboration technology is this simple, it becomes a natural part of the working day and helps employees reach new levels of productivity and efficiency.

Encourage interactive collaboration

Interactive content collaboration is a natural and highly effective way for employees to work with colleagues and external contacts. Sharing documents, images, video and other content can enhance the quality and productivity of meetings, training, and communication while improving knowledge sharing, customer support, sales, and marketing. That makes it important for team working, project management and customer meetings.

By making the most of Skype for Business integrated with Office 365 to develop and share content, you can increase the level and quality of interactive collaboration in your business.

Broadcast your meetings

While Skype for Business is great for internal and external collaboration, integrating Skype Meeting Broadcast makes the most of it by extending meeting capability even further. Now, your business can reach up to 10,000 attendees who can join from any browser and device.

This makes Skype for Business suitable for presentations, webinars, and larger team conferences. Meeting formats are also more flexible and engaging with features for real-time polling, messaging and questions.

Integrate PSTN calling

Skype for Business is moving towards a complete business communications service with the introduction of PSTN Calling and Cloud PBX. These services are designed to replace or supplement the services available from telcos with cloud-based communications from Microsoft.

With PSTN Calling, employees can make and receive business calls in the office, at home or on the road, using phones, PCs, and mobile devices without the need for a traditional phone system.

Instead, they use their Skype for Business client for traditional phone calls. Using the PSTN connection, they can reach any contact, rather than just subscribers to Microsoft Lync or Skype for Business. They can manage their calls with traditional features like hold, resume, forward and transfer.

The Cloud PBX service offers your business a configuration option that enables them to use existing premise phone lines for inbound and outbound calling. Administrators will no longer need to maintain a separate PBX to enjoy business-grade voice calls on Skype for Business.

Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling brings enterprise-grade voice to Skype for Business and extends Skype for Business call-handling capability. It reduces infrastructure costs by eliminating premise-based PBXs and simplifies telecoms management with a single centralized solution.

Create a guiding vision

By making the most of Skype for Business, you can transform many aspects of your business, improving productivity, efficiency, collaboration and customer service.  However, developing the right Skype for Business strategy requires a long-term view, as well as an understanding of the short-term challenges.

A clear roadmap for Skype for Business implementation can help your business manage expectations, ensure employee acceptance and deliver a strong return on investment.

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