It is no secret that there are hundreds of millions of Microsoft Office 365 users worldwide (that’s right… hundreds of millions… Microsoft doesn’t release much data on users but did confirm earlier this year there were over 100 million users of their 365 product). It is also no secret that a very, very small majority of those use, or even realize they have access to all the different products that are included with their subscriptions, Skype for Business being one of them. In an article entitled “Skype for Business is not Skype – realising that is half the battle” author Sonia Cuff discusses some of the pros and cons experienced by businesses who adopted Skype for Business after previously using in part the consumer Skype product, and found the grown up version to be more robust, yet lacking in areas only a Microsoft Solution Provider can help:
Skype revolutionized IP-based video calling to such an extent it became a verb, much like Google. This largely consumer technology went pro in 2011 when Microsoft bought the firm for $8.5B.
Microsoft, of course, already had IP-based video as part of its unified communications platform, first with Office Communicator and then Lync, which combined voice, video, instant messaging and videoconferences in a single client. In 2014, Microsoft killed Lync and applied the Skype branding iron to produce Skype for Business and Skype for Business Server.
Enterprises can migrate this workload to the same umbrella structure as their other Office 365 services. SMBs got the product included with a $5 user/month plan. Considering the deep integration between Skype for Business and Outlook, Sharepoint Online, Yammer and Microsoft Teams, it seems like a no-brainer to embrace this way of communicating.
The article continues to discuss some of the hurdles that exist in adopting Skype for Business. You can read the full article here. And while it is true many of these obstacles exist (struggles with implementing on MAC for example), the majority of the hurdles Mircosoft has either already addressed, are working on solutions for, or can easily be overcome by partnering with a third party Microsoft partner who specializes in particular fields.
For companies with call centers, Skype for Business features of presence and instant messenger are a big draw, but the lack of advanced call center features was a barrier to entry. With Cloud PBX functionality, plugging into your existing phone system or partnering with your own PSTN calling capability is present with Skype for Business, but other features are not. Partnering with a third party partner (Altigen was named one of the 30 Fastest Growing Microsoft Solution Providers), this hurdle can efficiently be overcome. Enterprise auto attendant, data directed routing, webchat routing, and automated call recording are just some of the advanced features that may not be available with your own instance of Skype for Business, but can be done with the expertise of a third party.
So while the product experienced some growing pains, Skype for Business is a mature product that has robust features that are continually being developed for businesses. But everyone can use a little help, and that’s where Microsoft’s impressive pairing with solution providers such as Altigen ensures you aren’t missing out on necessary business functions in order to fully utilize the products.
Learn more about how Altigen works with Skype for Business to deliver a true Unified Communications solutions for your whole organization.