The decision to invest in new technology is a critical strategic choice for any organisation. While it doesn’t make financial sense to invest in each and every new piece of software and hardware on the market, it can also prove harmful to your business to wait until existing hardware fails or software is no longer supported. The costs associated with loss of productivity as a result of outdated technology can far outweigh the costs of initial investment.
Technology investments help drive organisational efficiencies, improve customer service and boost employee satisfaction and workplace culture, as staff appreciate being able to work with the best technology that assists them in achieving as much as possible in their role.
But if you are evaluating a UC for your organisation, which is the best solution for you? A which can help your organisation communicate and collaborate better. So how do you know if the time is right to invest in Skype for Business? Well, here are five questions and answers that may help:
- Are you due to upgrade your phone system?
If your business has grown, or is embarking on an expansion phase you may be looking to upgrade your phone system. Growing businesses are often looking for a solution that offers functionality far above and beyond what a traditional phone system offers, that doesn’t pose geographic restraints and that an organisation-wide solution that can easily expand and be supported across multiple sites.
- Have you or are you planning to upgrade to Microsoft Office 365?
If you are, you’ll be pleased to know that Skype for Business integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office 365, facilitating communication across all Microsoft Office programs. For those businesses that might be smaller scale, just starting out, or don’t want to make a big investment in a server, an upgrade to Microsoft Office 365 with Skype for Business Online is a good, economical choice. From instant messenger (IM), online audio and video calls, online meetings and document sharing, Skype for Business offers all business communications needs in one easy-to-use app.
Skype for Business integrates with all Microsoft programs so users can communicate or share from the program or document they are working on. In any Microsoft program currently open on the user’s computer screen, they can see all contacts who are connected to the Skype for Business app and what their availability is should they wish to IM, voice or video call, or host an online meeting with them. If a user is working in a Word, Excel or PowerPoint document, they can immediately start meetings from the document and present their work. Users can also schedule meetings and see IM history in Outlook, which gives them insight into all modes of business communications in one interface. And for people in a hurry, it makes adding contacts, and organising and recording meetings very simple.
This ease of communication with others inside and outside a business, no matter what program is currently open or being worked on means a user’s efficiency and productivity can be significantly increased. It also means employees don’t have to skip between the Skype for Business app, Outlook or phone to communicate or check the last contact made with people.
Most importantly, Office 365 integrates Skype for Business in a way that delivers enterprise-grade security, compliance and control for workplace IT.
- Are your employees already familiar with Skype?
Up until this year, Microsoft offered two overlapping communications platforms divided by the kind of user – one free platform aimed at consumers and another paid for platform aimed at business. With the release of Skype for Business, one of the biggest advantages is that it merges the benefits of Microsoft’s private platform into a new platform that has the familiar Skype consumer version look and feel.
Skype for Business provides organisations with enterprise features, while aligning the interface with that of Skype to ensure familiarity and ease of use. Because Skype for Business is closely aligned with Skype, it is highly likely your employees will already be familiar with the look and feel and their experience will be consistent across both the consumer and business versions. User familiarity also means better adoption, more value and a faster path to a return on investment (ROI).
- Would you benefit from access to over 300 million Skype ‘consumer’ and ‘business’ contacts across the globe?
The merging of Skype and Skype for Business allows employees to more easily connect to internal and external users. More than 300 million people currently use Skype to communicate from anywhere at any time globally, and Skype for Business opens up the option for organisations of being able to connect with anyone on the Skype network, whether inside or outside their organisation.
Skype for Business delivers a whole host of communication opportunities for businesses. Rather than only being allowed to connect with other users listed on a corporate directory, Skype for Business allows users to connect with clients, partners, vendors, and other co-workers even when they are not part of the corporate directory.
- Does your business operate on Macs?
Mac users are able to connect to Microsoft’s Skype for Business platform using the Lync for Mac 2011 client. However this client has not been updated for a number of years, and is lacking some of the key features of its Windows counterpart.
But Mac users can now rejoice – Microsoft is expected to release an official Mac client for Skype for Business by the end of2015. The expected release of the Mac client means that if you operate on Macs there has been no better time to considering whether Skype for Business is for you in the lead up to its actual launch. And Android and iOS Skype for Business applications are also due to be released at any time.
Skype for Business is today being discussed in every corner of the business world as Microsoft invests huge amounts of money and time in developing an evolving Skype for Business platform with increasingly exciting features being announced. With the release of Skype for Business, it is no longer a question of why should your business upgrade to an advanced organisational communication platform powered by VoIP, but why not.
For further information around transitioning your business to Skype for Business contact IComm on 1300 881 641 or visit https://www.icomm.com.au/