Understanding the Value Skype for Business offers SMBs

Skype for Business ups the ante on the already impressive online collaboration capabilities of Office365. In this post, we’ll explain to you what Skype for Business is, what it brings to Office 365, and where its value lies for small businesses.

This discussion is closely related to our previous post, where we detailed the benefits gained from moving to Office 365 (link this to the previous article). In that article, we explained how, for example, Office 365 would make it much easier to view, edit, and discuss on the same document as someone working in your office in Lake Forest, CA, while you’re on a business trip in Los Angeles. Skype for Business adds much more to that.

But first, what is Skype for Business?

 

What is Skype for Business?

Skype for Business is Microsoft’s cloud-based solution for instant messaging, VoIP (Voice over IP), and video conferencing. It’s wrapped in the same Skype user interface that everyone is so familiar with but backed by a host of enterprise-class features.

One of its key components is Skype Meeting, an online meeting solution that enables users to perform audio, video, and web conferencing through the Internet. It’s capable of accommodating up to 250 people (a capacity most small businesses won’t even come close to filling up) in a single meeting. It’s so convenient because attendees can join in through their tablets, smartphones, laptops, or desktops.

Skype Meeting supports 1080p HD video. That means, whatever is shared on the screen will be crystal clear and crisp. But what exactly can you share? Well, you can share a PowerPoint presentation, an application, or even an entire desktop – that essentially means, presenters can let other attendees see virtually everything they have on their device if they want.

Its tight integration with Office 365 simplifies a lot of tasks. For example, you can schedule a Skype Meeting in Outlook, initiate a spontaneous ad hoc conversation from Word or PowerPoint, or automatically insert meeting notes into emails addressed to all attendees.

Just like in the regular Skype, you can see the availability of your contacts, so you’ll have an idea whether it’s appropriate to interrupt for an ad hoc meeting. During a meeting, you can conduct polls, which can come in handy if, say, you’re putting something to a vote.

One particular enterprise-grade feature included in Skype for Business worth mentioning is Cloud PBX. It basically comes with all the capabilities of a traditional PBX system (e.g. answer calls, forward calls, delegate calls, hold calls, record call history, etc.), except that it’s based on the cloud. That means, it’s much easier to administer and way more affordable. What’s also nice about it is that it can seamlessly integrate with your existing telephone lines.

 

How SMBs can benefit from it

In the past, if you wanted to check on your office while you were away, the quickest way to do it was to call. But phone calls can be quite limited, as you’re only limited to audio. Then Office 365 came along. Office 365 introduced real-time online collaboration. Still, even that had its limitations, for conversations had to be done through chat. If you were innovative, you probably found a way of working on an Office 365 document while also going on a Skype session. Today, with Skype for Business, you have a single solution that allows you to do both and more.

Skype for Business basically empowers small businesses, allowing them to elevate their productivity, collaboration and communication capabilities to practically the same level as large but traditional enterprises. In other words, it levels the playing field.

If you want to take full advantage of the benefits of Skype for Business but don’t know how to get started, it would be a good idea to hire someone who can help you out. Seasoned IT experts like our consultants here in briteCITY have both the experience and leadership to fully integrate Skype for Business into your operations.