Skype for Business, formerly Microsoft Lync Server, is a platform that allows businesses to hold online meetings as if they were physically attending. Skype for Business is available through Office 365.
With today’s increasingly global workforce, it’s not surprising that the field of online meeting platforms has gotten a lot more crowded. Slack. GoToMeeting. Join.me. Today’s businesses have more choices than ever before, yet 55% of companies prefer Skype for Business over other online meeting platforms.
Why? It all boils down to the platform’s key features.
Features of Skype for Business
Skype for Business has made it easy for businesses of all sizes to connect users online and foster productive group communication through video and audio conferencing, file sharing, email and more. Skype for Business is a top business communication tool worldwide, and is considered one of the best low-cost conference services.
Key features of Skype for Business include:
Real Time Communication
Meetings can be broadcast in high-definition video and audio, giving users quality access no matter where they are located. Instant messaging allows each team member to contribute, rather than being limited to listening and taking notes. Users can also access messages discussed during the meeting and time-stamped notes once the meeting ends.
Skype for Business can be downloaded and accessed from all devices, including Windows, Mac, Android and iPhone. Traditional phones can also call in and access Skype for Business meetings. While many users say learning the ins and outs of Skype for Business takes a trial run here and there, resources are available to users, and most customers find the platform relatively easy to use. Customer support is available to users experiencing technical difficulties.
With Microsoft, one of the most experienced security firms on the planet, overseeing your Skype for Business activity, you can rest assured your data is in trusted hands. The platform also allows team leaders to control which accounts are able to attend meetings and access different features throughout the call. Microsoft promises users that all calls and accounts are made secure with strong encryption and authentication.
The user interface allows the business call to be on the screen alongside other applications; memos and reports can be shared, opened, and read in conjunction with the meeting. Whiteboards are available for multiple team members to add and share ideas throughout the call. Team leaders can also control what is broadcast, giving the floor to other screens and other users. Leaders can also mute or remove users that are making background noise or should not have access to the meeting.
Connect From Anywhere in the World
Whether your company has 2, 50, or 250 people, you can bring everyone together with Skype for Business. Consumer Skype is available for smaller business meetings, but companies with over 20 employees should strongly consider Skype for Business. Consumer Skype is free, but payment for Skype for Business can be handled by team leaders, and not every member needs to have an account with Microsoft Office or Skype for Business to get into a meeting. Say goodbye to unnecessary, costly in-person meetings.
Microsoft Office 365 Compatibility: As a part of Microsoft Office, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations can all be seamlessly shared throughout your call. Teams can create and schedule calls through Microsoft Outlook. Impromptu meetings can start through chats on any Microsoft software—making it easy for 365-powered organizations to incorporate Skype for Business into their existing workflows.
Skype for Business, Microsoft and Moving Forward
Before Skype for Business, Microsoft was using Lync as its primary communication tool. In 2011, Microsoft acquired consumer Skype and began to develop technology for business communications. The user interface of Skype was certainly preferable, but Lync’s capability, including call encryption and other security features, offered a favorable alternative. That is, until these features were integrated with Skype for Business. The Microsoft Lync server was finally replaced by the Skype for Business server in 2015. Skype for Business Online can be used on its own, but many users can integrate it with Microsoft Office.
Microsoft is betting that in the future it can make improvements to compete with other platforms, including Slack. Slack is integrated with Google Drive, and allows users to work within other apps (including Salesforce and Google Hangouts) without having to exit Slack.
In September 2017, Microsoft announced that they were working on developing Microsoft Teams as an alternative communications tool to eventually replace Skype for Business. Teams will offer more features and enhancements to what is available through Skype for Business. A date is not set for the replacement, but in the meantime, Microsoft is planning on launching updates to Skype for Business next year.