In short, Skype for Business (SfB) is the next step in the evolution of communications and provides:
- improved integration with Microsoft Office and related products – hence improving internal and external communication and collaboration
- greater flexibility and more seamless communication with customers – helping to blur the dividing line between business and its consumers
Below we consider some of the key differences between Lync 2013 and Skype for Business 2015 and the benefits of the new solution. Given the simple upgrade path – a system patch [NR1] [BK2] and some brief downtime – these may just be reasons enough for you to make the move.
Skype for Business vs Lync. Take note of these key benefits.
If you are currently using Lync 2013 (or earlier versions), here are the key changes you can expect in making the upgrade to Skype for Business 2015.
- Streamline patching of servers
This is a big one for engineers and means less downtime, shorter maintenance windows and a lower risk of potential mistakes. All these factors directly contribute to an overall improvement in service capability.
- Communicate with customers using Skype chat, audio and VIDEO (new!)
The new video feature adds greater flexibility and opens up more possibility for consumer to business communications. While still not perfect – as it won’t work with contact centres or conferencing – the new SfB allows either party to initiate the communication without all the previous steps required. This allows new innovative uses combining consumer Skype and Skype for Business. Business users such as HR and council\government can now contact and be contacted by external users via the consumer Skype program enhancing communications for new hires or constituents improving business process.
- Expect better staff uptake with a more intuitive user experience
The new SfB looks and feels like the consumer Skype your team have been using at home to communicate with friends and family. As such, you can expect a better uptake of the new platform among staff. Skype for Business is just another app that seems to fit users’ expectations and – as a result – helps to foster better communication and collaboration.
- New mobile and desktop clients
New SfB mobile clients which provide a better user experience, with greater integration into the SfB environment and less user training. Making user operation and support simpler with increased connectivity.
- Benefit from new product releases
Third party products with new features sets are constantly being released, adding more and more possibilities and capabilities to Skype for Business. These include SMS, large conferencing, interoperability with Legacy Video Conferencing and simplified monitoring/control solutions.
The future also looks bright. Microsoft continues to improve the product and has released some new features that – while currently limited – show direction and promise for the future. These include the Video Interoperability Server and unifying mobile and tablet clients for Apple, Android and Windows – helping to provide a consistent experience even when away from your desk or laptop computer.
The upgrade makes sense.
Today not having access to Skype for Business click-to-dial is like going back to rotary dial phones, no one would do this by choice.
The improved integration with Microsoft Office and the new opportunity for seamless communication with customers are two other powerful reasons to upgrade. And the reasons NOT to are gone – most of the traditional issues of QoS and PoE have now been addressed in most business networks, VoIP performance is of a good or better quality and ongoing support is easy.
As an alternative to the traditional, on premise installation, Skype for Business can also be provided as a scalable service with built-in maintenance and upgrades. And remember, if you already using Lync, the upgrade path is simple and requires minimal downtime.
Talk to your managed service provider about software as a service that grows as you grow. At Nexon we are doing this today for many of our customers. Speak to us to see how we can help.