With its integration into Teams, Skype has matured into a valuable business tool that can replace your desktop phone system.
Many people will know Skype from its early days as an online platform for free voice and video calls to other Skype users. It became popular at a time when calls, overseas in particular, were expensive. In 2011, Microsoft purchased Skype and although the free consumer version is still available, Microsoft has worked hard to develop Skype for Business, a professional online communication platform that integrates tightly into its Office 365 productivity suite.
Skype for Business is aimed at teams within businesses. Although originally designed as a one-to-one call system, Skype for Business now lets you conference with up to 250 people even if they're not on Skype, they just need a phone or internet connection. In addition to calls and video, you can share files, share desktops and message each other.
Sharing files and sending messages, does this sound familiar? Microsoft Teams application is a text conversation-based workspace in Office 365. It helps users collaborate more easily, share resources and get more done. It lets users drop notes to each other, comment on projects and files, as well as share and collaborate on files more easily. Microsoft has now integrated Skype for Business into Teams, extending its capabilities and allowing you to make calls from your desktop or mobile directly from the Teams app.
Indeed with this level of overlap between the two applications, Micosoft has outlined in their product roadmap that Skype for Business users will migrate to Teams, so users can have a single place for their conversations, contacts and content. "Although we can currently run Skype and Teams as two seperate applications, it's clear that working in Teams is the goal. This lets you to simplify all your communications into a single application," explains Chris Joberns, Strident's managing director.
Skype for Business can now replace your company's phone system, and with Teams and Skype for Business applications available for PC, Mac, iOS and Android tablets and phones, you can make, receive, and transfer calls whether you are in or out of the office.
"Skype for Business gives users a huge amount of flexibility," says Chris. "In addition to your mobile devices or PC with headset, you can also use a dedicated desk phone which works directly with Skype for Business. With all these devices working on the same platform, your office number follows you and you can move seamlessly from your desk at the office, to your laptop at home or to your mobile in the car."
As well as allowing you to move away from expensive, proprietary telephony hardware, the cloud-based solution gives you all the benefits of a traditional PBX system plus many others. Simply click a number on a screen to call it, let your colleague receive calls on your behalf or answer calls for other people on your team when they are unavailable. Skype for Business works with your Active Directory, so you always have the latest contact details. You can use the built-in voicemail, integrated with Microsoft Exchange, to quickly respond to missed calls.
Calls to 'outside' numbers, customers and suppliers still using non-cloud systems, can be done in Skype in exactly the same way. Call costs are covered by a group calling plan. Simply choose a flexible plan with monthly call minutes available to all users, anything unused is rolled over.
If you want to find out more about Skype for Business, call us for a friendly chat.
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