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Businesses run on communication, whether you’re talking to a sales prospect, checking in on a customer or reporting to your boss. You switch from a headset to an instant messaging application to your smartphone, using different applications with each change. Your contacts from your office phone aren’t accessible on other devices and your team chat log exists in its own silo. Your communications don’t have to be scattered around with the help of Skype for Business, a unified communications solution that consolidates essential tools into a single platform.
Skype for Business Online, part of the Office 365 package, transforms your office operations by bringing critical communication channels into a single platform. You won’t need five applications to support your day-to-day business needs with this system in place. Learn more about switching to Skype for Business as your complete Office 365 PBX system.
Benefits of Skype for Business
You have meetings for many reasons, from checking in on your team’s progress to delivering reports on the department’s business goals. Skype for Business offers flexible options for conducting meetings, whether you want to hold an online meeting, a phone conference or a video chat. You can fit up to 250 people in a meeting room, and Skype for Business supports access via multiple devices. People can call in on traditional phone lines, connect with their smartphones or bring up the meeting on workstations, so you accommodate everyone’s needs.
Skype for Business collaboration tools helps you accomplish team tasks in several ways. Screen sharing lets you display exactly what you’re looking at to the rest of the conference participants. You can adopt a “show, don’t tell” approach to your meetings to speed up the pace. This platform also integrates with Office 365 apps you’re already using, such as Powerpoint and Word. Open up a file and work on it in real-time with co-authoring or give a presentation right away.
Easy Person-to-Person Calling
Your existing workflow when you contact another person in your office may require memorizing complicated extensions, going through an IVR or connecting through an external dialer. With Skype for Business, you connect to your coworkers by clicking their contact card in this application or other Office 365 software. You can make the call from any compatible device as this application lets you access the system from anywhere. You don’t have to be chained to your desk waiting for an urgent phone call since Skype for Business goes with you.
Outlook Meeting Scheduling
Sometimes the most difficult part of office communication is finding available time to talk to people. Skype for Business integrates with Outlook and lets you know everyone’s availability when you set up an online meeting. You also have the option of using the Scheduling Assistant, which compares all attendees’ schedules to find a time that works for you and your team.
Even the most efficient meetings tend to eat up time that you’d rather use on other tasks. The group instant messenger helps you stay in communication with your team even if they’re not in the same geographic location as you. You can use this channel for quick updates and questions on a project rather than dropping what you’re doing to answer the phone.
Your current voice communication configuration may use an on-premise PBX system that’s expensive, hard to maintain or outdated. The PBX may lack support for modern features helpful for your business needs. Skype for Business gives you access to a cloud-based PBX with voicemail, call transfers and call forwarding. You don’t need to spend the resources on the on-site phone system when you run everything through Skype for Business. Microsoft handles the servers, software and other necessary equipment required to use the solution, which frees up your IT resources for other critical duties.
Rethinking Existing Communication Processes
If your business previously relied on a combination of traditional phone systems, instant messengers and email for business communication, you have to significantly change your existing business processes to make the most of Skype for Business’ features. This digital transformation may prove disruptive to your organization as people adapt to the new system. A comprehensive change management strategy and thorough training opportunities help get employees up to speed on how the new system makes their jobs easier.
Mix and match communication methods to suit the needs of teams, departments and the organization as a whole. For example, the accounting team may prefer web meetings with a shared Powerpoint presentation on a weekly basis. The sales and marketing team use video conferencing to connect with their field team and remote workers, with co-authored documents updated with the latest data. The project managers and executives stick with traditional phone conferences but find the Scheduling Assistant critical to actually getting everyone to the meeting at the right time. You have many ways to incorporate Skype for Business into your business communication processes, but it may take some time before it’s adopted on an organization-wide level.
Skype for Business Online’s unified communication features give your organization centralized tools for the critical conversations happening on a day-to-day basis. It also helps you eliminate common pain points, such as poor cross-platform compatibility, secure remote access and user-friendly video conferencing. You may face a massive digital transformation when you go from a traditional business phone system to a full-featured UC tool, but the improvements in efficiency and productivity should quickly eliminate any complaints.
Are you ready to migrate to Skype for business? Learn more about Agile IT’s VoIP phone system for Office 365 services to find out how we can help.