You company’s PBX telephone system will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary. Over the years, it has served you well but despite recurring patch ups, your PBX’ retirement is approaching fast. So you find yourself at a crossroads: you either purchase the modern younger brother of your PBX, or you choose the progressive and trendy cousin: Skype for Business. You might’ve already used Skype outside of work. But transferring an entire organization from traditional telephones to Skype for Business is an entirely different story. Nevertheless, once successfully implemented and adopted within the company, Skype for Business will prove its worth. In this blog, I’ll explain why you should say goodbye to your outdated PBX and welcome Skype for Business into your organization.
The downfall of the office desk phone
Many of us consider it self-evident: a fixed phone on every desk, in every office. But isn’t it time to reevaluate this presumption? Modern apps and tools for texting, chat, video calls and collaboration have been embraced en masse. Especially the millennials entering the workforce prefer mobile devices and all its handy features. They blend different ways of communication with various devices, switching from one to another in the blink of an eye. This requires a multi-modal communication strategy that supports this new way of workplace communication. That doesn’t mean that the desk phone should disappear completely. Its role will however diminish and it’s up to you to facilitate new ways of communication. Implementing Skype for Business is a great step in the right direction. Below, I will explain some of the benefits that Skype for Business offers in comparison to traditional PBX.
Additional ways of communication
While an office desk phone is just a phone, Skype for Business offers many more functionalities. It combines modern workforce communication by combining various ways communicating:
- Voice. You might know Skype for its video calls, but it’s important to realize that Skype for Business can be used for traditional voice calls as well. No need for special accounts, you can use a normal phone number that is linked to Skype.
- Instant messaging. Instant messaging has become the telephones’ largest competitor. These short and quick messages replace back-and-forth e-mailing and short calls. Skype for Business supports instant messaging both in a chat-kind of way, as well as during (video) meetings.
- Video. A huge benefit of Skype for Business compared to traditional desk phones is the addition of video. Being able to communicate face-to-face over distance, makes consultation and collaboration more personal and efficient.
- Presence. Presence is the ability to detect another user’s availability. This feature of Skype for Business makes it easy for users to communicate their availability to others.
- Conference call. Sure, you can have a conference call with multiple participants via traditional phone. However, complicated steps and access codes make it difficult to set up and join such a call. With Skype for Business you can easily set up and join conference meetings directly from your account, from any device and location. The addition of video makes conference calls a lot more efficient.
The multi-modal communication features of Skype for Business significantly improve collaboration within your organization. Online meetings from any device make remote collaboration much easier. Features like meeting recording, screen sharing, digital whiteboards, document sharing and interactive presentations make these online meetings more productive. Eventually, online meetings can be just as effective, if not more effective, than real life meetings.
Interoperability and integration
Over the years, your organization has gathered quite some communication tools and software. It’s important that all these tools can be interconnected. The Skype for Business’ interoperability application enables you to connect and configure across different devices and platforms seamlessly. Since more and more companies are using Skype for Business with Open Enhanced Federation, contacting external users becomes a piece of cake. And thanks to the variety of features of Skype for Business, you could also move towards an all-in-one solution for communication, which is much easier to manage.
Integration with Microsoft Office
If your organization is already using Microsoft Office, the transition to Skype for Business is even more interesting. You can easily integrate Office apps like Outlook, Powerpoint and OneNote with Skype for Business. A great feature is the link between Skype and Outlook agenda. For example, Skype updates presence based on Outlook agenda’s and people can join a virtual meeting directly from an Outlook agenda item. With Skype being a part of the large Microsoft Office family, an all-in-one solution for communication and collaboration is within reach. This means one supplier, one support point and moreover, one cost item.
Is it your time to switch to Skype for Business?
As you can see, it’s definitely worth considering Skype for Business as a (partial) replacement of your PBX. To turn it into a success, however, implementation should be managed carefully. After all, employees can’t just switch from traditional telephone to Skype for Business one day to another. They need to be informed and educated in order for them to get on board. Moreover, the new solution should be tailored to their needs. If you would like to learn more about this, download our free white paper ‘Mind the gap, focus on the user’. Feel free to contact us for advice on your Skype for Business implementation.