Communication within any business is essential and at VooServers we rely on Skype for Business to help us communicate daily, from instant messaging a colleague to conferencing with a client in New York. Skype for Business is essentially a communication’s and collaboration platform packaged within an easy to use interface that boasts numerous features that makes day to day communication between colleagues and clients simple and effective.
Skype for Business (formerly known as Microsoft Lync) combines the features of Microsoft Lync with the user friendly interface and well known software Skype. This provides any business with the ability to provide Instant Messaging, voice and video calls, online meetings and much more all from within one software package. Furthermore as Skype for Business can be installed on most devices and even accessed via a web browser it gives almost every user with the ability to communicate across multiple devices and locations.
One of the main and often used features Skype for Business offers is the ability to send Instant Messages. This feature enables us to communicate instantly with another user in real time – be it a colleague or a client, regardless of their location as long as they have Skype for Business installed and an active network connection. However this is not the main benefit of instant messaging within Skype for Business as the software also allows users to share files, share their screen and there is even a presentation mode. All of these features are available within the conversation – which can be to one or multiple participants.
Screen Sharing & Presentation Mode
One of the major benefits of Skype for Business is the ability to share your screen with other users by using the “Present” feature which is available within every conversation. As you can see from the below screenshot, not only can you share your desktop but also programs and PowerPoint presentation files. This allows for easy presentations to take place between colleagues, clients and even other companies. At VooServers we regularly use Instant Messaging, Screen Sharing and Presentation Mode to share resources or information between colleagues.
Below is a brief explanation of what each option does:
- Present Desktop gives you the ability to share your entire screen as well as give control of your desktop to other participants within the conversation.
- Present Programs allows you to choose a specific program to share or give control to other participants within the conversation. This is useful if you don’t want them to be able to see anything else on your computer other than the specified program.
- Present PowerPoint Files allows you to choose a PowerPoint slide show to present to other participants within the conversation
- Whiteboard provides participants with access to a whiteboard, allowing you to collaborate or brainstorm, copy and paste notes and even save the whiteboard as a PNG file
- Poll allows you to create a poll to gather feedback from participants
- Q & A allows for answering of questions within a meeting in a structured format.
Voice & Video Calls
Other than instant messaging, Skype for Business also has the ability to start voice and video calls. This allows you to make and receive calls either from within your Contacts or to and from external numbers using devices such as headsets or IP Phones. This makes the use of Skype for Business cost effective to business’ as there’s no need for the installation and management of a landline. At VooSerevers we use the Voice Call feature daily to provide support to our clients. Not only does Skype for Business make this easy but it also gives us a simple interface to manage contacts of which we are in regular contact with.
Another main feature within Skype for Business is the ability to create conference calls. This allows you to easily collaborate or present to other users whether they’re right next to you or in another country. This greatly benefits any business as it provides a simple way to hold a meeting with users in many different locations, as well as providing the ability for file sharing, screen sharing, whiteboard collaboration and presenting PowerPoint presentation slides. To add even more functionality, if Skype for Business is integrated with Microsoft Outlook you can schedule and join meetings from within the application itself.
Federation or Skype for Business external connectivity enables a Skype for Business user to easily connect with any other user within other companies or organizations that use Skype for Business. Once connected the federated contacts are then able to communicate via Instant Messaging and Skype –to –Skype voice and video calls, as well as see the user’s presence (Available, Away, Offline). This makes communication between companies simple and easy. This is a feature we use often at VooServers as we are federated with numerous companies of which we provide support to. The main benefit of this is that it allows us to communicate with any users that are using Skype for Business within those companies. Another benefit of federation is that it enables you to access the consumer Skype directory and add those users to your contact list, effectively providing you with the ability to communicate with over 300 million users worldwide.
Integration with Office Applications
Skype for Business integrates easily with Microsoft Office. This enables you to see contact’s presences’, schedule meetings and start conversations all from within Office applications. This makes collaboration simple as numerous participants can see and simultaneously work on the same documents and eliminates the need to send documents back and forth for review and editing. Skype for Business also integrates with Outlook, providing features such as the ability to join or schedule meetings from within either Skype itself or Outlook and also integration with Outlook’s contact list. As Skype for Business can integrate with Exchange it has the ability to update a user’s presence based on the user’s Outlook calendar e.g. Skype for Business will access a user’s Outlook calendar, notice that the user is in a scheduled meeting and change the user’s presence, similar to the way it would if the user was in a voice or video call. This provides greater synchronisation between multiple applications and makes tasks between Outlook, Word and other Office applications seamless.
If you have any enquiries feel free to call 01622 524 200
By Jon Clark on July 28th, 2015