Connecting Technology and Business.

Cut costs on third-party comunication apps - Use Skype for Business

One of our customers was struggling to cut down costs on communication which at one point shot up to unmanageable levels. While they were already subscribers to O365 plans that included Skype for Business, their users were ignorant of the capabilities of Skype for Business and so they kept using the traditional applications that came to them at an added cost. I showcased the features of Skype for business that contained more than what their traditional and costly applications offered. Now they are looking forward to a lot of savings as Skype for Business is their current app of choice for communication.

Here are some of the various productivity features that might make Skype for Business the first choice for internal as well as external communication:

Presence and app integration

  1. Show your presence and availability to others in the team, your department and the whole enterprise from any device from anywhere – just sign into Skype for Business in your Laptop or Desktop or Lync 2013 app in your mobile devices (iPad, Android tabs, Windows phone/ iPhone / Android phone.

  2. You can move your status to “Do not disturb” so that others may know you are busy – they can’t even ping you in Skype for Business when you are in Do not disturb status.

  3. When you start a mail or reply to a mail, stop and think twice – you can connect with the respective persons through Skype for business if they are online and are available. Click on the person’s name from the To box and start a conversation. The Subject line of the mail (if any) will automatically become the title of the conversation window.

  4. You can do a lot in the Chat window to minimize the number of mails exchanged – all the texts exchanged are saved in the Conversation history folder of your mailbox in Outlook.

Ad hoc Meetings

  1. You can add people with just a Skype id to your contacts list. They don’t have to subscribers to Office 365 services.

  2. You can create a federation with other client / customer Business enterprises (that have Office 365 subscription) at the admin level if you frequently communicate with them. (Kindly contact IT dept. for this). This will enable seamless communication between you and them.

  3. Start a chat with anybody in your Skype for Business contact list by just double clicking on the id and clicking on the Balloon icon.

  4. If you want to include one or more persons into an already open conversation window, click the Plus icon on the top right corner of the window  and search for the respective person from the contact list. You can also drag that person’s id from the Skype for Business window to the conversation window. Make sure he is available and inform him first before bringing him in.

  5. Click on the Phone receiver icon to connect with the participants through audio conferencing. Make sure you have a good headphones and a mic to have a real good audio conferencing experience. Your smart phone’s hands-free will suffice.

  6. Click on the Video Camera icon to connect with the participants through HD video conferencing.

  7. You can share your screen (desktop, one or more open windows/programs, White Board) or run a PowerPoint presentation by clicking the More option from the Monitor icon.

  8. Requesting for control, giving control and taking back control of the desktops and screens is possible during such meetings.

  9. Except for the text exchanges, nothing else of this ad hoc meeting is recorded.

Scheduled Meetings / Webinars

  1. You can schedule an online meeting by

    1. Clicking on the New Items option of the Outlook window and choosing the Skype Meeting option

    2. Opening a new appointment window from outlook calendar and clicking on the Skype meeting option.

  2. A “Join Skype meeting” link is generated on the notes area which will be required by the meeting attendees to join the online meeting

  3. This meeting request can be sent to the invitees irrespective of whether they have an O365  subscription / Skype id or not

  4. Attendees with a Skype for Business subscription will have a Skype window open during the meeting. Others who join from the meeting link will have a browser opened to attend the meeting. (Think of Remote interviews and On boarding of new recruits)

  5. Attendees can join the meeting from wherever they are  using any device that is audio and video enabled and has a connection to the internet.

  6. Up to 250 attendees can be accommodated in scheduled meeting

  7. This meeting can be recorded in its entirety – chat, audio, video and screen shares - and shared with the participants and those who missed it later on by posting it in SharePoint. External attendees cannot record the meeting, request/give/take control of the shared desktop.

  8. A Poll can be floated during the meeting to gauge the interest of the attendees and to gather their opinion