5 Things to Consider before Switching to Skype for Business
Skype for Business, formerly known as Microsoft Lync, is Microsoft’s answer to Unified Communications Conferencing. It slots into your existing Microsoft infrastructure and includes the different types of internal communications – which is where Skype for Business truly shines. Since its release in 2015, it has become one of the key players in Conference Calling, despite its foundation in instant messaging. Yet, there are a few factors to consider before switching your conferencing services to Skype for Business.
1. External Collaborators
Some of the attraction for Skype for Business for a lot of stakeholders are the robust security features, like the server to server authentication. However, these same security measures make it difficult for collaborators, partners or clients to connect with meetings unless they are part of your domain. To counteract this, you need to have a plan in place for when external collaborators want to join a call. Unfortunately, we have seen use cases where companies have opted to apply for temporary internal emails from their ICT departments which could take several days planning. To counteract this we developed a useful tool – 247Lync. It connects easily external callers to your Skype for Business Conference Calls.
2. Impact & Dependency on Network Performance
Skype for Business can be heavy on Network Resources. It is due to many factors, a large number of end users utilising video and/or audio. Skype for Business was developed with the desire for high quality in mind, and as a result, the software is resource heavy. The security features and encryption can also take up a lot of network bandwidth. This may affect the efficiencies of other applications in use. It also means that Skype for Business depends on both your company and any end users remote from your Network, having access to an extensive and high-quality network.
Due to the need for high-end resources to run Skype for Business, quality can suffer if you have participants working in poor network areas. A home office might be as complicated. This can impact your end users being able to work on time-sensitive issues while out of the office. It can also affect their ability to collaborate while ‘on-site’ for the company. Additionally, Skype for Business uses Voice over IP for its audio which can result in latency or crunchy sound due to packet loss.
4. SLA and Customer Support
When your business relies on a service, you like to know that you can depend on that service to be in good working order when you need it the most. A lot of conference call services have Service Level Agreements with their customers to ensure this peace of mind. Skype for Business is covered by the Office 365 SLA, but unless the entire suite of apps goes down at once, it’s not likely that Microsoft would acknowledge a Skype for Business’ outage to be in breach of their SLA terms. About customer service, as with any bundle of applications, getting timely customer support can be difficult. Instead of access to a dedicated and specialised team, you may have to escalate your support ticket through tiers of help desk generalists before reaching the desired specialist. As we all know, time is money.
Skype for Business is also dependant on every participant on your call being a Skype for Business user. In preparation to join you for a call, they will have to install a new and intrusive software which they are unlikely to use again. This can cause technical difficulties and eats into your collaborators’ time. It gets worse when they are external collaborators who cannot turn to your IT for support.
These five factors may not affect every Skype for Business’ call you organise, but they are worth bearing in mind. This way you can have a plan of action to overcome these issues when they arise. We hope this information keeps your conference calls running smoothly!