What is Skype for Business?
In the 4th Quarter of 2014, Microsoft announced plans to rename its business communication tool Lync to Skype for Business. Lync is a tool that Microsoft has invested in for the past decade, offering a single application that combines all of the communication tools for business. It became a core part of the Office enterprise. When the latest version of Lync is released in 2015, it will be named Skype for Business and include a new server release, client interface, and updates for the UC service in Office 365.
Essentially, customers will enjoy new tools and features like:
- Access to any Skype user on any device
- Skype’s familiar functionality icons
- Skype’s call monitor feature so active calls stay visible when using other applications
- Lync’s content sharing, IM, and telephony
- Improved access and interface functionality
- Ease of use taken from consumer Skype versions
- Security and scalability for every business user
The Future of Business Communication is Skype for Business
Skype for Business is designed to take advantage of all of the best features of Lync and Skype, creating a dynamic communication tool that will take business to a new level. The familiar Skype icons and call monitor are used in this new application, as are the telephony and content sharing features of Lync. Transferring calls takes just one click with the new platform, not three. Lync already features audio calls and instant messaging that can connect to Skype users, but the new platform adds video calling features to increase functionality. Plus, Microsoft is working on a new functionality to come later this year: voice in the cloud.
Where to Find Skype for Business
Microsoft has Office 365 products for organizations of all sizes. The Enterprise edition is often the first choice among larger corporations, and will now include many of the Skype for Business features in some bundles. The Business Essentials collection also offers this application, but it doesn’t offer the Full Enterprise features. Office 365 E4 is the only version with the Full Enterprise Voice Capability. Microsoft makes it easy to compare and choose your perfect edition on their website.
Live Training and Support
Starting on February 23, 2015, Skype for Business is hosting a Readiness webcast, which was created by experts in the industry, and focuses on educating administrators and business owners extensively on the capabilities and features of this application. Registration is required, and can be completed here: Skype for Business Readiness. Microsoft is also hosting its own training sessions as a part of Office 365 Summit, a global conference for hands-on learners.