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The Top 10 Ways to Maximize Your Skype for Business Investment

Microsoft Skype for Business (formerly Lync) is transforming enterprise communications. Over 50% of organizations have deployed Skype for Business in at least part of their organization, with another 15% of organizations planning to do so in the next 12 months. If you’re in this group of organizations that have deployed Lync, you probably deployed instant messaging (IM) and presence. Now that Lync IM and presence has been running for a while, you’re thinking about taking the next step with Skype for Business Enterprise Voice. Organizations that want to maximize
the investment in Skype for Business infrastructure should consider the following:

  1. Take the next step and implement Skype for Business Enterprise Voice now. This is low-hanging fruit. Skype for Business Enterprise Voice makes calling simpler and more efficient, and it can cut the TCO for running a phone system by as much as 50%. Implementation of Enterprise Voice in Skype for Business is straightforward and low risk when you work with the right partners to make it happen.
  2. Use Skype for Business to improve disaster recovery planning. Creating communications resiliency has been difficult, if not impossible, with traditional PBX infrastructure. Skype for Business breaks the model of tying unified communications (UC) services to a single location, making it easier to create communications redundancy. With the right network planning, the uptime of an IP-based system like Skype for Business can actually be higher than that of traditional systems.
  3. Deploy Skype for Business Video. The use of video in the workplace is at an all-time high. It enables organizations to collaborate better, train employees more efficiently and interact with customers in new ways. Skype for Business– based Video allows users to seamlessly connect with other workers using the visual medium through the same interface they use to call or chat. Plus, it easily integrates with existing room system investments most customers have already made.
  4. Make Skype for Business part of your BYOD strategy. A successful BYOD implementation should be about more than just granting access to consumer devices. Smart phones and tablets offer a rich experience and make a great collaboration tool. Skype for Business on mobile devices gives workers the ability to collaborate, even when they’re remote.
  5. Consolidate infrastructure. Historically, communications infrastructure was deployed on a node-by-node basis, so each location, no matter how small, had its own system. Skype for Business is a software platform that can be deployed centrally, with the corporate WAN being used to connect users. Organizations can consolidate functions like call control and session management into a few locations very much like other corporate applications today. This makes system management easier and will save significant amounts of money.
  6. Use Skype for Business to improve telecommuting. Managing remote workers is a challenge for many organizations. The collaborative capabilities of Skype for Business can improve the social and ad hoc interactions between workers whether they are in a corporate office, in a branch office or working from home.
  7. Establish virtual meeting rules of engagement. Because of the proliferation of remote workers and road warriors, virtual meetings have become more and more common. One of the challenges of virtual meetings is to maximize the efficiency of individuals not in the room, as it is often difficult to follow meetings remotely. Establishing rules of engagement for the virtual meeting such as mandating the use of video to understand body language, the use of chat for side-bar conversations and the recording of sessions for playback later can greatly improve the effectiveness of virtual meetings.
  8. Migrate to SIP trunking. Many Skype for Business Enterprise Voice deployments use IP across the company but use legacy connections to communicate with people outside the company. Migrating to SIP trunks can extend the benefits of IP to the carrier network, making it easier to do B2B collaboration. Additionally, SIP trunks provide a path to UC cloud services. Lastly, consolidating trunks and migrating to SIP can save up to 70% (ZK Research) over legacy trunking costs.
  9. Build UC-enabled applications. Skype for Business is more of a UC platform than it is a communications system. Skype for Business applications such as voice, video, chat and presence can be built into your line-of-business applications. This can create communications-enabled applications that streamline many processes that may be plagued with high levels of human latency.
  10. Train, train and train. Some organizations may choose to implement Skype for Business and allow the usage to grow virally. However, companies that train employees on the advanced features of Skype for Business have higher utilization and worker satisfaction, with over 75% fewer help desk calls. A little training will go a long way.

Skype for Business on the worker’s desktop for IM and presence is a great place to start the deployment, but it’s just the beginning of the Skype for Business journey. By taking the right steps, organizations will realize a rapid ROI with lower costs and more productive users.

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Jason Ward
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