In recent years Microsoft’s Skype for Business application (previously Lync & OCS) has penetrated the collaboration market within corporate businesses, but is it because it is the best solution available? And what are the top 8 reasons to go for Skype for Business?
1. Well, let’s assume you went to the pet shop to buy a puppy! But there is only one puppy there. It’s still cute, fluffy and potentially lovable, but you don’t know how it compares to other puppies as it is the only one on offer. So perhaps you choose Skype for Business because it was the only puppy in the pet shop and you did not bother to look around for what else could be used or would be better.
2. It does everything in one neat package! Does it? S4B is like a Swiss Army knife. It has blades, scissors, nail file & clippers and even a screwdriver. But would you really use it to wrap your Christmas presents with or build a new kitchen? I would suggest you would get the right tool for the job.
3. It’s FREE! We already have it! Well, in business the saying is true that there is no such thing as a FREE lunch. The cost of implementing it is still there, the add-ons that don’t come with it out of the box need to be paid for and if it was free, what incentive would there be for Microsoft to improve it?
4. I have too much bandwidth and need to use it! S4B IS bandwidth hungry, especially on video and content sharing. The application also takes up a lot of PC resources and potentially slows down PC performance, so higher end PCs may be required. Most deployments find themselves improving links between sites to manage network traffic, this costs!
5. We need it only for IM mainly! WhatsApp is a good IM application. I would suggest it is perhaps better than S4B.
6. We don’t have any need with communication outside of our own business. Imagine having a mobile that can ONLY call phones on the SAME network? Can’t see many being sold, but… S4B is proprietary, an island that has no built-in interoperability with other vendor products. S4B can only call S4B. Why would a communications platform be so inward looking in a world that is all about communicating with everyone, everywhere at any time?
7. Ease of use is not important. I would challenge this statement. It is almost THE MOST IMPORTANT reason why an application will go viral. S4B may be easier once you have had some training on how to use it, but some of the nuances are not obvious. The iPhone became the loved product that it is because of ease of use. The growth of Smart Devices was purely down to ease of use. They are intuitive for all ages, children to grandparents. Can this be said of S4B? If ease of use is a need, then there are better packages out there. Ease of use promotes and enhances productivity.
8. My presentations are rubbish anyway! S4B has some level of difficulty presenting content. It is delayed when started and takes up network resources so can easily provide poorer quality than you expect.
I suspect there is an element of “Emperor’s new clothes” surrounding the performance of Skype for Business whereby most people think it is clunky, slow, poorly performing, bandwidth hungry and difficult to use but it is either too late to change, or the lack of appetite for further disruption is low or they know their voices will just be ignored. In some businesses, the people are voting with their fingertips. WhatsApp is gaining speed, although it is far from being a corporate product. Products and applications like StarLeaf Cloud Video Conferencing and their Breeze software App is by far easier to use and more efficient on resources than S4B and we are finding, at AuDeo, that even if an organisation has deployed S4B they are turning to StarLeaf for Room and Desktop Video Conferencing.
High quality, accurate and speedy Communications is the key to any business being successful. It is no coincidence that businesses NEED the best communications tools to enable THEIR company to be/stay competitive and profitable. The market can easily present a dizzying array of choice for Video Conferencing and other devices but there are 3 very important factors that should influence the choice:
• EASE OF USE
• VALUE FOR MONEY
Stick to these and you are unlikely to go wrong or choose S4B.