With businesses becoming increasingly globalised, many find themselves looking for efficient ways to work at scale across dispersed workforces and geographies. Skype for Business is the popular choice for many organisations as it provides simple, efficient ways for employees to communicate & collaborate not only with each other, but with their external customers, partners & suppliers.
Skype for Business enables both mobile working and collaborative remote working. The platform is designed to work on most devices, including Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, meaning you can join or initiate calls from wherever you are.
In this blog, we take a look at the top 5 quick wins you can achieve just by turning on the power of Skype for Business in your existing Office 365 package.
1. Instant messaging & presence
Perhaps the most obvious of the features that add immediate value to your business, Instant Messaging & Presence (IM & Presence).
It has been suggested that only one in three business emails we receive are essential for work. As a result, many businesses are striving towards ‘inbox zero’, yet email remains a huge drain on efficiency and productivity.
Skype for Business can be part of the solution to the email problem. In businesses that have adopted it, the IM & Presence features have been proven to save time by reducing the number of emails sent and received.
Instant Messaging lets you get a quick response to urgent questions, can be used to check if your colleague is free to have a call with you, and is a fast way of sharing documents, files and presentations.
The Presence feature on Skype for Business is also great for facilitating collaborative working. By enabling employees to set their status to show their availability and location, Presence allows their colleagues to choose the most effective method and time to communicate with them. The feature is linked to your Outlook calendar, so when you are busy or out of the office, your presence will automatically adjust for this.
If Presence says your colleague is not available, you can simply tag them for status changes and you will receive an instant alert to let you know when you can contact them.
2. Reduce non-essential travel
There will always be times when a face-to-face meeting is needed, but for the majority of business scenarios a video call is the next best thing. By reducing non-essential travel time and cutting down on travel expenses, you can quickly start to see significant cost savings as well as productivity gains for those involved.
Skype for Business offers video calls for one-to-one meetings or group video calls, which allow up to 250 people to join the call. Other features, such as the virtual whiteboard, allow everyone to contribute and make it easy to record the outcomes.
3. Screen sharing & collaboration
One of the major benefits of Skype for Business is the ability to share your screen with other users through the “Present” feature which is available within every conversation. Not only can you share your desktop but also programs such as Microsoft Word, ExCel and PowerPoint.
Presentations can take place between colleagues, clients and even other companies. Users can use Instant Messaging, Screen Sharing and Presentation Mode to share resources or information between colleagues, customers, suppliers & partners.
Whiteboard provides participants with access to a whiteboard, allowing you to collaborate or brainstorm, copy and paste notes and even save the whiteboard as a PNG file.
There is even an option to capture and store the whole meeting. In addition to the audio and video from the call, you also get a record of any instant messaging or screen-sharing activity that took place. The virtual whiteboard is also recorded, so your sketches and diagrams (regardless of your artistry!) will also be backed up.
This saves time on note-taking and ensures that anyone who missed the meeting can simply watch the re-run, complete with instant messaging commentary and visuals.
In addition, the benefits can be amplified when combined with applications such as SharePoint or OneNote, where notes can be captured and documents modified in real time, making them instantly available to teams after the call without the need for circulating anything separately.
4. Deliver training through skype for business
Keeping your staff skills and knowledge up to date is important, but can be complex and timely. Delivering your training requirements through Skype for Business can reduce the logistical challenges and costs involved, especially with a geographically dispersed workforce.
Staff no longer need to be out of the office for a full day, you can create and deliver modular training packages that can be organised, delivered and run through Skype for Business, meaning your staff no longer even need to leave their desk!
With Skype for Business you can easily present & share your desktop to give a live demonstration; add poll questions to keep the session interactive; engage the audience with instant messaging; record the session and attach all training materials in the IM window to reduce the email clutter and avoid bounce back or undelivered due to file size restrictions.
Skype for Business external connectivity (federation) provides a trusted link between two organisations that enables a Skype for Business user to connect with users in other organisations. Your internal users can enjoy all the benefits of IM & Presence as shown above, but with your external partners, customers & suppliers.
Federated contacts can see Presence, communicate by using IM, and make Skype-to-Skype audio and video calls.
Imagine your internal workers enjoying all the above benefits of collaborative working with your external partners, customers & suppliers. Speed the decision-making process; share screens and work on documents instantly, and record the calls/presentations.
Unlock even more benefits of Skype for Business by adding voice calls
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Global Marketing Manager, Modality Systems