Office 365 Spotlight: Skype for Business

You may have heard of Skype before, but did you know that it works exceptionally well for businesses? I’m here to set the record straight and share how Skype for Business communication capabilities and integration with Office 365 can be a game changer for companies that need better internal and external communication. 

Let’s take a look at the basics. This picture shows my Skype for Business groups tab. From here, I can see which of my contacts are online.

Notice that Skype tells me  current status of all of my contacts. If they are in a meeting, Skype will automatically update their status to busy.If their computer is idle for longer than 5 minutes, Skype will update their status to away. This way you never have to wonder if you are interrupting someone with a call.  

My favorites group is at the top of my contact list, but you can customize your groups however you like. I like to organize my groups by department so I can quickly find the person that I need to talk to within my contact list. 

The second tab in the Skype for Business window shows a record of recent conversations and calls that I have made. When I instant message on Skype, the conversations are automatically saved so I can return to them if I need to.

It also makes a record of calls that I make and receive in case I need to remember the last time I called a certain person. I can also record Skype for Business calls, but we will discuss that later.

The third tab gives me a familiar phone keypad. This allows me to call actual phone numbers from Skype for Business. Below the keypad, Skype shows voicemails that I have recently received and allows me to listen to them directly within Skype.

On the bottom of the screen, Skype gives me the option to forward my calls to another number. This comes in handy when I need to step out of the office and go mobile. I can forward the calls to my cell phone and not worry about missing calls while I’m gone.  

Now I want to walk through an example of how Skype works great in a business setting. I need to schedule a meeting with a coworker for later this afternoon in order to go over some marketing materials. The first thing I’ll do is go to Outlook and create a new appointment on my calendar.

Because Outlook is connected to Skype for Business, Outlook gives me an option to turn my new appointment into a Skype meeting. When my appointment becomes a Skype meeting, Outlook automatically generates an invite form and fills in a message with links to the meeting and phone numbers to join the meeting by phone. 

After I send the meeting invitation through Outlook, the invitee can accept or decline the invitation from within the message. I didn’t receive an email saying that Kristian accepted the meeting invite so I should send him a Skype message to check if he got my invite.

 

It’s time for my meeting with Kristian so I’ll go back to my Skype for Business window and click on the fourth tab. This tab shows all upcoming Skype meetings that I have scheduled. All I need to do is double click on the meeting and the meeting window will open.

This is what the meeting window looks like. I know that Kristian has already joined the meeting because his picture is shown in the main window and it tells me there are 2 participants in the meeting.

From the meeting window, Skype gives me a lot of options. I can add more people to the meeting, add video, share my desktop screen, mute my microphone, record the meeting, and even send an instant message to the meeting attendants. I can even give a meeting attendee control over my screen if I choose. This can be useful for technical support issues or training exercises. 

Many people don’t realize the potential of Skype for Business and just assume it is used for voice calling. Skype can help manage your meetings, improve internal communication through instant messaging, and connect with other aspects of Office 365 like the Outlook calendar.

If you haven’t experienced Skype for Business, it is definitely worth giving a try. We would be happy to schedule a demo of the entire Office 365 stack! Contact us to learn more.