Implementing Skype for Business: what you need to consider

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It’s official: we’re in the midst of a business communications revolution.

First came the open-plan office, usurping the cubicle and quite literally breaking down the barriers to collaboration and communication. Snapping at its heels was the realisation that time spent on the commute could be time spent actually getting work done, and along came remote working and the hot desk. And then there was unified communications, bringing together previously standalone tools into a set of communications products with a single user interface.

While business aren’t bidding farewell to email and traditional telephony just yet, the ushering in of unified communications has seen myriad solutions thrust under the spotlight. But there’s one platform in particular that has been quietly raising the game when it comes to helping teams get stuff done: Skype for Business.

The days of “wait and see” for tentative CIOs as Skype dipped a toe into corporate waters have long past – Skype4B has proven itself well and truly fit for purpose in enterprises of all shapes and sizes. In fact, research by Spiceworks issued in January highlighted that of the large-scale enterprises utilising IM within their UC solution, 36% of them opted for Skype4B – far more than any other tool.

But for those considering a transition to Skype4B, the journey can throw up its fair share of challenges – and not from a solely practical point of view. Take employee adoption and change management, for example. While it’s all well and good having a CIO keen to consolidate existing applications with Skype4B, that doesn’t necessarily entail that the wider workforce will welcome the cultural shift. Strategies for change management, training and adoption are, therefore, an important tool to have in your arsenal from the get-go.

Another key consideration is the form your transition is likely to take, as this will impact the resources you require. For many companies a move to Skype4B isn’t a standard rip-and-replace mission – enterprises are often looking to complement an existing UC solution with Skype4B, or roll it out for a specific department, for example.

If a full move isn’t on the cards, you’ll need resources with expertise across both your legacy systems and the new platform – only then will you understand the full scope of your UC journey and gain the insight needed to create a transition plan that minimises any potential disruption.

But it doesn’t stop there – here are some other considerations you should be looking to include on your Skype4B implementation checklist:

  • Ensuring the right infrastructure is in place
  • Transferring data across systems while keeping your organisation operational
  • Synchronising central email with mobile laptops
  • Ensuring your network can meet increased demand in real-time communications
  • What you’ll do with your existing technology investment
  • Ensure your organisation is culturally ready for the changes

While there’s no right or wrong approach to these considerations, having the right expertise onside is a sure-fire way to stay on the front foot throughout your deployment.

In Maintel’s whitepaper, Skype for Business: officially ready for business, we share our expertise on all things Skype4B and take you through a number of key considerations you should keep in mind if you’re looking to make the move to Skype4B. We also share four different strategies for deploying Skype4B in your business, along with answers to some of the most common questions the Maintel team are asked by customers around the tool.

 

Rhianne Muir, Content Marketing Manager, Maintel

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