Goodbye Lync, Hello Skype for Business!
Microsoft has officially started shifting customers from Lync over to Skype for Business, as part of a monthly update for Office 2013. Skype for Business is set to replace the outdated Microsoft Lync enterprise communication tool. With their use of Lync’s features, as well as the fresh interface and simplified controls of Skype, Microsoft hopes users will appreciate the power and simplicity of Skype for Business.
New Look and Feel
NewsFactor describes how Skype for Business brings Skype’s recognizable design, integrated with numerous Lync features (like the capability for online meetings, enhanced security, and control tools for IT departments).
The simplified presentation of controls and menus makes it easy to find the command you need in the Skype Meeting window. Additionally, chat text is designed so that you can easily see who’s talking in the conversation window, while tabbed conversations allow you to keep track of several discussions at the same time.
Skype for Business offers another feature called file transfer preview that makes it easier to view files sent during an IM conversation. When someone sends you a file, you can select Download in the IM window to update the file’s icon, or you can right-click/tap and hold to forward, preview, or delete the file.
Call via Work
Call via Work allows enterprise users to make outbound calls using Skype for Business. Microsoft explains that when a user places a voice call, it is routed from Skype for Business to the originator’s desk phone. The originator then answers the phone and the call is directed to the destination number. When the call recipient answers, the call is established with Skype for Business serving as the control panel. The originator will then be able to manage their presence and call controls from Skype for Business.
Because server admins enable and configure Call via Work for the enterprise, end users have limited configuration capabilities. If the number has been set and locked by the administrator, the outgoing call options will be unavailable to the end user.
Skype Directory Integration
With Skype for Business, users can search for and connect with anyone in the Skype network, whether they’re inside or outside the user’s organization. This feature, as well as the Call via Work feature are only available if your organization has Skype for Business Server 2015.
Call Monitor allows you to move back and forth between a full Skype for Business window (when you’re actively participating in the call) and a more compact window that lets you continue to monitor call progress (and mute or end the call) while still being able to focus on other tasks.
Whenever the main conversation window is minimized during an audio or video call, the compact Call Monitor window will appear. You can get the full conversation window to reappear by double-clicking on the Call Monitor.
Rate My Call
Skype for Business Server 2015 admins can collect call data, access standard reports, and export raw data for further analysis using the Rate My Call feature. After completing the call, users can be prompted to take a survey.
Quick Access to Call Controls
Skype for Business offers improved access to the dial-pad and call controls. The dial-pad and call controls remain visible throughout the call during public switched telephone network (PSTN) calls and are accessible with one click for non-PSTN calls.
The same set of emoticons found in the consumer version of Skype are now included in Skype for Business. This feature can be easily turned off, by going to Options > IM.
Start the Journey with Microsoft
Microsoft has stated that Skype for Business is the foundation for everything they’re doing next; here’s how they plan to expand the future of enterprise communication: