The Difference Between Skype and Skype For Business
In April 2015, Microsoft re-branded its office communication tool, Lync, to Skype for Business. Its a change that gives it better brand recognition but has created much confusion as to how it actually differs from the consumer version of Skype we are all accustomed to.
Skype for Business and Skype are vastly different even though they share a common name. They are both unified communication tools, they have a similar logo and color scheme, but under the hood they are vastly different in their features and functions.
Skype allows users to communicate with any other Skype user for free via IM, voice, video and screen sharing, and conference calls for up to 25 people. With Skype you can get a phone number and make PSTN calls that you pay for by the minute. Skype can be used for business but it best for small organizations or startups. A small organization could setup Skype, have seamless communication among their team and clients for free or a relatively small cost, and be able to work and communicate from any location on any device. Skype is a great tool, but it doesn’t have all the functionality of an enterprise phone system which is where Skype for Business comes in.
Skype for Business encompasses all the same features: IM, voice, video, screen sharing on all your devices, from any location. Phone numbers can be ordered or ported into the system for PSTN calling as well, but it has many more enterprise features which makes it capable of replacing an office phone system. First, Skype for Business allows for advanced call routing and handling that most businesses require. You can setup hunt groups, delegates, advanced forwarding options, and auto attendants, most of which is needed in a large enterprise setting.
Skype for Business can also replace conferencing services, it allows for up to 250 users on single conference call, it has dial -in conference invites that are built into Outlook for easy meeting setup, and has dozens of meeting options and controls that consumer Skype does not. Skype for Business allows you to record your meetings, and gives you special meeting controls for presenters and a meeting lobby for attendees. The consumer version of Skype lacks all of these features.
Skype for Business gives you enterprise-grade security, allows you to manage employee accounts, and is integrated into your Office apps. Also, Skype for Business has real-time availability that’s integrated with your calendar which means your Outlook calendar will automatically update your Skype for Business presence, showing co-workers when you’re available for calls or IMs and when you’re not.
Skype for Business is made for larger organizations looking to replace their current phone system with a cloud-based PBX. It has all the same functions as a traditional office phone system but because it is software and cloud-based it allows for their team and users to be mobile and connected using multiple forms of communication. Additionally, larger organizations usually have dedicated conference rooms so satellite offices can communicate over video with each other. Skype for Business was built specifically with this type of setup in mind and will let you use stand-alone cameras and monitors, audio gear from Polycom, and online white boarding.
While this is not meant to be an all-encompassing list of Skype for Business features, the chart below will help you determine whether Skype or Skype for Business will work best for your environment.
If you are looking for a Unified Communication platform like Skype or Skype for Business, let us help point you in the right direction by helping you determine what is the best fit for your organization to help you be more mobile, collaborative, and productive. Click below to setup a consultative call regarding your needs!