In April of 2015, Microsoft officially launched Skype for Business. Microsoft’s instant messaging and conferencing program has become more and more useful over the years, making it easier to do things like share documents, give presentations, and video chat.
One benefit that more companies are using or looking into using is utilizing Skype to replace their business’ existing phone system. Zunesis moved their phone system to Skype last year and has only begun to use some of its functionalities.
How Does it Work?
Skype’s Cloud PBX system does almost everything a regular PBX system does, but it also integrates with Office 365, allowing you to do things like send voicemails as an email, eliminating the need to ever check voicemail again. It does everything a landline does, such as hold and transfer, but it also has many features landlines don’t have.
As part of the Office 356 suite, Skype centralizes all administration in the cloud. This simplifies all administrative tasks, and allows users to make and receive calls anywhere, as long as they have the Skype app running on their laptop or mobile device. No longer do employees need to be tethered to a desk phone during business hours, and in a world of increasing mobility, this is incredibly useful. You don’t even need to get new phone numbers to replace your current system, Skype allows you to port any phone numbers, allowing you to keep your business number. No need for new business cards, or any emails to customers telling them your phone number has changed.
Another perk of using Skype instead of a traditional phone line is the flexible subscriptions. You can add or subtract users as you go so you never have to pay for more than what you are using. You can set permissions by giving some users the ability to make international calls, while only allowing others to make domestic calls.
Skype integrates VOIP capabilities with instant messaging and conferencing, making it a great communications tool. One can send instant messages, screen share, or make calls all from the same place, using the same contacts. You can dial by name from any office 365 app, or use the traditional dialer in Skype, which is a welcome familiarity for many users. It also comes with 5 licenses per user, so you can make calls from any device.
Some other features include:
Enterprise calendar call routing: where you can enable or disable call forwarding by using your exchange calendar business hours.
Do-not-disturb routing and call blocking: If you don’t want to be disturbed while you work on a big project, you can easily block calls except from those that you specifically indicate are ok to come through to you.
Device Switching or Transfer a Call to Another Person in your Office: Move from a headset to speakerphone with just a few clicks. Easily transfer calls to other people.
Caller ID, Call Waiting, Call Delegation, Call History and Call Forwarding: All tools available through Skype.
Support: Microsoft offers 24/7 support, so you never have to worry about phone lines going down. Anyone already using Office 365 should definitely be looking to replace their current phone systems with Skype. It offers so much for so little, costing around $8/user, it could end up saving your business money.
Additional Resources on Deployment, Licensing and Features of Skype Business Phone System:
- Set up Calling Plans: This article has step-by-step instructions to get set up with your phone numbers or to transfer your existing phone numbers to Skype for Business.
- Plan your Phone System in Office 365 (Cloud PBX) solution: This TechNet article lays out all of your deployment options. It also has information about planning an entirely cloud-only solution.
- Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams add-on licensing: Learn which licenses you need to buy to get the Phone System in Office 365.
- Set up Phone System voicemail – Admin help
- Discover Skype for Business: Help the people in your company learn how to use Skype for Business features.
As of September 2017, Microsoft announced that Microsoft Teams will replace Skype for Business and will add more functionality. The transition will occur over the next three years and Zunesis will keep you updated as further announcements are made.
If you are interested in learning more about using Skype for Business for your phone system, contact Zunesis for more information on how we can set up your company with licenses.