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Why You Should Consider Skype for Business and Office 365
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April 20, 2015

Why You Should Consider Skype for Business and Office 365

By Erik Linask
Group Editorial Director

“The economics around cloud are not theoretical anymore – someone else can run things more cheaply, better, and faster than you can.”

So noted Satyen Trivedy, Productivity Specialist, MS, at the most recent Skype for Business & Office 365 Tutorial outside Philadelphia. The implication is simple: Microsoft (News - Alert) can run your business applications better and more efficiently in the cloud than you can. Judging by the continued uptake of Office 365, he’s right.

The idea is that, through the cloud, users can enjoy a consistency of experience while enjoying the benefits of mobility. Many have said we are in a mobile-first world, but it may be more accurate to call it a cloud-first world. After all, it’s the cloud that powers that consistency of experience that users so desperately seek.

It’s that same concept that has driven the evolution of Microsoft Lync to Skype (News - Alert) for Business. Users leverage Skype in their consumer personas and it has become a familiar – often even necessary – part of their personal communications, which made the branding change a much more logical move than the alternative. After all, the Microsoft brand already comes with a certain credibility in the enterprise market. Now history is being combined with the recognition and familiarity that come with the Skype brand, to take advantage of a $70 billion market opportunity in Unified Communications (News - Alert). Given the massive amounts of ancient technology still deployed in enterprises, many will soon be looking for an alternative that will bring them to the forefront of modern communications.

According to Trivedy, that’s not Avaya, which is on the defense ever since its acquisition of Nortel, or Cisco (News - Alert), which is growing inorganically, which isn’t a sustainable model. That’s not to say neither has done anything worth carrying forward; rather, both are caught hopelessly between their hardware past and a global software future.

It’s the commitment to building a software-based cloud-focused communications environment that will allow Microsoft to deliver a unified and integrated experience across networks and devices, perhaps finally reaching the goal it set when it first launched OCS back in 2007.

That’s not to say there is no room for others. Microsoft can’t do it all (at least not yet). There are plenty of elements that a business using Skype for Business and Office 365 will need, including SBCs and other tools to allow full integration into business tools and processes.

Frankly, that’s what these Skype for Business & Office 365 Tutorials have been all about (the next one takes place tomorrow, in Bellevue, Washington, with the last stop on the currently scheduled tour coming in May in Playa Vista, California).

In addition to hearing about Microsoft’s plans for world domination, representatives from AudioCodes (News - Alert) and other partners provided an introduction to how the entire ecosystem would work together to provide the unified experience Trivedy came back to repeatedly, each citing increased productivity, cost savings, and IT efficiency as the key factors driving the growth of the Skype for Business ecosystem.

The challenge to date – and why these sessions are critical for businesses thinking about adoption of Microsoft as their communications platform – is that, as much as we are in a cloud-first world, we are far from a cloud-only world. The result is a very clear need for ecosystem partners to enable integration between applications, network infrastructure, and business processes. This is why solutions like AudioCodes OneBox 365, which easily adds voice and SBC functionality into an Office 365 deployment, are critical to growing adoption, and why sessions like these are an invaluable opportunity for businesses looking to understand how to maximize their investment in Lync or Office 365, or why they should be considering such an investment.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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