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Thinking of Implementing Skype for Business? Here's Three Things You Should Do

Posted by Kevin Gulley

Mar 8, 2016

collaboration_engagement_enterprise.jpgRegardless of how much we all love our iPhones, Microsoft still dominates the business world. Windows and Office are still on almost every desktop (and Office is now all over smartphones), giving Redmond an enormous advantage in UC visibility.  With Skype for Business now being bundled with certain licenses of Office 365 and the new Cloud PBX making it easier to deploy Enterprise Voice, it is no wonder I predicted Skype for Business will be an 800-pound gorilla at  Enterprise Connect this year.

That’s all well and good, but if your company is planning on implementing S4B you still need to get your team to use it, and use it effectively, in order to get a Return-on-Investment.  Here are three things you should build into your plan as priorities to maximize adoption and usage.

Start With Presence and IM and Insist People Use It

Since The UC Buyer has been up and running, one thing I’ve heard over and over is that companies use presence management and instant messaging and integrate it into their culture consider their UC implementations as success.  That’s why I call presence management The Little Application That Could.   

In a recent article we discussed how getting executives on board to set clear expectations can help increase presence adoption.  Insisting (in the nicest possible way, of course) that presence and IM be used seems to be a no brainer.

[As Aldo Ramirez from ANPI explained, “By communicating that ‘we are going to be a company that uses Presence Management and IM every day and each of you will be expected to open your software and keep your Presence updated,’  makes it pretty clear that UC is more than just a new telephone.” ]

Integrate With Outlook

Statistically speaking, chances are pretty good that your company is already using Outlook and it is your primary email and calendaring app.  And I hear the new Outlook iPhone app is really good, so it may be your mobile app as well.  So here’s another thing to consider right away….Integrate Skype for Business with Outlook.  Everybody schedules meetings in Outlook calendar every day, just make it clear that you can now make that a Skype meeting.  Suddenly employees have their own conference bridge - and web conference link - and video conferencing ready to roll.  Took 2 seconds.

Not everyone is going to be comfortable in a Skype meeting on Day 1, but get invited to a couple of them and employees will quickly forget they  didn’t know how to use it.  From there it’s a tiny step to start setting up their own S4B meetings. 

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Dig Deeper:  Download - The Two Shifts That Will Propel Skype for Business Adoption and Usage

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Give a Headset to Everyone Who Would Benefit

Another theme I keep hearing is that headset usage is a big driver of UC adoption and employee satisfaction. There are two real reasons why I think this is the case:

Headsets Increase Productivity

Two words;  Hands Free.  If you have knowledge workers working in your office, they immediately become more productive if they start taking their phone calls and video calls while using a headset (or a desktop speakerphone when the situation is right).  Making sure each employee has a headset that fits their work profile and that they are comfortable with can make a big difference in headset adoption. 

Related:  The Right Audio Endpoints for UC: A Balance of Business Requirements and Personal Preferences

You Can Control Your Acoustic Environment

Open offices are the future.  They can be great for collaboration, but they can also be noisy and distracting making it difficult to get head-down work done.  Headsets can help employees manage their acoustics allowing them to concentrate better.

Oh yeah, and you can listen to music on them if that is your thing. Doesn’t work for me...I start singing and nobody wants that.  And you can have noise cancelling earphones and microphones to keep the roar to a minimum for when you need to concentrate.  And with business headsets you can switch between music and headphones and they will even light up when you are on the phone or need to get some work done and don’t want to be interrupted.  

These are some of the things we have heard work.  What is working for you?  Are there other ideas we should be sharing.  Let us know in the comments section below.









Topics: Voice, video, collaboration, Employees, Adoption, Best Practices, Headsets,, Skype for Business