Making Skype for Business Better — White Paper with Frost & Sullivan

If you are a member of the corporate workplace, there is a good chance you use Skype® for Business as a cornerstone of your daily communications. With more than 140 million licensed users on Skype for Business, Microsoft has becoming a major name in enterprise communications. However, not all users get as much out of the platform as they could. For maximum return on investment (ROI), users must demonstrate optimized usage habits, and companies must adjust their Skype for Business strategy to optimize the product and produce maximum ROI.

How can you maximize your Skype for Business journey? The key lies in a trusted partnership. By partnering with other companies and service providers, Microsoft opens up the door for value-add capabilities that can enhance the Skype for Business experience. If you are looking to boost user engagement and employee productivity, enhance audio quality on your conference calls, receive better Skype for Business support or customize your Skype for Business experience, a partnership with a reliable vendor is the way to go.

PGi recently teamed up with Frost & Sullivan to explore how to maximize your Skype for Business investment. To learn more, download the white paper “Making Skype for Business Better: Tips for Improving the User and IT Experience” today.

Do I Need a Skype for Business Audio Provider?

Audio is a crucial aspect of web conferencing; without great audio, you simply cannot have a great meeting. Here at PGi, we are dedicated to spreading the gift of crystal-clear audio far and wide, which is why we offer integration of our GlobalMeet® Audio into a number of unified communications solutions like Skype®  for Business. If you’re ready to take your Skype for Business meetings to the next level, read on to learn how choosing a Skype for Business audio provider can alleviate some of the challenges and pain points of your Skype for Business meetings.

Challenge #1: Poor Audio Quality in Meetings

If you’re experiencing less than perfect audio quality during your Skype for Business meeting, it might be time to upgrade to an audio conferencing provider like GlobalMeet Audio by PGi. With our audio integration, users get the highest quality audio for web conferencing and online meetings. 

Challenge #2: Trouble Connecting Outside Participants

GlobalMeet Audio allows you to connect participants that are outside of the organization’s firewall with your Skype for Business account. PGi’s dial-in and dial-out numbers connect PSTN callers from any location, including those outside of your company. With this feature, you can start using Skype for Business for internal and external communication.

Challenge #3: Lack of Global Coverage

Lacking global PSTN coverage with your current Skype for Business features? PGi offers an expansive and reliable global network, including 140 local access numbers and 30+ telecom carriers, all optimized for audio collaboration.

Challenge #4: The Need to Let Participants Join from Any Device

Make Skype for Business even more convenient for your team by enabling participants to join meetings from any device. GlobalMeet Audio connects participants on dial-in, dial-out and Internet connections in the same Skype for Business meeting.

Challenge #5: Lack of Easy Integration with Skype for Business

Integrating an audio conferencing solution doesn’t have to be difficult. Organizations that are missing a solution that easily integrates with Skype for Business should consider GlobalMeet Audio by PGi. Our solution seamlessly integrates with the user interface and workflow of Skype for Business.

Final Thoughts

Choosing an audio conferencing provider can be challenging, but there are certain things that you can look for to ensure you’ll be working with the right one. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Strength of Infrastructure: An audio provider with a network and infrastructure that is enterprise grade to ensure quality so that your service is never interrupted at a critical moment.
  • Hybrid Audio Support: An audio conferencing provider’s network that can support hybrid audio will be key to maintaining productivity and collaboration as the workforce becomes more mobile.
  • Global Presence: Your next big client could be halfway around the world, which is why global presences and commitment to delivering quality audio to participants is important.
  • Integrations: Your audio provider should easily integrate into popular unified communications services so that all employees can experience the same consistent audio no matter where they are.

Request a trial today to learn more about how Skype for Business integrates with GlobalMeet Audio by PGi.

Getting the Most Out of GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business

PGi’s GlobalMeet® Audio for Skype® for Business audio integration is a hybrid solution that seamlessly delivers enterprise-class audio for meetings anywhere around the world. It helps ensure that every meeting has the best audio quality possible, regardless of the device you choose to meet with. In order help you get the most out of your next GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business meeting, we’ve compiled a few tips and tricks below:

Set Meeting Audio Options:

Pick the device that you’d prefer to use, whether it’s your computer, desk phone or mobile phone. Setting meeting audio options to best fit your needs will help save time at the start of your meetings.

There are three different ways to join the audio portion of a Skype for Business meeting. Each time you join a meeting, Skype for Business will automatically displays the Join Meeting Audio screen and guide you to select your audio option. You can choose from the following options:

  1. You can connect over Skype for Business by using your computer microphone and speakers, or a headset.
  2. You can have Skype for Business call you at a number you specify.
  3. You can call into the meeting from your desk or mobile phone.

Music on Hold Feature:

Using the music on hold feature during your meetings will make it so that participants will need to wait for you before they can begin conversation with other guests. This gives you the chance to properly introduce meeting participants if necessary.

If the music on hold feature is available for your company, you and your guests should dial in to your audience conference bridge instead of using the Skype client to attend. Why? When you use the Skype client attend, music on hold is silenced as soon as the first participant joins the meeting. As the meeting host, you can dial in and provide your moderator passcode so that guests will hear music until you join.

Mute & Unmute Audience Command:

Understanding how to use the mute button correctly will help you become a better meeting host and avoid any unnecessary background noise or distractions.

To mute all participants in the meeting, go to the Participants panel and then click Participant Actions. Select Mute Audience. All guests’ lines in the meeting will be muted.

To unmute participants, select Participant Actions then Unmute Audience. All meeting guests are automatically unmuted. Attendees on their computer will be shown a message that the presenter has unmuted the call. Participants are free to unmute themselves using their own controls.

If you don’t see a Participant Access button in your panel, your Skype for Business meeting is set to allow all people to join equally. You’ll want to go to your Skype meeting options and change who’s a presenter and who has restricted access.

End Meeting & Disconnect All Participants:

Make sure your conference call ends the right way, and that all your meeting participants are disconnected properly.

To end your audio conference call, simply use the Disconnect button. But, be aware that it leaves you meeting guests connected to the audio conference. To end the meeting and disconnect all participants, you’ll need to click More Options, and then select End Meeting.

Use these tips and tricks for your next GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business meeting to make sure your event is flawless and interruption-free. New to GlobalMeet Audio? Be sure to check out PGi’s Skype audio conferencing capabilities and see how your company can get the most out of Skype for Business.

How to Set Up GlobalMeet Audio with Skype for Business

You’ve already made the commitment to better audio, but you probably have a few questions about how to get GlobalMeet® Audio with Skype® for Business up and running. The guide that follows will walk you through the setup process and answer any questions that might arise as your prepare to use GlobalMeet Audio with Skype for Business for the first time.

Getting Started

When you signed up for GlobalMeet Audio conferencing for your Skype for Business, PGi set up an account for your organization. With this, you should receive a set of telephone access numbers and passcodes in a credentials spreadsheet. Use these credentials to configure dial-in conferencing for your users.

Set Up GlobalMeet Audio

Dial-in conferencing should be configured so that your users can join a Skype for Business audio conference call from their desk or mobile phones. Head to the Skype for Business Admin Centers in the Admin area of your Microsoft Online Portal to assign the dial in numbers and passcodes for each user.

Users can dial their assigned access numbers and passcodes to join an audio conference call. Admins have the option to set up dial-in conferencing for users one at a time or several at a time by using the Bulk Import feature.

Audio Passcodes & Music on Hold

GlobalMeet Audio conference accounts have two passcodes – moderator and participant. When setting up dial-in conferencing for Skype users, you should enter the participant passcode. Most of the time, this is the only passcode users will need to know.

When music on hold or enhanced authentication for high-risk countries is enabled (which requires music on hold), your users should dial in to the audio conference bridge, instead of using the Skype client to attend. If users dial into the Skype client to attend, music on hold is turned off as soon as the first participant joins the meeting audio.

Meeting hosts will need to know their moderator passcodes and use them when dialing into each audio conference call. This ensures that participants hear music and cannot talk to each other until the host joins.

Skype for Business Users Outside Your Organization

If you want to allow Skype for Business users outside your company to be able to communicate with internal users, you should enable SIP domain federation before setting up dial-in conferencing. Configuring SIP federation with GlobalMeet audio conferencing will allow PGi audio to accept connections to the same meeting from two different infrastructures.

Dial-In Conferencing for Single User

Admins can also set up dial-in conferencing for a single user or remove users from the settings. Setting up dial-in conferencing is especially important if you’re using Skype for Business on mobile devices. Mobile users won’t be able to join a Skype for Business meeting with the single click feature unless the meeting includes dial-in conferencing.

Dial-In Conferencing for Multiple Users

Set up multiple users with the import and export feature on Skype for Business. The Bulk Import option will let you set up dial-in conferencing for multiple users quickly and easily by importing a CSV file. First, export your users to a CSV files. Then, enter the access numbers and passcodes from your PGi credentials spreadsheet. Lastly, import the completed CSV file.

Once the above steps have been taken, you are officially ready to experience GlobalMeet Audio in your Skype for Business meetings. Prepare for crystal-clear audio and better meetings ahead.

New to GlobalMeet Audio? Be sure to check out PGi’s Skype audio conferencing capabilities and see how Skype for Business can benefit your company.

GlobalMeet Audio Conferencing Integration Case Study

To support their rapid global growth, an American-based off-price retailer uses Microsoft Skype for Business for some of its conferencing sessions in order to reach their local and international stakeholders.

However, users commonly experienced dropped audio connections with the web conferencing solution, and in turn, also experienced some audio budget challenges. A customer of PGi for more than ten years, the retailer knew it needed to pair with PGi once again to get the most cost-effective solution for global audio coverage.

Using PGi hybrid audio conferencing integration, the company not only enriched user experiences during their global web conference calls, but also experienced more value from their existing investments while also saving additional costs on international travel.

"With thousands of calls every month to various countries, we definitely save a lot on our international travel budget by meeting online instead."Nicole Richardson, Network Engineer IV

Audio Conferencing Integration Case Study: Mercedes-Benz USA

Not many industries are completely untouched by digital transformation, including your local car dealership. For Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), faster information sharing matters more than ever to balance consistent, global branding with increased customer touchpoints and evolving marketing and sales strategies.

To bridge the internal information gap across the US, the company uses web events for virtual training. But how do you ensure those huge, ongoing events always run smoothly?

MBUSA uses audio conferencing integration to conduct more user-friendly, professional conferencing with enterprise security, mobility and enhanced control. Cost-savings aside, audio-integrated webinars add value with the benefits of advanced telephony for web events, including increased productivity, better attendance, enhanced engagement and more reliability.

Learning Architect Surya Boonphadung uses seamless GlobalMeet® Audio integration for all internal training purposes. The whole process is smooth, and it’s a seamless experience for the user. We know what we’re using, but for the attendees, it’s just another live conference they are dialed into, and it works flawlessly. It’s pretty intuitive,” Boonphadung said.

PGi's suite of collaboration services (like operator assisted conference calls) accommodate MBUSA's larger events, as well, lending flexibility and scalability as this leading, luxury automotive brand transforms the car buying experience.