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.

Lync to Skype for Business Update: FAQs

With the transition from Microsoft® Lync® to Skype® for Business complete, you might still have some lingering questions. To make sure you’re up on the latest from Skype for Business, PGi brings you a Skype for Business FAQ update. Read on to learn all about how to incorporate Skype for Business into your work life.

Q: What is Skype for Business (formerly Microsoft Lync)?

A: Skype for Business is a unified business communications solution that merges the user-friendly Skype interface with enterprise Lync capabilities. The software upholds the enterprise-grade security that Lync users know and love while providing fresh features. Key features include instant messaging, one-click audio and video calling, easier file transferring and more.

Q: Is Skype for Business a rebrand or a new product?

A: It’s both! Lync officially became Skype for Business in March 2015. With this update Microsoft released a new client experience for mobile, tablets, and desktops, a new server release, and updates to the service in Office 365 under the Skype for Business name.

Q: What features have changed in Skype for Business?

A: Skype for Business offers a variety of new features for Skype and Lync users to enjoy, including a fresh look, the ability to make calls using your desk phone for audio, integration with the Skype directory, Call Monitor, Rate My Call, quick access to call controls, emoticons.

Q: What are the benefits of using Skype for Business?

A: Skype for Business makes it easier to communicate and collaborate with colleagues, customers and/or clients, cut business costs and better tracking your expenses. Users can:

  • Replace unnecessary business travel with a quick and easy video call to cut back on costs.
  • Set up accounts for staff, allocate credit and track everyone’s expenses, which makes it easier to budget calls and identify any areas where you can save.
  • Stay connected with colleagues through instant messaging or affordable audio calls, and keep in touch with customers with one-click audio and video calling.

Q: What is the proper migration procedure from Lync 2010 Standard to Skype for Business?

A: To correctly update from Lync 2010 to Skype for Business, users must first move to Lync 2013.

Q: What will Microsoft rebranding Lync as Skype for Business change besides the name?

A: The Lync to Skype for Business rebranding is more than just a name change. The updated software allows users to connect, share and collaborate easier than ever with an improved experience new features.

The new client experience takes on the popular Skype icons for calling, adding video and hanging up, as well as easy content sharing and telephony. Connecting with coworkers and colleagues is simple with instant messaging, and audio and video calling. Professionals can reach hundreds of millions of other Skype users outside of their organization to help build valuable business relationships.

Q: How is Skype for Business different from Skype?

A: People already using Skype will appreciate the enhanced control and ease of S4B. It’s simple to find and connect with colleagues, and you can use the devices you already have to reach businesses through an enterprise-grade, secure, IT-managed platform.

Q: How is Skype for Business different from Lync?

A: Those coming to Skype for Business from Lync will recognize all of the security and compliance you’ve come to expect. You’ll experience a fresh look and feel with simplified controls and some great new additions like Call Monitor, Rate My Call, emoticons, access to the Skype director and the ability to call from any phone.

Q: Why use Skype for Business instead of Slack?

A: There are many benefits of using Skype for Business instead of other communication platforms like Slack. Users can host free group chats, reference chat history that is automatically saved, instant message, and audio and video message. Make, receive and forward calls whether you’re in the office or on-the-go from any device – phone, laptop or mobile. Place calls on a mobile or office phone using S4B and your phone number will appear as if you were calling from your company’s main phone number. But, what’s the best part about using S4B? The user-friendly interface.

Q: How does PGi support Skype for Business?

A: PGi’s GlobalMeet Audio Hybrid for Skype for Business brings superior voice coverage, quality and service to every conference call. Users can join calls from any mobile or landline phone, host or join meetings with up to 300 participants, access over 100 local and international toll-free access point. Request a trial today to experience the superior audio quality during your next Skype for Business meeting.

Learn more about Skype for Business and how it can benefit your company!

FAQ: Skype for Business Audio Integration with GlobalMeet

Delivering enterprise-class audio for meetings anywhere around the world is one of our many goals at PGi. GlobalMeet® Audio helps ensure that every meeting has the best audio quality possible. That’s why PGi offers an audio integration solution to work with various unified communications solutions like Microsoft® Skype for Business®.  To learn more about GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business, check out our list of frequent asked questions:

Q: What is Skype for Business?

A: Skype for Business (formerly Microsoft Lync) is a unified business communications solution that merges the user-friendly Skype interface with enterprise Lync capabilities. The software upholds the enterprise-grade security that Lync users know and love while providing fresh features. Key features include instant messaging, one-click audio and video calling, easier file transferring and more.

Q: How does PGi support Skype for Business?

A: PGi’s GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business brings superior voice coverage, quality and service to every conference call. Users can join calls from any mobile or landline phone, host or join meetings with up to 300 participants, access over 100 local and international toll-free access point.

Q: What are the benefits of using GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business?

A:  GlobalMeet is an audio conferencing solution that is seamlessly integrated with Microsoft Skype for Business Online and Skype for Business Server to bring superior voice quality to every Skype for Business meeting. There are many benefits to integrating an audio conferencing solution like GlobalMeet Audio to your Skype for Business meetings.

Here are just a few benefits:

  • Hybrid audio: Connect to the same meeting using computers (VoIP), smartphones and telephones (PSTN). Better audio quality will improve your meeting experience and productivity.
  • Dial-out: Hosts can quickly add telephone participants to any Skype for Business meeting. Dial-in, dial-out and VoIP will connect participants from both inside and outside of your company
  • Global network: Connect meeting participants from around the world. Expansive geographical coverage with more than 140 local access numbers and a reliable network that hosts more than 60 million meetings each year.
  • Shared minute & single user bundles: Shared minute plans and user bundle packages offer better value and more predictable monthly costs.
  • Better meeting management: Larger meeting capacity on calls with up to 300 participants and a range of audio controls for better meeting management.

Q: Do I need a Skype for Business audio integration?

A: You may be wondering why you would need an additional Skype for Business audio provider. Skype for Business provides VoIP audio, but there are limitations in scale, audio quality and consistency, global availability and accessibility.

If you’re experiencing any or all of the following challenges, it may be time to consider GlobalMeet by PGi:

  • Poor audio quality in Skype for Business meetings
  • Trouble connecting participants that are outside of the company’s firewall
  • Deficiency of global PSTN coverage
  • The need to let participants join meetings from any device
  • Lack of a solution that easily integrates with Skype for Business

Q: How does GlobalMeet Audio complement Skype for Business?

A: GlobalMeet Audio makes every Skype for Business meeting more productive and efficient with capacity for up to 300 VoIP and PSTN participants and the best audio quality available in web conferencing.

When integrated with GlobalMeet, Skype for Business is enhanced with the following features:

  • PSTN-based conferencing services
  • Expansive, global IP infrastructure that is optimized for audio collaboration
  • Ability to dial out to PSTN participants
  • Capability to mix Internet and PSTN callers in the same Skype for Business meeting
  • Ability to include dial in numbers in meeting invitations

Q: How does GlobalMeet compare to other audio integrations?

A: There are certain capabilities that GlobalMeet offers that the competition does not. Some of the key features that set PGi’s audio conferencing solution apart from the competition include the following:

  • Enterprise-grade global service with 24/7 regional support
  • Professional account management teams that put the customer’s needs first
  • Greater flexibility in pricing with shared minute bundles available for enterprise and users.
  • Expansive, global IP infrastructure allowing you to directly serve customers around the globe
  • US-based telecom carriers who support audio conferencing for Skype for Business

Q: What is the difference between Skype for Business Online and Skype for Business Server?

A: If you’re currently using or considering using Skype for Business for IM and web conferencing, you may be wondering what the difference between Skype for Business Online and Skype for Business Sever is. Here’s a brief comparison:

  • Skype for Business Online offers less than 1M minutes per month for audio. This is best for small companies with little to no global presence and less infrastructure or capital investment.
  • Skype for Business Server offers 3M+ minutes per month for audio. It’s best for company with a low number of users and high minutes per user.

Ready to see how GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business can help improve your next meeting? Click here to find out more.

Audio Conferencing Integration Case Study: Northwestern University

To facilitate their rapidly evolving online learning programs, Northwestern University uses a combination of independent learning and interactive audio and web conferencing sessions, which help them reach more potential students, increase engagement, improve student experiences and maintain high retention and graduation rates.

However, students and faculty commonly experienced dropped connections on the VoIP-only web conferencing solution. Losing class time, momentum and opportunities to connect, NU needed an integrated audio solution to support synchronous online learning, better manage disruptions and guarantee seamless sessions.

Using PGi hybrid audio conferencing integration, NU enriched online student experiences, realized more value from their existing investments, increased the versatility of their technology for wider use cases and accelerated pilot online learning programs with better adoption, according to Instructional Technologist Alyssa Dyar.

“The PGi integrated audio solution is pretty flawless. Students just type in their phone number, it pops up and there’s not a lot for them to do. If someone can’t get the code right, dialing out is really quick.”

How to Become a Lync Audio Conferencing Expert

Microsoft® Lync® Online (now Skype for Business) is a powerful communication tool for connecting your entire company, but how do you connect your company with clients, partners and mobile workers to extend the value of your unified communications and collaboration investment?

Become an expert on Lync audio conferencing to get the most out of your investment and ensure your solution truly meets all of your collaborative needs.

The Benefits of Lync Audio / Skype for Business Integration
Microsoft Lync Online offers users the ability to start a meeting anytime right from their computer, but unfortunately, that’s not the only way that users work. While audio conferencing is one of Lync’s many capabilities, its VoIP-only audio puts limitations on when, where and with whom you can collaborate.

By integrating a separate audio conferencing service, you can have an integrated conferencing experience and connect from a phone, too. Unlike your software provider, a true audio conferencing expert will also provide you with better call control, a variety of ways to connect and enhanced global coverage.

Before you choose a Lync audio conferencing service, it’s important to develop your understanding of what your users need and the collaboration complexity that you need audio integration to resolve.

3 Must Reads on Lync Audio / Skype for Business Conferencing
To become an educated Lync audio conferencing buyer, get started with these three must-read articles and white papers on the complexity of and audio solutions for your Lync investment:

  1. Why Do I Need a Lync Audio Conferencing Provider?: Better audio quality is only one benefit of leveraging a Lync audio provider. Like most enterprises, yours is probably collaborating with a larger group of mobile, external and international users more than ever. Here’s how that impacts your Lync deployment.
  2. Tips for Choosing a Lync Audio Conferencing Provider: Because this unified communications solution is so critical to your company’s collaboration needs, it’s important to choose a provider you trust and that offers the expertise and support you need. Here’s how to assess those qualifications.
  3. Powering Collaboration in the Unified Communications Era: Make sure you understand the complexity of your Lync endpoints and access methods to ensure your provider sufficiently meets the needs of your Lync audio conferencing supplementation. Download this white paper today.

GlobalMeet® Hybrid Audio for Lync Online

Collaboration is not only more important but also more complex than ever before. However, with the superior quality and support from an expert Lync audio integration provider, you’ll be confident that every meeting and interaction consistently works on this platform.

Did you know that Microsoft Lync Online is now Skype for Business? The newest version of Lync blends the familiarity and love of Skype with the enterprise security, compliance, and control of Lync.

Interested in learning more about Skype for Business? Check out these articles:

What is WebEx Audio Integration?

You’ve chosen Cisco® WebEx® to go virtual with your big events, but are you confident your audio works? Do you have the best quality, global coverage and audio control available, as well as numerous ways to connect your callers?

With WebEx audio integration you can improve your WebEx experience even more for the most productive, efficient and reliable trainings and meetings. Companies of all sizes will benefit from the superior service and support of an audio conferencing market leader alongside your web conferencing solution.

WebEx Audio Integration

What Is WebEx Audio Integration?
Audio integration takes the functionality of two different applications and merges them so users access both within a single interface. An adapter relays signals between applications and servers to transfer data and transform all of the complexity happening behind the scenes into a simultaneous, seamless experience for the user.

For example, take PGi’s GlobalMeet® adapter, which integrates GlobalMeet audio bridges with WebEx servers. While WebEx shares web conferencing data to users’ computers, PGi connects users to audio via a PSTN or Internet connection. The meeting host then uses native controls within the existing web conferencing interface to manage all audio aspects of the event.

The end result is, users never know they’re accessing a separate component, limiting confusion while enhancing the meeting experience. In fact, PGi’s seamless audio integration with WebEx tools requires no additional hardware, maintenance or end user training, making it an easy way to extend the value of your WebEx investment.

Why It Matters

WebEx audio integration transforms your events with:

  • Enhanced audio control. Integrated audio offers robust features to accommodate even more types of callers and events. Save time by muting everyone in a single click, or lock a call to control participation. Have the web conference call you, or dial out to add participants.
  • Crystal clear audio. When you need flawlessness for meetings, trainings, sales or customer support, enterprise-class audio integration provides reliable, high-quality audio, even when your events scale to hundreds of participants.
  • More ways to connect. Hybrid audio integrations provide a seamless, consistent experience for dial-in, dial-out, PSTN and VoIP callers, and of course the ability to connect via VoIP from any location in the world greatly reduces your conferencing costs.
  • Superior audio support. Not all audio conferencing providers are the same, and some are really software companies, not audio experts. When your audio conferencing solution is built by audio experts, you can expect better in-meeting assistance specifically for fine-tuning, or rescuing, your audio connections.
  • Better global coverage. When you need to connect people outside of your company from all over the world, you need more local access points and regional softphone servers. Plus, a provider with years of experience building relationships with worldwide carriers offers better audio conferencing rates.

Learn More

Try it free and learn more about WebEx audio integration with these additional resources:

  1. Learn why integrations should be a top feature you look for when choosing an audio conferencing provider.
  2. Read an audio integration case study on how PGi’s solutions helped Mercedes-Benz USA conduct seamless internal trainings.
  3. Download a brochure on PGi’s GlobalMeet Hybrid Audio for WebEx.