GO FROM GOOD TO GREAT WITH SKYPE FOR BUSINESS

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1 GO FROM GOOD TO GREAT WITH SKYPE FOR BUSINESS

2 What s inside. Introduction 1 Why a better Skype for Business experience matters 2 Use Skype for Business desk phones And conference phones too Create a great Skype for Business video experience Use Skype for Business video solutions How to choose a Skype for Business vendor Conclusion 9 2

3 Introduction A Microsoft Skype for Business deployment is designed to enable a digital workforce by providing a simplified collaboration infrastructure that is easy to use and manage. By combining calling, conferencing, video and sharing into one platform your IT team increases communication reliability, improves value, and reduces costs by eliminating redundant systems. For the workforce, a unified communications platform unleashes creativity and increases agility, productivity and employee engagement. All competitive characteristics of agile companies today. But to achieve these benefits a collaboration solution must be easy, seamless and deliver a compelling experience. Without a solid understanding of this, many IT Directors feel at a bit of a loss when it comes to ensuring they are maximizing the value and ROI of their Skype for Business deployment. What do you need to know to fully realize all the benefits of it? And how do you ensure user adoption so that Skype for Business becomes an innate way that people collaborate and get work done? What will drive the best user experience? In this paper, we ll walk you through what you need to consider. You ll find out how to leverage Skype for Business to achieve the greatest results. 1

4 Why a better Skype for Business experience matters You ve deployed Skype for Business and you re using your existing PCs and employee laptops as the main interface. Employees have adopted Skype for Business for IM and Presence, and you ve tried to encourage them to use it to place audio and video calls, but they just haven t adopted it as you d hoped. You recognize that the real ROI and benefit of Skype for Business can only be realized when it s used as a true collaboration and communications platform. Is there something missing that would enable you to provide a better user experience to resolve these issues and drive better adoption? Yes. The true power of Skype for Business can only be experienced when it is available in every collaboration situation in a way that is familiar, comfortable and delivers a great experience. How? Let s explore. Give employees the full benefits of Skype for Business s capabilities Skype for Business provides voice-over-ip (VoIP) calling over your network and the Internet to users in your company, with common calling features and PSTN calling. So why are people still reaching for their desk phones? Familiarity. People resist change and when they continue to have access to devices that they feel comfortable with, they will opt for comfort. 2 When you re deploying an enterprisewide UC transformation, giving people desktop and conference phones that are Skype for Business certified will help drive adoption. These devices also enhance the quality and productivity of individual and group calls which leads to more accurate understanding and more productive decision-making.

5 Use Skype for Business desk phones 1. Replicate the features that employees are used to on a PBX We are all creatures of habit. If there are features that your teams have grown accustomed to in the previous PBX world, you have to ensure that they, or something similar, are carried through to the new communications world. The desk phone offers context-sensitive, fast access to features. Call transfer is one click away on the phone compared to having to locate the transfer button on the client app that is lost in PC desktop clutter. The always on phone with a join call meeting reminder will be a welcome sight when an employee is a few minutes late (and aren t most of us?) for the next meeting. With a desk phone, users can join the call before they even sit and pull out their laptop. Phones designed for Skype for Business are nicely integrated with users contacts and outlook directory. A Skype for Business phone populates a Skype for Business favorites automatically on available line keys. Presence informs users of communications choices. If a team member s status is away, a user can bring up their contact card with a one button press and quickly dial their mobile number the same number that shows in Outlook contacts. Features like group audio paging and intercom can be supported through the phone itself, even when these features may not be available in the Skype for Business client. For administrative assistants who need to answer and screen calls on behalf of a manager or executive, a phone is essential. And executives who want to review their call log to find the number of the party they talked to via mobile on the way to the office will find it right there on their phone call log, too. These features can only be accessed by a desk phone. 2. Audio quality matters If you can t hear the person you re talking to clearly or there s a tendency for calls to drop, communication is disrupted, people get frustrated and productivity slows. Audio is the single most important feature to consider when selecting and evaluating phones. Phones with high definition voice deliver more than twice the clarity of ordinary phone calls for life-like, vibrant conversations. People won t miss what is said or need to ask others to repeat themselves. The modern open office environment today can be a noisy place to work, too. Desk phones can feature noise suppression technology that will block unwanted background noise so that everyone on the phone hears clearly. 3. Headsets and soft clients aren t for everyone No doubt, most digital natives like Millennials and Gen Z employees will feel comfortable using a headset with Skype for Business on their mobile devices. However, when transitioning from a PBX to Skype for Business, most employees naturally tend to stick with what they know. Giving people desktop and conference phones that are Skype for Business certified will help drive adoption. It s not only about familiarity; it s about flexibility and keeping productivity going. For example, Bluetooth headset users will need a fast alternative (desk phone!) when the recharge headset notice sounds minutes before a scheduled call. And having a desk phone option also solves the issue of guest mobile workstations, where employees are not expected to share headsets. 4. Good audio makes video calls more engaging Desktop video is becoming a widespread communications choice. With Skype for Business, making video calls is one of the primary functions. However, if the microphone and speakers on your laptop or PC are not capable, and many are not, this can lead to an overall poor call experience. With a Skype for Business certified desk phone, features like IP pairing over Ethernet will enable the desk phone to be used as the audio I/O device for the desktop video call. This will significantly improve the audio quality and overall call experience. Ultimately, there are many factors that go into choosing the best phones for your company. One device does not fit every user. Plan for a pilot deployment with a variety of phones and user types so you can avoid use case and satisfaction issues before users are switched from PBX to a Skype for Business on-premises or Skype for Business Online deployment. 3

6 And conference phones too In today s collaboration-driven environment, most business calls involve more than two people. As teams meet in huddle and conference rooms, they bring in remote teammates to join them via conferencing. Laptops and desk phones aren t designed to provide a great group discussion experience. There is a true need for a Skype for Business conference phone that will deliver the clearest sound from the group to every other participant, in every location. 1. Improved productivity When everyone can hear clearly, key data and opportunities for creativity do not get missed. A Skype for Business certified conference phone provides a familiar interface and make it easy to start the meeting and get right down to business. Less time is wasted, people are more productive and collaboration happens when everyone hears clearly. Some conference phones can also support BYOD with wireless pairing, reducing the time needed to start or transfer an existing call. 2. Better conferencing experiences New advances in audio technology allow each conference phone to intelligently adapt to different room environments. Some of these features may include: High-definition voice that captures a greater frequency range to better understand accents and different languages Noise suppression technology that blocks the hum of an HVAC system or shuffling papers Outlook calendaring and a Skype for Business interface so users can work with the one familiar system, again, increasing adoption Content sharing to view and collaborate visually 3. Easy on IT A Skype for Business certified conference phone easily integrates into your Skype for Business on-premises or Office 365 Cloud PBX call platform creating fewer support calls and easy set-up and maintenance. The consistent experience from desktop to conference room also reduces the burden on IT for training and helpdesk calls. Skype for Business is designed to be your organization s complete telephony communications solution. Adding desk phones and conference phones provides familiar interfaces that greatly reduce the learning curve of a new communications solution and provide better call experiences that reinforce the reasons for the move to Skype for Business. 4

7 Create a great Skype for Business video experience As we ve seen, laptops and PCs (and mobile devices) enable users to participate in meetings, but they are inappropriate devices for group discussions. Not only are they hard to set up, but someone must give up their laptop for the meeting, and there s always the potential that an update or virus scan, or personal (and sometimes confidential or embarrassing!) notifications will pop up. People dread this. To provide a great in-room group collaboration experience you need a room collaboration solution. A dedicated Skype for Business certified video collaboration solution creates easy, consistent and high-quality group experiences no matter where participants are located. 5

8 Use Skype for Business video solutions 1. Quality of video matters in the room and on the far end A dedicated Skype for Business certified group video solution delivers the highest quality visual experience for groups conversing with remote Skype for Business participants. Why? Because these systems are designed for the unique needs of multiple people in a room actively participating on a video call. Their cameras use high resolutions and frame rates to deliver crystal clear video on large displays. Some models include auto-focus cameras that frame the participants or zoom in on the speaker without the users having to do anything. And don t forget the people on the far end of the call. Without good video tracking in the room, remote workers can t track the conversation and will tune out. A highquality experience will make them feel like part of the conversation and their engagement and contribution will be higher. 2. Audio is still the most important part of video Skype for Business certified group video solutions also offer the most acute audio and sound, so that all participants are equally heard and miscommunication is avoided. Some solutions leverage sophisticated microphone designs and sound suppression technologies to capture people talking from anywhere in the room while eliminating distracting noises, such as echo off the walls or keyboarding. 3. So easy to use people will actually use it People avoid using collaboration technology when it s hard to use. Walking into a conference room and plugging in cables, installing or updating drivers, figuring out how to log in to start the call all are very common user experiences that make people return to audio calls. Skype for Business certified video systems integrate directly into Skype for Business, making it easy to set up, schedule within Outlook, and join a call with a single touch. Solutions are available that can present the room s live schedule and certified systems enable the same interface so users won t have to learn anything new. Overall, users tend to adopt dedicated video solutions because they re so simple to use, the technology fades into the background and they offer familiar, intuitive interfaces that deliver consistent experiences. When it s comfortable and easy, it will be used. 6

9 How to choose a Skype for Business vendor As you can see, there are concrete ways to extend your Skype for Business investment and bring more value to your workforce. As you investigate different offerings and vendors, make sure the vendor you select does the following: Offers Microsoft certification You ve heard us talk about Skype for Business Certified solutions. This refers to Microsoft s Skype for Business Certification Program. This program tests and validates third-party solutions that demonstrate a high-quality experience and compatibility when used with Skype for Business or Skype for Business Online. A device that is certified means that both the manufacturer and Microsoft will support and stand behind your experience. Using certified products ensures the best possible experience for your users and provides peace of mind for the IT administrative and support staffs. You can view all Microsoft Skype for Business certified solutions at the Microsoft Skype for Business website under partners. Maintains the Microsoft workflow You don t want users to have to learn a new way of working. It s important that whatever solutions you bring into your organization can seamlessly integrate into the Skype for Business and Microsoft workflows. Whether it s accessing an Outlook calendar, bringing in a contact from Active Directory or joining a Skype for Business meeting with one click, it must be familiar and intuitive to your users. The more integrated the experience, the more your solutions will be adopted and more productive your employees will be. For IT, the result will be minimal administrative overhead with no additional training needed. Ideally, select solutions with no plug-ins to manage on the server side or on the client side. Provides options for all environments and use cases It s likely that your organization does not have uniform work areas. Whether it s a common space, huddle room, boardroom or individual s home office, you need solutions to meet all use cases. Choose a solution provider that can meet all your different work space needs. This will provide consistent interfaces for your users and lower the administrative, management and support complexity for the IT team. Easily adds non-microsoft videoconferencing systems into your Skype for Business meetings Just because you are moving to Skype for Business as your meetings platform does not mean that you must throw away your existing standards-based equipment. Solutions are available that seamlessly connect Skype for Business and Office 365 video users with existing videoconferencing systems. Select a solution that integrates into the Skype meeting workflow making it easy and intuitive to schedule a video interop call. This will protect the consistency of the meeting workflow for your users while expanding the universe of locations that are available to participate in calls. It also preserves existing investments in video equipment. 7

10 Prioritizes ease of use Solutions should be designed so that the technology becomes invisible to the user. True productivity happens when users don t have to think about how to create a great experience, it just happens. Some of the approaches that third-party vendors are using to simplify the experience include: Creating a Skype User Interface thus extending the Skype experience to the device Devices that wake up when approached Meeting room calendars displayed on the screen in the room PSTN dialing with the touch of a screen One click to connect into a meeting Automatic image framing and zooming based on the number of participants in the room and who is speaking Automatic noise blocking so you don t have to hover over the mute button These capabilities can make a major difference in the quality of the experience and drive rapid adoption. Provides management and analytics capabilities As the success of your deployment grows, the ability to easily provision, monitor and understand the utilization of your systems is critical to optimize your deployment and better understand what s working for your users. Select solutions that feed information into existing Microsoft analytics and reporting tools to minimize the number of monitoring tools your teams need to learn and manage. Demonstrates a solid connection to Microsoft Microsoft is constantly improving Skype for Business. Make sure the vendors you select have a proven long-term relationship to ensure the best innovation and support for your organization. Don t do it alone find the right partner Moving to the cloud is complicated. As you build out your near- and longer-term strategies, work with a certified Microsoft Skype Operations Partner to create a plan customized to your unique situation. You want a firm with: Broad capabilities such as design, network assessment, deployment, technology adoption, change management, support, new technology training, optimization and managed services Services that are Microsoft certified and map to the Skype Operations Framework from Microsoft Options that are flexible, modular and affordable to quickly and easily bring collaboration to your organization, no matter your requirements or preferred acquisition model These requirements will ensure that they have the expertise to help you integrate voice and video solutions and reduce the number of vendors needed for your Skype for Business environment. Just because you are moving to Skype for Business as your meetings platform does not mean that you must throw away your existing standards-based equipment. 8

11 Conclusion As we ve seen, you can enhance your Skype for Business ROI by selecting Skype for Business certified desk phones, conference phones and dedicated video collaboration solutions that will provide an exceptional experience for both users and the IT team. This experience will quickly drive adoption, reduce transition time and boost productivity by alleviating user apprehension and delivering powerful results. In your journey with Skype for Business, consider the device and solutions that will maximize your investment, keep your company agile and enable true collaboration. Also, consider the characteristics of various Skype for Business device vendors to be sure you work with a provider that will meet your needs now and in the future. Learn more about Polycom solutions for Skype for Business at microsoft Polycom, Inc. All rights reserved. All Polycom names and marks associated with Polycom products are trademarks or service marks of Polycom, Inc. and are registered or common law marks in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. No portion hereof may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, for any purpose other than the recipient s personal use, without the express written permission of Polycom. 9

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