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Making collaboration more intuitive | How Skype for Business is more than just a consumer app at work

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Making collaboration more intuitive | How Skype for Business is more than just a consumer app at work

At the recent Convergence EMEA 2015 event, Chris Capossela, CMO at Microsoft unveiled new functionalities for Skype for Business which are now bringing the application beyond a replication of consumer use and has the potential to improve employee productivity and finally take the pain out of meetings.

It takes on average 12 minutes to set up a meeting, which means the productivity of the meeting itself is negatively impacted and the remaining work time in the day; never mind the frustration felt by meeting attendees.

According to an article from Psychology Today on business productivity, executives felt they were wasting their time in half of meetings they attended.  The answer isn’t to stop communicating with your team and networks through meetings – but to improve the way collaboration happens.

Skype for Business has advanced since Skype was acquired by Microsoft a few years ago and merged with Lync; with this latest wave of improved functionalities, business use is centred around the team rather than the individual (or as Chris Capossela put it, “not me work but we work”).

Changing to a digital mind set to improve productivity

According to research by Markets and Markets, the market for enterprise social software such as Yammer will be worth more than $8bn (£5.3bn) by 2019, which is a sizeable shift up from current market size of about $5bn.

Productive business behaviour is moving away from saving up thoughts, issues and decisions within a diarised meeting; towards chat, social networking and video conferencing.  By harnessing the unstructured creativity of people with structured processes that is enabled by collaborative technology, businesses can get more out of the working day.  For instance, Skype for Business now supports “one click to join” functionality.

With deeper integration with Office 365, there is now the capability to co-author documents at the same time during your Skype for Business meetings, this is revolutionary in the way we prepare, behave and follow up on actions in traditional meetings.  Decision made to change a proposal?  Do it in real time together.

Supporting the mobile workforce – Skype for Business delivers a flexible way to meet

In keeping with the cloud first, mobile first Microsoft ethos, flexibility is key.  Skype for Business allows for each user to have a “direct line” that they can use across devices – be it on the move with a smartphone or broadcasting to an 84” Surface Hub in the conference room.  The dial tone effectively travels with the employee.  PSTN conferencing also allows people to join an online meeting even in places with no internet access.

Skype for Business can also be used to professionally reach a global and disparate workforce, customer base or partnership network – without the message being diluted or reduced – through the new Broadcast functionality.

This isn’t merely about reducing the number of emails or meetings – but it is about transforming the way we do business; yes, supported by technology such as this – but the mindset is an imperative.

To watch the Digital Transformation keynote from Convergence EMEA 2015 in which Skype for Business was discussed, please view the video.

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