Skype for Business Review

Helpful chat facility and good for internal communications, but call quality and reliability need to improve

What is our primary use case?

We use Skype for hosting meetings that are internal to the organization.

How has it helped my organization?

Pre-COVID, we did not use it as much as we do now. Post-COVID, however, all of my staff meetings are now done through the visual interface.

What is most valuable?

I use the chat feature to communicate with my staff, which is very helpful. I'm in a different area of the building than my support team, so a lot of my communications, rather than me running down to their offices or calling them, can be done with Skype.

What needs improvement?

Going forward, I would like to see better call quality and reliability.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Skype for Business since I joined UNCF two years ago.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Different parts of our organization were using Skype and Zoom, and we are trying to standardize the use of solutions for virtual meetings. Zoom is being used for external communication, and Skype for Business is being used internally.

Microsoft Teams is replacing Skype for business and we have also used Amazon Chime.

All of these solutions are different audiences. The first category is internal communications and collaboration, and that would be Skype and Teams. In the next tier, you have external meetings, webinars, and conferences of medium-sized scale. These are within the Zoom realm. Finally, you have virtual events such as registrations and breakout rooms. Although Zoom has that capability, the scale is different, which is where Chime and some of the other products come in.

The tier that Teams and Skype for Business are in, suits that tier. Skype is not about conferences, large meetings, webinars, and the like. It is for people working together online, sharing information, transferring files, and changing the screens depending on who is presenting. It's a collaborative remote use case.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The cost of Skype for Business is incorporated into our Office 365 licenses.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Microsoft Teams is slated to replace Skype and Skype for Business. It will have a more seamless interface between it and Outlook and the Office 365 suite. It is feature-rich and includes things like a whiteboarding capability. It is easy to use and ties together far more manageable and sophisticated collaboration tools.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a six out of ten.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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