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Skype for Business OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Skype for Business is the #6 ranked solution in our list of top Virtual Meetings tools. It is most often compared to Webex: Skype for Business vs Webex

What is Skype for Business?
Skype for Business offers features including presence, IM, voice and video calls, online meetings, conferencing, and telephony solutions that support enterprise-level collaboration requirements. Skype for Business Record meetings, share your screen, and annotate PowerPoint for real-time collaboration with up to 250 people and use whiteboard, polls, Q&A, and built-in IM during your business meetings to make them more productive. Skype for Business provides new client experience, Skype for Business Server provides several new features to improve manageability of on-premises servers and hybrid solutions. Skype for Business also supports the Lync client experience so that you can choose a phased upgrade approach to the new client experience for users. Skype for Business is also an integral part of Microsoft Office 365, providing PSTN Conferencing, Cloud PBX, PSTN Calling, and Skype Meeting Broadcast capabilities to Office 365 users.

Skype for Business is also known as Skype for Business Plan 1, Skype for Business Plan 2, Lync Server.

Skype for Business Buyer's Guide

Download the Skype for Business Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: September 2021

Skype for Business Customers

EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services,LA Fitness, MedcoEnergi International, Tampa General Hospital, and HopewellHoldings Limited.

Skype for Business Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Skype for Business pricing:
  • "The cost of Skype for Business is incorporated into our Office 365 licenses."

Skype for Business Reviews

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MF
Owner and Senior Technical Architect at a consultancy with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 5
Much easier and quicker than writing an email to someone and waiting for them to read it

Pros and Cons

  • "The simplicity and ease of use are the most valuable features. It's so much easier and quicker than writing an email to someone and waiting for them to read it."
  • "The ease of configuration or the lack of decent tooling to pinpoint your problems is probably its biggest issue."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for chat and we use it for internal meetings. We also have a federation between a couple of companies, so we also use it for virtual meetings across those companies that we have the federation with. It is our preferred chat and video solution nowadays. 

My last customer used it and Polycom, but Polycom was historic because of the meeting rooms. And the meeting rooms tended to be set up for Polycom, so if you were doing meetings from one meeting room to another one, then we'd switch to Polycom. Otherwise, it was Skype For Business.

What is most valuable?

The simplicity and ease of use are the most valuable features. It's so much easier and quicker than writing an email to someone and waiting for them to read it. If you actually see in Skype For Business that they're online and free, and you just put your question into there, it's a lot faster. The increase in productivity for messaging people is the number one reason for using it.

What needs improvement?

With respect to installing it in a large multinational, I find that installing it so that it gives decent performance across the company, can be a bit of black science. The ease of configuration or the lack of decent tooling to pinpoint your problems is probably its biggest issue. That's not just an issue with Skype For Business. That's pretty much across the board with unified communication systems.

What I'd really love them to provide would be an easy method of linking or connecting to other Skype For Business personnel in other companies who are also using Skype For Business without having to set up a federation. There are lots and lots of companies now using Skype For Business with other unified communications products. You can send someone a link, and then they can come into your Skype For Business meeting. We have issues trying to do Skype For Business.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution since 2006 when it was called Communicator. It's actually been 14 years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We quite often see glitches where it jitters and stuff like this, but that's all to do with the wide-area network links. I'm sure we could improve that if our unified communications guys had better tooling and understanding of the complexities. What we see is that in most companies the implementation is not optimal.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't actually had to contact Microsoft support about Skype For Business related issues. Technical support with Microsoft depends upon your support contracts. If you're paying for the highest level, then it's absolutely fantastic.

You get what you pay for. The standard support contract is no worse or better than any other company. I have to say, the few times that I've had to call Microsoft with a priority support call, and the technical account manager gets put on it and keeps on top of the Microsoft side and stuff, then that goes really well. As well as you could expect it to go. I don't have any experience with Microsoft technical support when it comes down to Skype For Business.

Times in the past with respect to Azure issues that I was experiencing, I know that both the premium and the next level down, they were both absolutely fine. I always ended up talking to people that knew their stuff and when it was resolvable, it got resolved.

What other advice do I have?

I definitely recommend the product. If you are in a complex distributed environment, with offices with varying levels of connection and various different bandwidths of connections and latency, that it's worth spending the extra money to get someone who really knows their stuff with respect to unified communications to set up Skype For Business across their organization. Someone that understands the pitfalls, because how your infrastructure is built is key to whether you're going to get a decent and stable experience or not.

I would rate it a nine out of ten. I would give it this rating purely because of the fact that when it gets installed across a complex environment, you really need someone who knows their stuff to install it. But once it's installed properly, it's absolutely fine. It does what it says on the tin.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
SD
Developer at a photography company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 20
Easy video conferencing with a simple setup and capable of saving conversations

Pros and Cons

  • "I like the fact that it opens up your video conferencing, and, in many cases, the audio at the same time."
  • "The integration with Outlook could be improved."

What is our primary use case?

Recently, we all went remote, so we needed a way to implement virtual meetings on a large scale and we utilize Skype for Business for these purposes. It might have a lot to do with the response to COVID and getting more people connected for remote access.

What is most valuable?

The solution connects to meetings pretty well. 

I like the fact that it opens up your video conferencing, and, in many cases, the audio at the same time. 

It's very useful that the solution can save conversations.

What needs improvement?

The implementation could be improved.

In my case, I don't necessarily pick up audio, so I have to dial in. I have two connections. One is a visual and one is strictly for audio calls. Some other users aren't experiencing that issue. It's inconsistent and I'm not sure why. I also can't say with certainty that this is a Skype problem or if something else is causing the discrepancy. 

There seems to be some sort of setting whereby it pretty much keeps instant messenger open all the time. I don't know what the settings are, or if this can be switched off. I believe there's an integration with that, where it assumes a certain status. I haven't had a chance to manually change it or to look into how to adjust it. 

The integration with Outlook could be improved.

There could be more opportunities for setting up your current status.

The solution feels like it's pretty bare-bones. There could be some additional features added, perhaps on the statuses or something of that nature because as it stands now, it's pretty sparse. I have heard that they're going to be introducing some features pretty soon. I hope that's the case. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've personally used Skype itself for years. However, in terms of utilizing Skype for Business, I've only been using the solution for the last month, or, more accurately, about three weeks.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution seems to be pretty stable and is just as stable in the business version as the regular version. I haven't had any issues whatsoever with crashes or glitches. However, it does feel like it's pretty bare-bones.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is pretty scalable. You can use it across the company, and certainly within IT. Since everybody's working remotely now, with COVID-19, I think it scales quite well.

Even when you add people, it's still easy to manage many multiples people in a single meeting

I don't know how many people in our company are actually on it at this point. I imagine it's quite a few, however, I'm not sure of which departments that are using it, or if it's been deployed across the board.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've logged into technical support a few times on the Microsoft store. They used to actually go through edX at one point. They may have their own portal now. I've looked at it for various products such as SQL, Visual Source Code, etc. and not just for Skype, so I can navigate it pretty well. I've been helped there. They do have paths to different types of certifications and stuff. I have not gone through any of that myself, however.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. It's not complex at all.

What other advice do I have?

We're just a customer.

I'd advise other organizations that the implementation is pretty smooth as far as installations go, so they shouldn't be afraid to give it a try. Using it is very straightforward, and it just sits on your desktop as an icon, so it's easy to access when you need it.

Overall, I'd rate the solution eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about Skype for Business. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2021.
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VijayKumar4
AVP - Cyber Secuirty at Cloud4C Services
MSP
Top 5Leaderboard
Easy to use, great for remote meetings, and has lots of collaboration potential

Pros and Cons

  • "Making calls and having meetings is easy."
  • "The solution isn't connected to Microsoft Teams, and I feel like there is better communication on that particular solution. The group capabilities are a bit less than Teams."

How has it helped my organization?

The solution has improved the flexibility of meetings for our organization. For example, I can use it from my phone or laptop. I can use it wherever I am. It's increased our communication channels.

It has everything in one place from sharing to team management. It makes everything easy.

What is most valuable?

There are many valuable aspects of the solution. For collaboration purposes, there are many integration capabilities. 

Making calls and having meetings is easy. 

There are a lot of very fundamental functions on offer.

What needs improvement?

There is sometimes a lag, often because this is not integrated with a few fields. We are in India, so we have some restrictions on some key integrations. For example, it cannot integrate with our internal landlines. When I was in the United States, this wasn't a problem at all.

We need some sort of functionality whereby users can use a link as browser calling. Calling only is what is available to us. That's not in every country, however, just a few. They should make it standard across the board around the world.

The solution isn't connected to Microsoft Teams, and I feel like there is better communication on that particular solution. The group capabilities are a bit less than Teams.

I have some standard meetings that happen on a regular basis, and it would be nice if I could just go directly to them from Skype instead of looking into my calendar and clicking on a link.

Group calling is not available on Skype right now.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for almost a full year at this point. The company has been using the solution for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is great. There aren't bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash. We don't face any challenges with the solution in that sense.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have limited employees, so we've never really experimented with scaling the solution. I can't speak to how easy it would be to expand the solution.

We have about 900 users on the solution right now.

We use the solution quite often. It's used on a daily basis.

How are customer service and technical support?

We get our technical support from Microsoft, who owns Skype. They've always been fantastic. We have been satisfied with the level or response we get.

How was the initial setup?

The implementation of the solution was handled before I came to the company, so I didn't participate in the initial institution. I don't know if the product has a straightforward or complex setup.

I believe that deployment took place under the supervision of another team.

What other advice do I have?

With work from home situations increasing, and a company would benefit from using this solution. The collaboration capabilities are great and allow for real-time interactions within teams. It's perfect for remote work.

I'd rate the solution nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
WH
Owner at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 10
Great for remote meetings, very stable, and reliable

Pros and Cons

  • "There are free versions of the solution available."
  • "It would be ideal if the solution could make instant messages more permanent. Currently, if you close the conversation, you lose the instant messages that you shared during the meeting. If those could last beyond the meeting, that would be a great addition, due to the fact that frequently, people give each other key details, important information, or email addresses, etc., during the meeting. If you don't write it down during the meeting, after the meeting closes, it's gone forever. That can be quite frustrating."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for our business meetings.

What is most valuable?

The solution is stable.

There are free versions of the solution available.

What needs improvement?

It would be ideal if the solution could make instant messages more permanent. Currently, if you close the conversation, you lose the instant messages that you shared during the meeting. If those could last beyond the meeting, that would be a great addition, due to the fact that frequently, people give each other key details, important information, or email addresses, etc., during the meeting. If you don't write it down during the meeting, after the meeting closes, it's gone forever. That can be quite frustrating.

The ability for the solution to offer a grid view, so you can see all of the people on a call at the same time, instead of just a few selected ones, would be ideal.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for about a year now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution appears to be quite stable. There aren't bugs or glitches. There aren't any crashes. It doesn't freeze. I would say it's reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Our IT team would handle any scaling that needs to be done. It's not something I have direct experience with.

We have about 20,000 users on the product in our organization currently. Everybody uses it, from the accountant to the CEO.

The number of employees has remained fairly stable for a long time. Right now, they're just maintaining it at the same user level. We haven't had any recent growth. I have no idea if we'll increase usage in the future.

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

Skype is actually the first tool like this that I have used. Another company I work with is trying out Zoom, but that's fairly recent.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't a part of the initial setup of the solution. I don't know if it was complex or straightforward. I'm just a user. The IT team is the one that sets it up and configures everything for us. I also can't say if the process of deployment was fast or not or how long the process took.

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

I'm sure there are licensing fees for it, however, I don't know what they are. I know there are free versions of the solution. However, that probably doesn't apply to us as we have a high number of users in this company.

What other advice do I have?

I'm just a user of the product. I'm not a reseller or an integrator.

I use Skype for Business every day.

I'd rate the solution nine out of ten. It's been great so far.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Marc Spicer
Director Of Technology at UNCF
Real User
Top 20
Helpful chat facility and good for internal communications, but call quality and reliability need to improve

Pros and Cons

  • "I use the chat feature to communicate with my staff, which is very helpful."
  • "Going forward, I would like to see better call quality and reliability."

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.
Akash Mukherjee
Manager Global Business Development at Trigent Software Ltd
Real User
Top 10
Calling features and screen sharing are good features; sound quality and clarity need improvement

Pros and Cons

  • "The calling features are most valuable, especially now as we are working remotely."
  • "There are issues with the bandwidth, particularly for external meetings,"

What is our primary use case?

Skype is mainly used for our internal meetings. We have it set up for all the different groups in the company, whether it's my IFC, the marketing team, pre-sales team, senior leadership, etc. We're using the product at least once a day and everybody in the company uses it. We're customers of Skype and I'm the manager of global business development. 

What is most valuable?

The calling features are the most valuable, especially now as we are working remotely  because of this pandemic. The screen sharing aspect is also a valuable feature. For example, if we need to explain something internally or deliver a presentation internally, being able to share the screen is a huge benefit. We also use Google Meet for that, so it's dual usage for us.

What needs improvement?

We have issues with the Skype bandwidth, particularly for external meetings, which is why we also use Google Meet. Also, the sound quality of Skype is not great - there is a constant background humming noise. Clarity is essential, especially in our planning meetings. We can't rely on Skype for that and that's why we sometimes use Google Meet instead. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been at this company for three months and that's how long I've been using the solution. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The system is somewhat stable although there's the issue of the background noise and it's not always clear who is talking. Following the flow of a meeting can become a bit tricky when a lot of people are involved.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable in that we can sometimes have up to 30 people participating in a meeting. 

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

We currently use both Skype and Google Meet. Google Meet is very user friendly with good voice quality. We can record our calls and then share screens when we're making a presentation. It's an easier solution than Skype even though we use both platforms. 
For our external client meetings we use Google Meet and internally we use Skype. 

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a six out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
RS
Manager, Quality and Process Excellence at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Top 20
A stable solution with good support for working from home

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is stability."
  • "We have had trouble with scalability when trying to host large meetings."

What is our primary use case?

We use Skype for all of our video conference purposes.

How has it helped my organization?

Skype for Business and video conferencing makes it easier to work from home.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is stability.

What needs improvement?

The quality of calls has to be improved. I don't know whether it is a server problem that is taking away from the quality, but I have found that it is sometimes poor.

We have had trouble with scalability when trying to host large meetings.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Skype for Business for close to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is good but there are issues with call quality.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I would rate scalability average because I have found that there is an upper limit to the number of people that can be added to a conference. I'm not sure whether it is depending on the license that my organization has, but I do find that scalability is an issue in a large conference scenario.

It is used across our organization, with close to 15,000 or 16,000 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

Our in-house team is responsible for technical support, although if they cannot handle the problem then they contact Skype. When this has happened, our problems have been resolved very fast.

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

I have been receiving meeting invitations from outside of our organization using other solutions, such as Webex. When I attend those meetings I use their software.

What about the implementation team?

Our in-house IT group pre-installed this solution for me. They also handle our support.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
VijayKumar4
AVP - Cyber Secuirty at Cloud4C Services
MSP
Top 5Leaderboard
Enables our teams to have real-time collaboration

Pros and Cons

  • "It has benefited my organization because I can use it on the phone, I can use it on a laptop, wherever I want. The communication channel is very easy now and I can call and chat. It's experienced. Together, my team manages everything. It's very easy."
  • "We have found that there is a lag because it cannot integrate with the internal landline."

How has it helped my organization?

It has benefited my organization because I can use it on the phone, I can use it on a laptop, wherever I want. The communication channel is very easy now and I can call and chat. It's experienced. Together, my team manages everything. It's very easy.

What is most valuable?

There are many valuable features. For collaboration purposes, there are many motivation integrations.

What needs improvement?

We have found that there is a lag because it cannot integrate with the internal landline. It's easier to integrate in the U.S.

We use a link as a browser calling so only calling is available. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Skype for Business for one year. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

You need to follow the guidelines for the HN to be built on multiple servers and multiple in procedures. It's not a big challenge. The stability and the scalability are not a big challenge at all.

We haven't received high availability. There is no problem because you need to follow their guidelines, build the HN high availability solutions. We don't have an issue. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are 900 users who use it in my company. It's used on a daily basis. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Microsoft support is fantastic. I don't have any problems.

What other advice do I have?

People are working from home and this collaboration is efficient and we see real-time collaboration happening from the teams. This is a very good solution for work from home concepts.

In the next release, I would like to see the ability to do group calling. 

I would rate Sype for Business a nine out of ten. 

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