Skype for Business to Continue Growth Streak in 2016
2015 has been a remarkable year for Microsoft’s Skype for Business unified communications (UC) offering. By rebranding its enterprise Lync solution with the popular Skype name and making several key enhancements to solidify its enterprise strategy, Microsoft strengthened its enterprise and cloud plays in one fell swoop.
Unify Square, an MSP and consulting firm that offers Skype for Business solutions, believes the hype around Skype will extend into the next year, and the company has made several significant predictions around enterprise adoption. One of the most important factors in the success of Skype and other UC offerings in the enterprise is quality of service and user experience. A UC solution is only as good as the quality of its voice and video components and by the same token, quality endpoints play a huge role in propelling UC into mainstream enterprise acceptance.
According to Unify Square, Skype for Business is poised to exceed 100 million enterprise seats by 2018, if it continues on its current growth trajectory. More than 4,000 companies have begun using Microsoft’s new services since the company integrated Skype into Office 365 in July, with the number growing 20 percent each week. That growth rate ultimately comes down to end-user adoption and satisfaction, according to Unify Square.
Ease of use and quality of experience are perhaps the most important factors when it comes to pleasing end users. And having good quality endpoints can make or break the entire user communications experience. This is where companies like headset provider Jabra come into the picture, offering years of experience providing quality headsets for enterprise use. The company is a Microsoft Gold partner and its products are certified to work directly with Skype for Business.
"Jabra works hand-in-hand with Microsoft to build and deliver world-class audio experiences to the market place," said Giovanni Mezgec, general manager at Microsoft. Jabra endpoints are already in use with Skype for Business at a number of noteworthy enterprises, including Windsor Foods, BearingPoint and Copenhagen Airports.
Jabra isn’t the only company working directly with Microsoft, and Unify Square found that an increasing number of companies are standardizing on Skype for Business as their UC platform of choice. That is a strong indicator of expansion in 2016, along with a growing number of hybrid cloud deployments of the platform. Microsoft’s increased cloud presence and push should help propel Skype in that arena as well.
Finally, Microsoft will gain traction by competing directly with legacy voice carriers. Gartner finds that Skype for Business is slated to earn a top three spot as a global telephony solution by the end of next year, solidifying Microsoft’s place both in the cloud and in the telephony arena.
Edited by Maurice Nagle