In a previous post, I wrote about our awesome new facility, Raidious Control. Control is an amazing facility in downtown Indianapolis. The best part about this about the facility is that we do not actually have to be there to get our work done. A critical part of my role at Raidious is making sure that our teams can communicate effectively and efficiently in a cloud-based, location-independent environment. We use many tools to accomplish this. I will detail one of these tools in this post and other tools in future posts.
The focus of this post is Skype.
Skype is a well known brand. On Tuesday, May 10th, the company was purchased by another large brand, Microsoft. Many people use Skype to talk with their families and friends from locations all over the world. What many people don’t know is that Skype has a great offering for business and enterprise as well. It is a great tool, but it was not my first choice to deploy to Raidious.
When Raidious was launched, we immediately deployed Google Apps (more on this in a later post) and as part of that deployment, Google Talk was rolled out as the chat client of choice, due to it’s integration with many off-the-shelf chat clients, such as Adium, iChat, and Trillian.
It is a great tool, and it worked for our first year as a great way for us to know who was “in the office” at any given time. Video chat and screen sharing were also a great option for collaboration. As our team scaled, however, we realized that utilizing individual cell phones for phone numbers was not an ideal telephony solution, moreover, our team had experience a couple of issues when utilizing iChat / Google Talk for screen sharing and client collaboration.
At the beginning of 2011, we moved our entire telephony and chat infrastructure to Skype. Skype for business has a great portal for centrally managing an entire company of Skype accounts, from phone number deployment to user account creation, it really is all encompassing. Our team immediately fell in love with the tool, and we use it to stay in communication via our iPhones, desktops, and potentially other Skype enabled devices. While not as great as Fuze meeting for large groups, Skype also provides screen sharing as a great option for quick collaboration between co-workers.
With Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype, the move into enterprise telecom is almost a sure thing. Skype offers few barriers for entry – low cost and ease of implementation. Microsoft will have a huge leg up on businesses wanting to re-build their telecom infrastructure.
My only frustration with the service is the simple oversight of a call transfer ability in the mac client. Users of Skype for Business:Windows are able to transfer calls between users with ease. This function appears to be missing from the mac client.
Overall, Skype has been a great tool for us. Anyone else deploying Skype for their business?