Communications Blog • 5 MIN READ

Skype for Business and Enterprise Voice

Thomas Poett

Written by Thomas Poett

Things change fast in the world of unified communications, particularly for organizations who use video and voice conferencing applications. Lync for example, was a unified communication solution built by Microsoft specifically designed for the corporate environment. When Microsoft bought Skype, they reinvented and re-branded Lync, which became Skype for Business.

The Skype for Business Server offers two on-premises Enterprise Voice options—Enterprise Voice and Call Via Work, which integrates your network phone system and calls with your Skype for Business Server deployment.

Remote call control was a feature offered in previous versions of Lync Server, which enabled users to make phone calls via their network and control their PBX phones with Lync server. In Skype for Business Server, the remote call control feature has been replaced with Call Via Work

What is Skype Enterprise Voice?

Enterprise Voice a complete voice offering. It is a software-powered Voice over IP (VoIP) solution, which does away with the need for a PSTN or PBX phone, and instead integrates with Outlook and Exchange. Enterprise Voice includes powerful features such as Response Groups, Call Park, team calling, Group Call Pickup, and Enhanced Emergency E9-1-1 support. With Enterprise Voice, users use an audio device such as a headset with their computer, or a VoIP-enabled phone, instead of a traditional PSTN or PBX phone.

How do I integrate Skype for Business with my phone?

Provided your organization has made the option available, you can integrate your non-UC (unified communications) phone with Skype for Business. This means that you can control some functions of your phone with Skype for Business. For example, you can start a one-click call from Skype for Business that will ring your desktop private phone.

Why is a third party monitoring solution so important?

Even though Skype for Business and its Enterprise Voice components has its own monitoring tools, these tools only work for their own products and systems. So how do you monitor and troubleshoot your organization's entire UC environment? Given that most businesses have multi-vendor UC solutions as part of their network, and many are in the midst of a cloud migration, monitoring each and every aspect - from your server, to voice call quality across all calls, to video issues, email problems - can become a daunting prospect.

Many businesses also have a great number of end users - so the user experience becomes an important issue too. You need a third party monitoring tool with built in features that provide visibility across your entire UC ecosystem.

With IR's solutions, a user can see and monitor every component in their UC environment, including the Enterprise voice components in Skype for Business. IR's Prognosis for UC will consolidate all information into a single system and provide the user with a complete, comprehensive view.

In conference calls for example, IR's Prognosis tool can make life much easier by identifying a 'bad' call, ie a user experiencing latency, packet loss or jitter, even if their are over 100 users participating. Prognosis can pinpoint whether the problem lies with the business server, the headset or desk set - or any number of other issues.

Why you need to think about migrating to Microsoft Teams

As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, the only thing that never changes is change! By July 2021, Skype for Business, will no longer be available, and instead will encourage users to migrate to Microsoft Teams. 

Teams was released in 2017, and since its release as part of the Office 365 suite, it has been adding new user capabilities to Teams to create a single hub for teamwork. Users can enjoy features and services that will amalgamate conversations, meetings, files, Office apps, and third-party integrations.

Since its launch, the solution is being used by over 75 million users on a daily basis. Teams provides an intuitive workspace for users, with flexible tools and a wide range of customization and integration options that enable every user to communicate and collaborate in a far more productive way. The chat-based interface and the conversational nature of collaboration makes it much easier and more compelling for team members to participate in decision making, rather than using email.  

Voice Services for Enterprise

Voice Services for Enterprise provides the technology for enabling call control and PBX capabilities in Office 365 with Teams for enterprise customers - or organizations with over 300 users. Voice Services for Enterprise (also known as Phone System) in Office 365 is incorporated as a function within Office 365 SKU and is available for use as an add-on with the Office 365 E3 SKU.

Migrating to Teams promises to be a highly integrated tool for every user...but there are challenges. Organizations need a robust network and solid Wi-Fi to deliver optimal performance for every user. You also need the built-in ability to respond to a problem fast in a proactive and predictive manner - and to see the root cause immediately. Before deploying a new collaboration solution, make sure you protect your investment with the right performance management and analytics tools.

Topics: Communications

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