How to Select the Right Video Conferencing Platform
The video conferencing dance has slowly become a major part of the daily user work cadence in most organizations. As more and more employees work remotely, and companies look to conduct business on a global scale, it’s impossible to imagine a scenario where a company doesn’t need a reliable meeting and video conferencing platform. But what’s the best platform to standardize on – Zoom, Skype for Business, Cisco Webex Teams, Microsoft Teams…? Well, the final and best choice really solidifies when a strategic evaluation of the full collaboration and communications ecosystem is carried out.
Isn’t Skype for Business Phasing Out?
Skype for Business has evolved over the years to become one of the standard-bearers of UC telephony. While it’s experienced a few name changes (remember OCS? Lync?), it’s been a core part of most companies’ unified communications strategies. This is because Skype is priced competitively, is geared toward all business sizes, and has the major support of the Microsoft giant. Skype for Business encompasses the most detailed and comprehensive set of audio and video needs that satisfy even the most detailed requirements of corporate business users. Yet, without proper network infrastructure, IT support, and specialty management tools like PowerSuite™, end users can still find themselves unsatisfied with their conference calls.
Considering customer and market feedback, Microsoft decided to create another wave of revolution for Skype for Business, but going much further than a name change and server update. Microsoft has invested heavily in Microsoft Teams, the new workstream collaboration (WSC) platform that it claims is now (finally, after 2 years) at feature parity with Skype for Business. While Microsoft has yet to give an end of life (EOL) date for Skype for Business, and in spite of the recent release of a new version of Skype for Business Server it’s hard to imagine that it’s too far away.
So, if you’re looking to add a collaboration and communications platform that provides robust support for meetings, chats and calls what do you do? Is it really a Zoom vs Skype for Business question? Or is it really a Zoom vs Teams question?
Or, is the most forward-thinking modern-day IT conferencing strategy one of interoperating, multiple platforms – a sort of well-managed wild west?
Multi-Platform: Get Used to It
According to Nemertes, 54% of companies are using more than one provider for their communication and collaboration needs. They found that, on average, companies are using 3.8 providers.
When businesses communicate and collaborate they often are working with both internal and external parties. So while the internal marketing team might schedule their weekly meeting over Microsoft Teams, their outside vendors may send meeting requests through Zoom, and their sales team might be making external calls via Skype for Business.
In this example, it’s not really a question of Zoom vs Skype for Business. The use of multiple platforms increases the complexity involved in managing the workstream collaboration environment, and it falls to IT to make sure there are clear policies in place, and that end users are trained to know how and where to collaborate with each other.
Where Are You in Your Collaboration Journey?
Standardizing on a few vs many collaboration and communications platforms can help make the ecosystem manageable for both IT and end users. If you’re trying to decide whether to stick with Skype for Business vs Zoom, it’s worth considering which workstream collaboration apps your company is already using. Also ask yourself, where are you in your WSC journey?
If you’re currently a Skype for Business user and you’re getting ready to transition to a new platform, it’s going to be an easy sell to jump onto Microsoft Teams with all the same functionality as Skype for Business + more. But, if your company is already dependent on Slack, Zoom may be the better choice due to their strong partnership and newly announced increase in product integration.
In the end, the best choice is all about evaluating what your users are already working with day to day and then determining which platforms may help either augment what is already being used or help fill in the gaps.
If you’re trying to understand usage across platforms, specialty tools like PowerSuite can help give IT teams a single pane of glass to benchmark performance and adoption across several conferencing platforms. PowerSuite can help uncover usage and adoption trends across platforms which might signal the appropriate timing for either fully deploying one platform or moving away from a legacy platform. PowerSuite telemetry can even help to spotlight unmet needs such as users that would like to use Zoom but are struggling (and perhaps defaulting to other platforms) because there aren’t enough Zoom-enabled meeting rooms.
For help navigating the changing landscape of workstream collaboration, learn more about PowerSuite.