What do you think of when you hear that you need to join a web conference?

  • WebEx
  • GoToMeeting
  • TeamViewer
  • Lync
  • Skype

Clearly, there are a lot of options out there to choose from when it comes to business solutions. 

And what do you think of when you want to IM, call or video chat with your friends across the globe?

  • Skype
  • FaceTime
  • Google Hangouts

Why not have a one-stop shop for both business and pleasure? Well, Microsoft purchased Skype in 2011 and is now hoping that acquisition will pay off by renaming Lync as “Skype for Business” – and reaping the benefits of Skype’s stellar brand recognition and already loyal following.


So, what is Skype for Business? Essentially it’s an enterprise-grade, secure, IT-managed platform to easily connect with your coworkers and friends – all in one app on your favorite device. You will get the same great experience and security you would expect from a business solution along with the familiarity that you have with using Skype at home. They will also be federated together blurring the lines of personal and business to make our lives a little easier to manage.

Send IMs, start audio or video calls, conduct online meetings and share multimedia all from your Microsoft Office apps. Scheduling meetings through Outlook will be a breeze, and with one click you can launch those meetings from apps like Word or PowerPoint.

Security is always a big concern when merging platforms, so all communications will be protected by strong authentication and encryption. Control of employee accounts also allows administrators to govern employee accounts to add or remove subscriptions and assign features based on users’ collaboration needs.

Reducing cost and complexity with one solution makes perfect sense to me, especially since you can still make and receive calls on PBX phones and join meetings with most video teleconferencing systems. This integration level with existing, on-premises equipment is a huge selling point.

I am definitely looking forward to further evaluation of the new client and services to come. If you are interested in taking a test drive, you can get the technical preview information here until April 30, 2015.

Lastly, the process for migrating to Skype for Business Server 2015 is not without options, so check out this CDW Solutions Blog post to help ensure a smooth transition for your organization.