Skype for Business vs Lync can make anyone’s head spin. We have had several customers and partners ask, “What is the difference between Skype for Business, Skype, and Lync?”
Skype for Business vs Lync
It’s not Skype for Business vs Lync, but rather Lync becomes Skype for Business. We still hear the Lync name, though, because the Office 365 rollout is not yet complete. Once all users are upgraded to the Skype for Business platform, that will fade into history.
When Microsoft bought Skype in 2011, it had many in the tech world shaking their heads and asking, “Why?” Paying $8.5 billion for a consumer-based product seemed crazy. Only now is their plan coming together. They have rebranded Lync to Skype for Business, and while this seems to have thoroughly confused users, it has brought Lync out of the shadows and into more conversations.
Differences in Scale and Function
There is no difference in scale or function with Skype for Business vs Lync. Where the big differences come in is between Skype for Business and Skype. They look very similar, but there are some very big differences. Most are about scale and business concerns, but one of the main differences is Skype for Business costs money.
Skype was made famous by friends, families, and military members having group calls to connect. Many users on Skype simply use the platform to call other Skype users over the Internet. They don’t buy minutes or pay for a plan.
Today companies can add Skype for Business to their Office 365 plans with an additional cost per user, per month. Companies looking to add enterprise voice functionality (E911, Call Park, etc.) on top of the IM, presence, and peer-to-peer calling, need to work with an authorized Microsoft Partner.
Office 365 Integration Brings it All Together
Many businesses find the integration into Office 365 is a big differentiator for Skype for Business vs Lync. Users enjoy using Outlook directly with the Skype for Business IM, voice, and video features, clicking directly on a contact to initiate a conversation with them or schedule a meeting for later. Plus, when using other Office 365 apps, you can collaborate with co-workers and enjoy a fully unified communications experience.
Take Conferencing Up a Notch
Besides the cost, Skype for Business offers capacity and productivity advantages geared for large businesses—or ones that want to to give the appearance of being large. While Skype limits group calls to 25 users, businesses can have up to 250 simultaneous users on Skype for Business.
Companies with multiple offices can deploy Skype for Business and have a dedicated videoconferencing room. The new Skype Room Systems are an easy-to-use video solution for huddle rooms that allow small- to mid-sized businesses to enjoy rich collaboration experiences. This includes voice, video, and content collaboration and is achieved by logging into their Skype for Business account. Users can deploy their standalone cameras and monitors, use the built-in camera on their computer, or use audio gear from third parties such as Polycom.
Many businesses are looking to incorporate their current PBX with Skype for Business. This will allow for routing of calls more easily over VOIP using existing phones—and saving on hardware.
Security Takes a Step Up
VoIP calls will always bring security concerns, but both Skype and Skype for Business are encrypted with AES. Where you really see the difference in Skype for Business vs Lync is in security. Stronger authentication in Skype for Business gives the administrator stronger control over accounts and access to the who can do what with the tool. Administrators have the ability to add and remove users and assign features based on user need.
Skype for Business Reporting
One of the shortfalls in Skype is it doesn’t have a call accounting system. Businesses using Skype had no visibility into peer-to-peer activities including instant messaging, call activity, or application sharing of employees.
Skype for Business reporting is achieved by retrieving call detail records out of the Monitoring Server. If you have hosted Skype for Business, you will need to work with the hosting provider to see if you have partnered with a call detail application to provide Skype for Business reports.
Understand the differences now in Skype for Business vs Lync vs Skype?
Interested in how Skype for Business can help you achieve the promise of unified communications?
Call us to get a demo of any of the VXSuite modules. We also sell, through our partners, a hosted Skype for Business offering that includes the analytics of VXSuite.