3 Skype for Business Challenges for IT to Overcome
With Cisco moving to acquire BroadSoft, Unified Communications as a Service platforms are about to seriously streamline. Well, unless you’re Skype for Business. Unlike competing platforms, Skype for Business relies on a myriad of technologies, from a range of vendors, which can make the ecosystem complex to integrate, monitor and manage. The task doesn’t have to be daunting, though. IT teams can separate, then tackle, ecosystem pain points in three key areas: Server/Infrastructure, Network and Endpoints.
1. Make the Right Choice for Server/Infrastructure
If you like options, Skype for Business is for you. Companies can choose from on-premises, cloud and hybrid deployments, and it supports many third-party extensions. As we watch the shift from on-premises to cloud topology become more popular, all these choices become a little overwhelming. That’s especially true with Skype for Business, since its feature set and current limitations of specific deployment methods is constantly evolving. For example, just this past September, Microsoft announced Skype for Business Server 2019, which will not include a Standard Edition server deployment option. Instead, it will be supported to deploy Enterprise edition with a single server node, which means a separate back-end SQL server will be required for a single server deployment.
For companies that are ready to embrace cloud, the migration does eliminate complexity. But for many enterprises that are more comfortable with on-premises, the evolution of Skype for Business forces them to re-evaluate future communications technology roadmaps.
Irrespective of the infrastructure selected, to reduce complexities and increase the success of Skype for Business, companies should define overall goals. Enterprises should ask questions like:
- What are the budgetary constraints?
- How much control is necessary? Are there regulatory guidelines that must be met?
- What kind of endpoints will be connected?
2. Create a Reliable Network and Overcome Challenges
Companies probably aren’t adopting Skype for Business because their workforce needs a better way to communicate while they sit in the same room. Realistically, the users are mobile workers relying on wireless networks, home-based employees that connect from residential networks, hotels, airports, client sites and good old Starbucks. It’s safe to say that the network is going to cause pain points.
To prepare the network before a deployment, it’s critical to take action to know what’s really happening, including:
- Conducting a baseline assessment to gauge the overall health of the network. This should include a comprehensive summary of all network paths that deliver Skype for Business services.
- Assessing performance-specific network metrics, such as bandwidth, that the carrier is actually providing.
- Identifying if Skype for Business will mesh well with the other demands of the network.
- Testing how network usage affects performance to see if utilization nearing total capacity impedes normal business behavior.
3. Make Skype for Business Work, No Matter the Endpoint
The third area that provides complexity is one that ties it all together: endpoints. Today’s users have laptops, tablets, iPhones, Android phones and more, all dependent on networking. How devices are connected and when vary widely, and their issues do too. When evaluating endpoint technology partners, consider if custom software or gateways will be needed to interoperate with Microsoft, and how the quality of voice and video varies.
For organizations that institute a bring-your-own-device policy, or just generally have multitudes of devices to support, IT will need a tool that can help pinpoint if the quality issue is with the endpoint, network or application.
While complexity seems to be permeating today’s ecosystems, that doesn’t mean troubleshooting has to follow suit. AppNeta helps break down the three key areas by providing an end-to-end view for any cloud, every user and all locations—request a free trial today.