If you’re looking for a good video conferencing software for your business, then most people have considered Skype for Business. it’s been one of the most popular softwares over the last few years, and that’s no surprise – it’s pretty cheap, and for what you pay you’re getting quite a good service.
However in recent years a few more competitors have become more prevalent in the video software space, especially Zoom who are seeing massive growth. Plus, there are other softwares which might not be designed specifically for video calls but do have that function available, like Slack.
But between all of these different softwares, which one is going to be the best for you? Well, let’s first take a look at Skype, and then take a look at some of the other options that are currently out there.
Skype for Business Review
Skype for Business is one of the most used video conferencing apps out there. This is because of the plethora of benefits that it has, which include the ability to easy see your coworkers statuses when signing in. You can easily invite your employees to a call without any hassle, which with some other programs, can be a bit less clear on how to do.
The main benefit of Skype for Business is that because it’s being integrated with Microsoft, you have the ability to link your Skype to any Microsoft documents you create. So if you have a Powerpoint presentation, you can easily present this within a group meeting within the app, whereas with other video conferencing software you need to screenshare and go on the app separately. This just makes things a little easier.
So, the biggest advantage of Skype for Business is it’s Microsoft ownership. But, what benefits does the business version of Skype have over the normal Skype? Well, I’ll run through a few things so you can work out whether it’s worth upgrading or looking elsewhere.
What extra do I get with Skype for Business over normal Skype?
The first thing to know is the benefits of paying for Skype for Business over the normal consumer Skype. As we all know, Skype is free for anyone to use. However, this isn’t the case for the business version.
The main differences between the two start with the meeting capacity. With regular Skype, you can have a maximum of 25 people in any online video conference. This would be absolutely fine for small businesses, but if you want more than this, you’d need to opt for the business package. Skype for Business allows up to 250 users, which is a significant increase in comparison to the regular version.
Another big plus for the business option is how it is integrated with Microsoft Office. If you’re going to have the need to screenshare some of your work on documents like Powerpoint and Excel, then the Business version allows you to do this within the actual app. So, if a member of your team has a presentation, you can do this easily within Skype without having to use any other software.
Skype for Business also has higher security measures, although this isn’t that much of an issue because the regular Skype already has a lot of precautions in place. All your calls are encrypted, so you don’t need to worry about valuable information getting leaked.
Some of the other benefits of choosing Skype for Business are the ability to join calls from a web browser (not just in the app), you’ll be able to record meetings if you want & these calls will be in higher definition, too.
However, Skype for Business isn’t all great. The most common complaint you’ll hear from SFB users is that the customer service is just not very supportive, and when you do face issues, the support isn’t very helpful. As well as this, the connection on Skype can be laggy at times.
Best Alternatives to Skype for Business
If you’d prefer a video calling application that integrates with Google, then it might be worth looking at Zoho. The Indian company have a full office suite, and their software is easily integrated with Google’s. You can actually log into Zoho with your Google account, which is handy to keep everything in one place.
In terms of video calling, Zoho has their own software called “Cliq”. Cliq combines the best of Skype’s video calling ability with that of other messenger apps like Slack, so that you get the best of both world. It allows easy collaboration with team members, private messages, video calls and pretty much everything you can get with Skype.
Zoho also offers a ton of other softwares within their suite, and there’s actually a free version you can use to try it out and see if it’s for you. Their paid model is relatively inexpensive, too.
If you wasn’t aware, Microsoft actually bought Skype for over 8 billion dollars back in 2011. In 2017, Microsoft launched their Microsoft Teams software and have slowly tried to integrate the features of Skype for Business into Microsoft Teams, eventually making Skype for Business obsolete when Teams has all of it’s functionality.
However, as of this year Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business are still very much their own entities. The plan is for Microsoft to completely integrate Skype for Business into Microsoft Teams within the next two years (official date in July 2021) – however, if that actually happens we’ll have to see.
Currently though, Microsoft Teams can do pretty much everything Skype for Business does. However, the pricing structure is very different, with Microsoft Teams cheapest package starting at $5 per user per month, going all the way up to $35.
This will cause a bit of a rift with cheaper Skype for Business users, as currently Microsoft have said they will transfer over all details from Skype to Teams. But with the Teams subscription being more expensive, it might not be worth the expensive for those on cheaper plans as they won’t need all the functions that Teams offers.
If you want the best functionality, then it’s probably worth opting for a Microsoft Teams package.
Zoom is one of the most popular video conferencing apps and currently is one of the best, too. Zoom has a lot of the same functions as Skype for Business, including the ability to record calls, screen share when need and have up to 500 participants at once (with 49 of those participants being visible to you).
As well as this, Zoom has a few benefits that Skype for Business doesn’t. The most important of these is probably the easy integration with other softwares, like Slack and Zapier. This makes it really easy to link all of your softwares together. Plus, Skype is obviously Microsofts product, so they want you to use Microsoft Outlook & other Microsoft software with it.
However, most people used Google. And if you use Google Drive, then you’ll want to use Zoom, as it’s very easy to integrate them together.
Another area where Zoom excels past Microsoft & Skype is for webinars. It’s really easy to create a webinar with Zoom and invite your clients with just a simple hosted URL. All you need to do is give your client the URL address and they can easily hop on and watch your webinar. Whoever organizes a Zoom meeting has full control to mute anyone else in the group, so it’s easy to present your ideas.
All in all, Skype for Business will soon be Microsoft Teams. So if you do desire that functionality with your documents, then it’s a given that Microsoft Teams is probably going to be the way forward.
However, as usual we’re left comparing which option to go for out of Microsoft and Google. Other video conferencing software like Zoom is much easier to use with Google, and if you use a lot of Google products at work currently like Drive & Hangouts, then it might be better to opt for a different software.