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Skype for Business Cloud Transformation Strategy

A conclusive report on Microsoft Skype for Business deployment potential for enterprises to help maximize ROI and reduce overall costs.

Many enterprises today are under increasing pressure to address infrastructure and operational costs while optimizing desktop productivity and collaboration technologies. This includes solutions like Microsoft® Skype for Business™ and video.

West’s Unified Communications Services specializes in voice, video and collaboration technologies. In our approach to technology solution consultation and design, we take a broader and more objective perspective – finding real opportunity to impact current spending that will reap future dividends from technology investments over the long term.

We have performed high level assessments of large and small enterprise environments, focusing on Microsoft Skype for Business deployment potential, considering enterprise voice, video estates and meeting delivery, and use of event services. This report is a summary of those engagements.

From our assessment, companies can achieve real savings in the near and long term by maximizing their Skype for Business investment leveraging cloud-based services.

Transitioning Your Business to the Cloud

Realizing Cost Reduction by Moving to the Cloud

In today’s highly competitive marketplace, it has become essential to be nimble, to be able to react to changes in the global economy quickly with low risk exposure and at low cost. A phased approach can transition businesses to future-proof communication and collaboration technologies while realizing the cost reductions and operational efficiencies now being demanded.

There is no debating the fact that costs go down when Skype for Business is fully deployed and adopted within an organization. Benefits are realized across the whole business – from reducing telecom and travel costs to increasing productivity, knowledge share and information exchange, and expediting decision making. Businesses can achieve even more benefit and cost reduction from Skype for Business and surrounding video and event services by taking these to the cloud.

Skype for Business Cost Reduction

Illustrated above is a high level view of cost reduction potential as each phase is realized, moving to cloud based Skype for Business, Enterprise Voice, Video and Message Broadcast services.

A Targeted Cloud Transition Approach

Reduce Costs, Increase Efficiency and Productivity, Use Savings Realized to Fund Future Environment

Cost reduction and cost avoidance are the primary ROI advantages enterprises will gain from Skype for Business. With measurable reduction in travel and telephony costs achieved through Skype for Business deployments, businesses enjoy increased cash flow. But the size of savings is directly tied to the organizations commitment to the technology investment and the deployment model selected.

According to an article published by Forbes Inc., “you don’t have to spend money to make money. In fact, you shouldn’t.” And from what we can tell, everything we are proposing in a cloud based/hybrid service model is less expensive to buy and maintain than traditional on premises deployments.

Key areas where West can help your business work smarter, get more out of your Skype for Business investment by transitioning to the cloud:

  • Reduce and consolidate vendors (hardware, video, voice, webcasting)
  • Reduce infrastructure requirements and associated costs from voice, video and collaboration solutions (eliminating associated maintenance, management, monitoring, power/AC, etc.)
  • Reduce operational costs surrounding in-house voice and video environments
  • Improve audio quality with West optimized dial in/dial out PSTN conferencing service
  • Manage transition, maximize user adoption through proven training solutions

3-Phase Transition Strategy

Our transformation vision will result in a hosted/hybrid managed environment, leveraging existing infrastructure where possible and migrating other services/support requirements to the cloud. This approach has a number of key advantages. For example, it provides IT expertise from specialist teams like West’s, IP based solutions to simplify updates, integration and configuration, and hosted infrastructure to benefit from latest technology instead of in-house legacy systems.

Phase One
Cut Back Video Infrastructure and
Estate and Use Video Meeting Gateway
Phase Two
Put Voice in the Cloud
Stream Events
Phase Three
Leverage Full Cloud Services
Reduce infrastructure, operational
and conferencing costs

Leverage Skype for Business for
enterprise voice and InterCall
audio for PSTN dial in/dial out

Interface video endpoints with
Skype for Business

Continue to reduce infrastructure,
operational and conferencing
costs by migrating Skype for
Business to the cloud

Enjoy a single global help desk
Leverage Skype Meeting
Broadcasts for streaming

Eliminate conferencing spend,
heavy infrastructure and
operational costs

Free up IT resources for other
projects/purposes

CapEx is Minimized, User Experience is Maximized

Our approach to technology transformation centers on Skype for Business full deployment, video and message broadcasts. The facts around cost reduction potential from these changes are clear:

  • Skype for Business (SFB) will reduce costs, when fully turned on (telephony, conferencing, collaboration).
  • PSTN Dial In/Dial Out Service for Skype for Business optimizing the audio call experience, quality and reach of your Skype for Business meetings.
    • ECC Lync Edition for Skype for Business Server environments (hosted or on premises)
    • ACP for Skype for Business for Office 365 environments
    • ACP-Federated for Skype for Business hybrid environments
  • Skype Meeting Broadcast (SMB) and West Webcasting services are less expensive than Operator Assisted audio conference calls
  • West Video Meeting Gateway (VMG) is less expensive than maintaining, managing and manually operating legacy on premises video bridging infrastructure.
    • VMG automates the same process – which means “people-less” bridging; booking is via integrated calendar entry.
    • VMG is IP based, so NO new kit is required; plus it works with standard desktop equipment (webcams, rooms, etc.).
  • Professional Video Managed Services to provide proactive monitoring and management along with basic and concierge call support services, plus a consultative, intelligent approach to target systems to decommission and where appropriate, optimal replacement hardware.

Instead of having to find new money to invest in technology and service solutions to maximize your Skype for Business, voice and video environment, our approach is to take the funds gained from savings realized to support your new environment investment.

Focus on Transition Managemnt

For savings to accrue, businesses need clearly defined user adoption and corporate policies that mandate Skype for Business use. This is where tapping into specialized and proven Transition Management services, like those offered by West, can make all the difference.

Working closely with your provider through a targeted, phased approach ensures that your business environment and communication culture is actively supported to achieve your business, IT and end user goals.

Drive User Adoption, Communicate Easier, Have Better Meetings

West has a long history in audio conferencing. Our proprietary globally hosted platform, InterCall IP Conferencing Platform (IICP) continues to lead the industry and revolutionize how businesses communicate. IICP is the backbone of InterCall Reservationless-Plus®.

IICP’s flexible design enables customers to integrate the Reservationless-Plus audio conferencing service with a whole range of desktop collaboration tools, easily fitting into the way people around the world work. After all, what is a meeting without audio? Whether from a desk phone, smartphone or softphone, meetings are launched quickly and simply, connecting people all over the globe.

Part of IICP’s leading edge is the voice quality technology built into the platform. Configured and optimized to bring excellent call quality, the platform today includes echo cancellation, background noise reduction, gain, packet loss concealment and jitter buffers.

End Goal: Making Your Business Smarter

Your provider’s ultimate goal should be to help your business maximize its Skype for Business investment, leverage the full breadth of capabilities inherent in the technology and streamline your operational infrastructure and associated costs.

West Skype for Business Options

Finding a Partner to Meet Your Business Needs

It is not uncommon that a large enterprise has an existing environment that is not conducive for modern collaboration technologies to be rapidly deployed, realized and working natively together. And in-house IT resources are often at their limit. This makes it tough to achieve workplace collaboration, desktop and mobility goals. With a trusted partner, businesses can improve the Skype for Business environment to deliver the productivity and efficiency needed.

As a specialist in this area, West’s team of solutions architects and engineers can help make things work as they were intended. And this can be achieved at a faster pace – bringing the end results to businesses in a quick timeframe.

Our recommendation:

  • Rely on a hosted, managed services providers expertise for voice, video, collaboration and message broadcasts
  • Have a single global outsourced Help Desk for all technologies
  • Consolidate vendors – eliminating duplicate services and overlap, maximizing buying power
    • Let a trusted provider, like West, manage your vendors and act as your advisor – maintain the lower spend, provide intelligent solutions, be agnostic/objective (unlike many T1 vendors today)
    • Salvage as much of the existing environment as possible
    • Minimize costs for hardware replacement
    • Maximize existing infrastructure investments
  • Ensure the Skype for Business and video environments work together properly
    • Using West Video Meeting Gateway (conferencing adapter) today to reduce your infrastructure requirements
    • Eliminate dependencies on in-house bridging which rely on human resources to manage, monitor and maintain
  • Remove in-house resources required to manage voice and video environments

Choosing a Financial Model That Works

Sourcing the right technology to serve your workforce is only part of the total solution. It must also be consumable in a pricing model that is affordable and brings good value.

Skype for Business solutions are available as UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service), which means they can scale and flex to suit business requirements without requiring huge upfront costs. Combined with our dynamic global billing capabilities, we can offer creative, flexible solutions to help you realize the benefits of UC and see savings to your overall spend.

Getting Started

Skype for Business Getting StartedWest has a global certified engineering practice and has been classified by Gartner as Leaders in UCaaS. This group can deliver a formalized UC report with recommendations for you. To start this journey consider the following key next steps:

  • Schedule Technology Workshops with our Skype for Business, voice, video and webcasting experts to scope out the overall solution design and preliminary project plans for each work stream to achieve the end goal – cloud services and cost reduction
  • Initiate Proof of Concepts with targeted technologies to let you test for yourself how the solutions can work for your business

For more information: Contact West Unified Communications Services at 1-877-489-7647

Skype for Business from West  

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