There is no doubt that Skype for Business has revolutionised communication for good:
- It's growth has been staggering across Enterprise and this SMB alike.
- However, whilst end-user feedback has been great, the question is, has every finance director received the return on investment that his CTO or IT Director promised?
- The jury is out, however this blog is aimed at ensuring there's a way to escape the question forever.
- It also answers how do you extend Skype for Business to reach its full potential and at the same time maximise productivity and minimise unnecessary business travel.
So let's look at the answer on two dimensions:
- Firstly, look let's look at why it's so popular, over 70% of the Top 10000 have Skype for Business.
- Secondly, let's look at its potential, as our surveys have shown 83% of IT directors have not fully unlocked that ROI, in either a tangible cost reduction way or a less tangible increase in productivity. Both highly desirable.
Skype for Business is what we call 3D capable, so what do we mean by that?
To understand 3D communication you first have to grasp the meaning of 1D and 2D communication.
1. Skype for Business has definitely moved us from a world of 1D communication using audio conferences and primarily hearing as the primary method of message absorption. (one dimensional communication, hearing only)
2. Beyond 1D, there's two dimensional communication, 2D. (hearing and images based 2D communication) Where at least we could comprehend things faster because the mind recognises images much faster than words.
In a world of 3D communication, where all the senses, hearing, seeing images and sensing body language can be deployed, there is a quantum leap in the speed information can be both absorbed and retained.
Advantages of 3D communication
So what are the advantages of 3D communication vs 1D and 2D communication?
Very simply 1D communication hearing only, is processed by your short term memory, lacks the speed of comprehension of images and has limited communication benefits, ease of use being one of them.
2D communication, where you have screen sharing typically combined with audio conferencing, enables the users to comprehend messages far faster as scientists have long proven that we can absorb an image and it's message 60000 x faster then we can the written word.
The other major benefit is that images are processed by the long-term memory and as such there is a twofold benefit as not only messages can be understood quicker, but the message is retained for longer.
Skype For Business Improvements
So how has Skype for Business with 3D communication capabilities improved over its 2D forbearers?
A major benefit has undoubtedly been adding visual communication and the ability to sense body language, which depending on the researcher and the type of communication can be up to 55% of a message and how it's interpreted.
Fine Tolerance between Skype For Business and Traveling to Face to Face Meetings
The addition of body language has been a major breakthrough, in that we can finally get to a situation where if you're judging whether to physically go to the meeting or have an online meeting there is a very fine tolerance now as all the emotional intelligence from a 3D meeting can be gained within a mouse click.
Whereas that key meeting face to face requires travel requires a budget requires a time slot in the diary and probably necessitates delay.
So with Skype for business we are moved to a situation where the messages are understood better and retained longer, however we are also knocking on the door of breaking down the final barrier that requires us still to travel, with the addition of Visual communication and body language, which means we can seriously question the need to travel.
A summary of where we are with Skype for business and it's success is we are most definitely at a position of 3D communication we're all 3 senses are employed and we can make faster decisions better, by getting quicker input and faster levels of understanding.
However when we go the extra mile and start to question can we use Skype for Business to reduce travel we run into a serious hurdle. That hurdle, is the fact that while Skype for Business is an extremely good 3D communication tool it is largely deployed for internal communication and not for external communication!!
So let's explain that further, Skype for Business can be federated or whitelisted to allow other Microsoft based organisations to communicate on Skype for Business across all organisations (with Microsoft) reducing travel, however if any of those organisations have not deployed Skype for Business or are in fact closed, then our opportunity to reduce travel is cut short.
Answer and Options?
So the real question is how can we communicate with any supplier, customer, partner or contractor without having to worry about what device they're using, what platform they are connecting from so that we can use 3D communication to remove business travel and increase productivity dramatically.
If we can do that then every organisation that achieves this status will see tangible benefits in financial performance through productivity gains.
The Road to ROI
So let specify the criteria that enable us to get to to this communication utopia and then see how we get there.1. The ability to connect to any customer partner supplier or contractor on any device comma the real test of this being video devices or just normal audio.
2. The ability to connect to the same customers partners suppliers and contractors irrespective of their platform be it Cisco, Polycom, Life-size, Starleaf, Apple or Google.
3. The ability to do so and stay within Skype for Business for our internal users, not change any user workflows, not require any plugins. To achieve this whilst basically using the same native contact, invite and start a video processes that the Skype for Business users, are used to.
3 Requirements for Utopia
These three simple requirements, if they can be delivered, can then seriously challenged the need to travel to get that emotional intelligence in meeting connectivity, that you would normally get from a face-to-face meeting.
First the good news!
The answer to the first one is, we turn 4D communication as you probably guessed this is adding another dimension to 3D, by adding the ability to connect from any device.
4D Familiar Devices
The beauty of 4D is familiarity because as soon as you allow the ability to connect from any device you are saying to the user that you can connect from devices that are familiar to you and therefore the likelihood of training issues is far lower.
The umbrella term we use for 4D communication is familiar collaboration because it adds this key attribute.
5D Flexibility and True Collaboration
5D communication goes another step further by extending 4D to any platform so it doesn't matter which Apple Cisco Google or Microsoft platform you using you can still connect.
5D therefore, is defined by the ability to add any platform and we call this 5D communication capability, True Collaboration.
Skype for Business True Collaboration or Microsoft True Collaboration can be delivered by suppliers who have the ability to connect any device and any platform this means for the IT Director/CTO, having the flexibility to embrace anything a supplier customer or partner/ contractor has.
Native Answers - No Plugins
Another key Factor of true collaboration is the ability to connect natively from within Skype for business using familiar Microsoft workflows that do not require external plugins or changes to the major i t configurations and system builds.
True Collaboration - Requirements
So one tip for those of you, who have Skype for Business, but have not yet realised the full productivity wins and travel cost reduction benefits, is that you need to look for suppliers that offer 5D communication capabilities with native Microsoft connectivity.