Skype for Business Review

Most video conference services require you to make the choice between paying higher prices to get more robust features or forgoing them for a cheaper price. Skype for Business, however, is an affordable and effective tool that retains its most valuable assets. You’ll spend less each month on this service than for most others, but you won’t have to sacrifice reliability, high-definition video feeds or the most essential features of video conferencing software. Moreover, the large conference rooms and ability to stream multiple video feeds at once make Skype for Business a good tool for hosting many participants in a single meeting.

In September 2017, Microsoft announced that it will replace Skype for Business with Microsoft Teams, though it has not given a timeline for the transition at this time. Microsoft Teams will allow users to make calls, hold meetings and collaborate with others from a single place.

The No. 1 highlight of Skype for Business is its affordable cost. There are two packages that include Skype for Business (along with other Microsoft Office software), so it’s important to know what you really need before you buy. However, if you don’t already own a license to use Microsoft Office applications, this could be a cost-effective way to bundle those services. Up to 250 participants can be included in a Skype for Business conference under either of these plans. Skype for Business also offers a 30-day free trial.

Skype for Business has a variety of uses beyond video conferencing. When you purchase Skype for Business primarily as a video conference tool, you also get a text chat platform, the ability to make audio calls, and a way to send files quickly and easily (even without setting up a video meeting).

Support for Skype for Business was satisfactory in our experience. While there isn’t a direct sales support line for Skype for Business, calling Microsoft led us to a customer service rep who was relatively knowledgeable and happy to help us resolve our questions. There were a few instances where we encountered wait times, but they weren’t long enough for us to give up. Moreover, Microsoft offers plenty of help documents and tutorials on how to use the system. We never felt as if we’d run into an obstacle with Skype for Business that could not be overcome with relatively little effort.

No dial-in audio: The most notable drawback is that Skype for Business lacks a dial-in feature for meetings. Despite this shortcoming, if your primary interest is using Skype for Business as a video conference platform simply to host meetings and presentations, it shouldn’t be a huge problem if your team has access to a laptop or mobile device.

Learning curve: Skype for Business isn’t particularly difficult to use, but it’s not necessarily intuitive either. It takes some clicking around, especially given its other functions beyond video conferencing. It might take some time to familiarize yourself and your team with the service. Still, this minor learning curve doesn’t impact the overall quality of the service. Also, for users already familiar with Skype, the barriers are significantly reduced.