95% of businesses are on the right side of history. Is yours?

Ross MacKenzie
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Business communications are evolving fast and some companies don’t realise they’re being left behind.

Some years back, I was having coffee with an IT-director friend of mine. He was stressed.  Employees were using instant messaging to communicate between offices.

At first just a few staff, all working on multi-site projects, had started using instant messaging (IM) on the sly. Then the rest of the project teams joined in. By the time of our conversation, even senior managers were badgering him to support the IM client.

"But Oliver, you can’t integrate it with Active Directory. It hogs bandwidth. There’s no audit trail. It’s a backdoor for viruses. And everyone can spend all day yapping with their mates. I’m tearing my hair out”.

Then, the world moved on. Microsoft released Lync Server, and that did come with Active Directory (AD) integration, presence information that was actually useful, as well as audit-trails and reporting. Reasons for avoiding IM in the office were evaporating.

Skype for Business, Lync's successor, does all the good stuff that Lync could do: instant-messaging, chat, file sharing, video calls, multi-person meetings. It also has the encryption, auto-archiving and the other security and compliance my IT director friend was desperate for all those years ago.

And Skype for Business also answers a very pressing business need. With powerful unified communications, sophisticated file sharing, the ability to hold meetings with up to 250 and broadcast a webinar to 10,000, it does away with the need for most face-to-face meetings.

In a recent survey, 95% of businesses said they planned to cut their travel for face-to-face meetings - it was just too expensive. Businesses that use unified communications can successfully reduce travel budgets - and increase their efficiency. The question now is not: why would you adopt PC-based communications for your office? It is: can you afford not to?

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