No Jitter Research Presents: Skype for Business Adoption Trends

  • In this No Jitter reader survey, we get a look at how enterprise organizations are using Microsoft for UC -- from IM/presence to conferencing, voice, video, and beyond.

  • Now that everything Lync has become Skype for Business, here at No Jitter we wanted to assess enterprise adoption of and attitudes toward the Microsoft UC platform and all its various components. How much, or little, is or will communications truly be unified within the Lync/Skype for Business universe?

    To find our answer, last month we conducted a reader survey on Lync/Skype for Business use. Of the 540 enterprise IT professionals who responded to our survey, slightly more than half (52%) have adopted Lync/Skype for Business. From that group, we got perspective on enterprise adoption of presence/IM, conferencing, voice and video; hosted UC; and federation; as well as look at where respondents fall on the age-old Cisco vs. Microsoft issue. In this slideshow we're presenting a few of the findings from our Skype for Business Adoption Trends survey; in-depth analysis will follow at a later date.

  • If anything but presence/instant messaging sat on the top of this list, and room video at the bottom, we'd all be surprised, right? So consider this a scene setting. First and foremost, Skype for Business enters the business as a messaging tool, then, little by little, its use extends into other communication modes. Room video remains a tougher sell, although Microsoft most certainly hopes the Surface Hub that Zig Serafin, corporate VP of Skype for Business, highlighted during his Enterprise Connect 2015 keynote and that popped up again this week on the Microsoft Ignite keynote stage, changes that. As Microsoft Lync room system partners have long known, it's all about easing the transition from the desktop to the conference room.

  • Enterprise Voice aims to give enterprises functionality from Skype for Business that would let the enterprise replace a legacy phone system. This means PSTN connectivity, of course, as well as voice mail and call management capabilities, for example. So far, only about one-quarter -- 27%, to be specific -- of respondents have taken Microsoft's bait and grabbed onto Enterprise Voice as a PBX replacement. Among those organizations, 13% have done a full PBX replacement while another 39% reported that Enterprise Voice has displaced more than half but not quite all previous PBX capacity.

  • So enterprises aren't rushing to toss out their legacy voice systems in favor of voice calling via the Skype for Business client, as we learned in the previous slide. More telling to me, however, is the big virtual thumbs-up Enterprise Voice got from respondents who have made the switch. Using a 1-to-10 scale, with 1 being "much worse," and 10 being "much better," we asked respondents to rate how they felt Enterprise Voice fared as a PBX replacement or as compared to PBX systems still in use. The majority of respondents reported Enterprise Voice as being "better" (61%) or "much better" (27%).

  • Among 259 respondents, only 30% reported using one or another hosted Skype for Business service, with conferencing -- in both audio and Web forms -- getting the biggest nod among that group. The usage breakdown is more or less on par with what respondents reported for their on-premises deployments, as well. We might soon see an easing of enterprise resistance to Lync Online, with the transition to Skype for Business Online, as Ovum analyst Brian Riggs noted in his recent No Jitter post, "Lync Online to Become Full-Fledged Hosted UC Service." Especially if Microsoft bakes Enterprise Voice into Skype for Business Online, as it's expected to do, enterprises will have a real "game changer" to consider, Riggs said. Concerns over security and compliance loom large among our survey base, however, with a third of 274 respondents naming that as the most significant disadvantage of hosted solutions -- Skype for Business Online or any other.

  • As Kevin Kieller, EnableUC partner and Lync/Skype for Business expert noted in a No Jitter post late last year, "federation, or business-to-business collaboration, can significantly improve your interactions with key partners and suppliers." That importance aside, our survey respondents don't quite seem to know what to make of federation. Only a quarter of respondents said their organizations have federated Skype for Business. And, when asked to rate the importance of federation, the percentages of respondents who identified federation as important or very important just about equaled the percentages of respondents who said federation was only somewhat important, not important, or not very important.

  • Microsoft vs. Cisco is said to be the UC battle royal -- yet the fight might not be so fierce within our respondents' organizations. With slightly more than a third of respondents saying they have some UC capabilities from Microsoft and some from Cisco, only 23% of respondents said their organizations have to run UC from both companies. And the number of respondents who say their organizations have standardized on Microsoft for UC or plan to do so is six times that of those who say they're doing so with Cisco. Further, our research shows that, far and away, the impetus for the UC decision comes from the desktop client side of the house rather than the infrastructure side. Nearly 60% of respondents said Microsoft will be their organization's leading UC provider because they're running Lync/Skype for Business on the desktop (for messaging, at least). In comparison, only 13% of respondents said Cisco UC will be the mainstay because their organizations are Cisco data shops.

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In this No Jitter reader survey, we get a look at how enterprise organizations are using Microsoft for UC -- from IM/presence to conferencing, voice, video, and beyond.