In our second annual Skype for Business Adoption Trends survey, No Jitter has once again taken the pulse of our community regarding Microsoft's UC platform (see last year's results here). We had a lot to ask about, given Microsoft's aggressive push of Skype for Business into the cloud, plans it's outlined (and partially delivered on) for PSTN Calling and other voice functionality within Skype for Business in the cloud, creation of the Office 365 E5 pricing and licensing scheme, and more developments that have taken place in the past year.
This year's survey of enterprise IT professionals, conducted in April, netted 445 respondents. Similar to what we found from our 2015 survey participants, half of this year's respondents, or 224 enterprise IT professionals, said their organizations have adopted the on-premises version of Skype for Business. We asked about Microsoft's cloud UC offering, Skype for Business in Office 365, in a separate question that garnered responses from 434 of our survey-takers. As you might expect given its newness in the market, adoption of the cloud Skype for Business offering is lower... not too shabby, however, at 33% of that respondent base.
When comparing adoption on-premises and cloud adoption rates, we found that roughly half of those respondents whose organizations with on-premises Skype for Business deployments also are using its cloud counterpart, Skype for Business in Office 365.
For a deeper dive into these numbers, as well as other insight gleaned from the 2016 Skype for Business Adoption Trends survey, click to the next slide.
Skype4B Use by Company Size
When comparing Skype for Business adoption of all respondents to that among the 182 respondents who work at organizations with 5,000 or more employees, we can see a greater divide between those companies that have adopted the Microsoft UC platform and those that haven't. The biggest difference surfaces with organizations that have between 10,000 and 49,999 employees, with roughly 62% of respondent organizations in that category using Skype for Business and 38% not using it, as shown above.
As for Skype for Business in Office 365 -- on average, our survey shows consistency between large company use and the 33% response rate overall.
Replacing the PBX On-Premises
Of the 224 respondents using Skype for Business on-premises, one-third said they are using Enterprise Voice as a PBX replacement, as shown above. Of those 75 respondents, 52% estimate that their organizations have replaced at least half of their prior PBX capacity with Skype for Business Enterprise Voice, and 63% indicated that their organizations will have done so in two years. Seventeen percent of these respondents report a full replacement of PBX capacity as of today, with 25% reporting that they expect to have fully replaced their PBX capacity with Enterprise Voice in two years.
Overall, 61% of respondents using Enterprise Voice said they consider it to be "better" or "much better" than the PBX systems replaced or still in use at their organizations, as shown above. Conversely, 11% said it is "worse" or "much worse," while 22% said Enterprise Voice and PBX systems are about the same in their experience.
Regarding voice quality, the breakdowns among better/much better, same, and worse/much worse are 51%, 36%, and 11%. And, on feature functionality, 60% found Enterprise Voice to be better or much better, 25% the same as, and 14% worse or much worse than PBX systems.
Flavors of Skype4B O365 Voice Services
Of those respondents whose organizations have already shifted some or all of their UC to Skype for Business in Office 365, many seem to be open to the idea of using Microsoft's cloud-based calling services, too. Just shy of 60% of 175 respondents said they are already using or have considered using Skype for Business in Office 365 for voice services. This slide shows how the interest in Microsoft's cloud voice services breaks down among those 106 respondents. Skype Meeting Broadcast, as you can see in the graphic, has drawn the most interest among those Skype for Business in Office 365 users (particularly among larger companies), followed by Microsoft's cloud-based PSTN Conferencing, Cloud PBX, and PSTN Calling services.
Respondents whose organizations haven't yet begun using Microsoft's cloud-based voice services selected immaturity of the offerings as the biggest stumbling block. But it wasn't very big at that, with only 13% rating immaturity as the biggest gotcha over the next three top reasons: security/compliance concerns, corporate policy/strategy prohibiting use, and inability to customize.
If you want to turn Office 365 into a complete voice communications system, you can do so by signing up for the new E5 licensing package or by keeping your existing license and buying the services separately (see related post, "Success with Skype: Building a Cloud PBX Using New E5 CAL"). Of those respondents at organizations already using or considering using the Cloud PBX and PSTN Conferencing services, 28% said they'll do so via the E5 CAL, while a slightly smaller percentage, 24%, said they'd buy both separately (as shown above).
Overall, our survey base responded more positively than negatively to the E5 plan, with 39% saying they believe it offers a "good path from premises deployment to Skype for Business Office 365" and 22% saying they see the new licensing package as either providing no upgrade incentive (12%) or serving as a deterrent to cloud migration. (Note, a quarter of respondents to this question said they had not yet evaluated E5.)
Displacing PBX Capacity with Skype4B in O365
Among respondents committed to Skype for Business in Office 365 voice services, a portion of respondents (21%) seem prepared to go all-in; that is to say, they expect that the cloud-based voice services will replace more than 75% of their PBX capacity in two years. More conservatively, but perhaps still on the aggressive side, 28% said they expect between half and 75% of their PBX capacity replaced by cloud voice in that timeframe. Another 24% said they expect between one-quarter and half of their PBX capacity displaced, with 17% indicating less than 25% replaced.
Skype4B by the Ratings
Overall, 50% of respondents using Skype for Business in Office 365 voice services said they are better or much better than the PBX systems they've replaced. Nearly that many (48%) said the same of feature/functionality, while only 43% rated the cloud voice quality as better or much better than their traditional PBX systems (the chart does not reflect N/A responses).
Cloud Comms: Pros & Cons
When it comes to weighing advantages and disadvantages of using cloud communications services -- of the Microsoft variant or otherwise -- we didn't find much consensus among respondents, overall or sorted by company size. Those who see no compelling advantages to using such services, however, outnumber those who see no disadvantage, at 22% compared to 15%. Among the other respondents, more favorable licensing costs (18%), more suitable deployment scenarios (17%), and preference for an opex rather than capex model (15%) rate as the top advantages, as shown above. On the other side, concerns over loss of direct control of the UC platform (for reasons other than security and compliance) weighed heaviest against cloud, followed by concerns about higher total cost of ownership and support issues.
Skype4B Cloud Connector Edition
As Skype for Business expert Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC and presenter at our upcoming Summit Series roadshow, "Advancing Your Skype for Business Strategy," explained in a recent No Jitter post, Microsoft offers the Cloud Connector Edition for hybrid voice deployments. As depicted in the Microsoft diagram above, Cloud Connector Edition consists of a set of packaged virtual machines that implement on-premises PSTN connectivity with Cloud PBX so that users, whether in the cloud or on-premises, can send and receive calls through existing voice infrastructure. Among 104 enterprise IT professionals who responded to our question on use of Cloud Connector Edition, nearly two-thirds seem to like this voice hybrid choice.
Advance Your Skype4B Strategy
Join Enterprise Connect for an in-depth, complimentary one-day program focused on Skype for Business. You'll hear leading technology experts' perspectives to help you develop or refine the next 12 months in your Skype for Business plan.
Enter to Win an iPad - Tell Us About Your Website Experiences
No Jitter is asking for your help with a brief survey. The goal of this research is to gain insight into enterprise communications and collaboration technology professionals' purchasing decisions. More importantly, your responses will help us to improve the production and delivery of information to better equip you and your colleagues as you make decisions.
All data we collect is confidential, and responses are anonymous and reported in aggregate. The survey will take about 5 minutes to complete. Please complete the survey by July 1, 2016, and as a thank you for your participation you will have an opportunity to enter a drawing where one randomly selected person will receive an Apple iPad Air 2 (16GB) valued at $399 from No Jitter! (This sweepstakes is not sponsored or endorsed by Apple.)