Skype For Business
Your Skype For Business Partner
In 2007 we completed our first integration of Microsoft Office Communications Server with Outlook to provide ground-breaking click-to-call functionality for the law firm Simmons & Simmons.
In 2013 we became a founding member of the Unified Comms Alliance, a group of 40 elite Microsoft partners across 80 countries, dedicated to managing and simplifying global deployment and support of Skype for Business for international organisations. This coincided with the successful trials and launch the ‘Skype for Business Integration Client’, jointly funded by G3, giving owners of Avaya, Shoretel and Broadsoft systems the ability to enjoy key features of Skype For Business.
Today, we are Microsoft Silver accredited for ‘Communications’ and ‘Cloud Productivity’, we are certified practitioners of the Skype For Business Operations Framework for our 4D service offering, and we are one of just a handful of service providers accepted by Microsoft into their Partner Development Unit (PDU), for those with the skills and ambition to develop or integrate Skype For Business with other technology.
Our Converged Management Platform gives global visibility of voice traffic across converged, multi-vendor solutions, with proactive alerts to prevent failures impacting business operations. The CMP is the first Skype For Business Monitoring and Diagnostics solution to be accredited by Microsoft.
We offer a bespoke cloud migration service, a hybrid cloud/on premise solution or an Office 365 cloud voice deployment. Our skills are based on many years of moving PBX switches to cloud/hybrid environments, providing dedicated cloud-hosted services from our proprietary, multi-tenant solution or providing services to SMEs from third party cloud phone systems.
Our core MPLS network, fully managed from the London NOC, is enabled with ‘Intelligent SIP’, a breakthrough in delivering aggregated voice services across the world with a simpler, more cost-effective approach compared to conventional SIP. Globally distributed hubs give easier control of latency whilst an innovative network provisioning platform enables a bespoke, more agile approach to meeting performance requirements.
The decision to move to SfB is always governed by two considerations:
1. What are the benefits of moving to Microsoft?
2. What are the benefits of keeping your legacy system?
The balance between these issues has important consequences for business continuity and return on investment. (Ask us about a Business Value Assessment).
Every business has different circumstances and there is always a vast number of options to consider in the ‘legacy vs new’ appraisal. G3 Comms has the expertise to make sense of these options. This comes from 20 years of award-winning projects and top partner accreditations with Avaya and ShoreTel, plus engineering skills and qualifications for other top vendors including Cisco.
Clearly the extensive range of Skype for Business features, licenses and platforms presents great scope and poses important decisions to ensure your solution fits your business requirements now and into the future. Getting this right can be a daunting challenge, particularly if voice and unified communications are not in your field of expertise. On top of this, you need to decide how to deal with the legacy system being replaced.
Within our Professional Services portfolio of services, BVA is a critical process that lays the foundation for the deployment that follows. Business processes are prioritized according to their criticality and aligned with the proposed communications system to identify where the business benefits from comms expenditure most and where the comms system must accommodate and mitigate areas of risk to the business.
G3 Comms Professional Services has the expertise to take a truly holistic approach to making sense of these options for your communications media and infrastructure.
There are the networks, call management services and other integrated UC services to consider. Ultimately, Skype for Business also brings with it a new approach to working and encourages a business culture based on openness and collaboration. Cultural changes of this type demand careful attention in order to win acceptance of the new technology by the workforce and gain the full benefits of increased productivity.
Most, but not all, businesses adopt a program of deployment over time in which all or part of a legacy system is replaced in a staged migration to all or part of Skype For Business. Whilst planning of this ‘journey’ is critical, every business and deployment is different and it is impossible to provide precise examples. However, most fall into one or other of the following categories:
Generally, businesses build their Skype for Business solution in stages, working in tandem with legacy systems over time. However, a rip-and-replace approach, moving everything into the Microsoft cloud with a Skype for Business solution across all your users, will give the instant benefits of one integrated, productivity suite with a familiar user interface. This assumes that the residual business value of your legacy system is negligible.
You may consider deploying Skype For Business on premise or hosted, not in the cloud, because of concerns over data centre security or you do not wish to disrupt your existing WAN, data centre facilities and support. Of course, the down-side to this approach is the expense incurred on maintaining and upgrading hardware on premise compared to the cloud.
You may keep your current phone system but integrate it with Skype For Business online to take advantage of the UC and collaboration features such as presence, IM and video. Specific users or certain business processes might be moved to Skype For Business to benefit from the integration and collaboration advantages, but the PBX and desk phones are retained for other users.