This is a long one but turns out it is a pretty fun one too! Consisting of 6 lessons and the Knowledge Check, it begins by giving me a brief overview of the Skype for Business basics. Online meetings and instant messaging being are the key features in Skype for business.
As always, the music sounds and the interactive component begins. I am shown how to update my status, change my presence and location all on my Skype for Business profile. These functions remind me of a more formal social media site one where you can update fellow users, in this case colleagues on your whereabouts and activities. It seems to be a pretty clever and a useful tool especially for businesses with staff members constantly on-the-go. Skype for Business syncs with your Office 365 Outlook calendar and automatically changes your skype status, presence and location accordingly.
The e-instructor explains the contacts list and how easy it is to group your contact according to your relationship with them. In Skype for Business all of your contacts will automatically be saved in the “Colleague” group. This grouping method can be changed and managed to suit you and the size of your organisation.
Lesson 3 begins to speak my languageas a millennial who grew up on instant messaging (IM). I remember rushing home from school after spending all day with my friends only to continue to talk to them on the late MSN (RIP). Skype for Business has a sophisticated IM tool for quick conversations between colleagues. It is nice to see that IM has come a long way from the MSN days, but one thing hasn’t changed, in fact it is fast becoming an integral part of communication in today’s world. I’m talking about the Emoticon of course.
Skype for Business gives you the option to send an emoticon with your message. Adding to the more relaxed nature of the communication, making it an appealing way to communicate with colleagues.
Alongside emoticons you are able to send files quickly, participate in two or more separate conversations at once and have conversations with multiple colleagues in the same message box, eliminating the need to repeat information.
The e-instructor reiterates that everything on Office 365 is connected. I can access Skype for Business IM in Outlook and instantly respond to an email on that platform rather than sending a formal email response. I can also send instant messages in shared documents during collaborative working for fast answers. Pretty cool.
Moving on to voice and video calls, the e-instructor informs me that devices must have audio and video capabilities that are either supported on the device or externally connected.
During the interactive component of the voice call lesson I learn about answering and ending calls. I hang up on my virtual friend Victoria and pick up a call from Garret instead. Sorry Vicky. Another feature I am loving is that you can choose not to appear in a video call. Instead you are given the option to answer via IM or Voice call eliminating any bad hair day anxiety.
Skype for Business has a useful feature for scheduling virtual meetings with colleagues. In conjunction with the Outlook calendar I can create a Skype for Business meeting. I am able to set the time and date of the meeting and invite as many people as I like via their email. All colleagues will receive an email with the meeting details and a link to enter the meeting. In addition you are not required to be an Office 365 user or Skype for Business user to be a part of the meeting. Join the meeting using a telephone number and still be a part of the discussion.
When the meeting is in session there are many features to take advantage of as the meeting admin. You can put people on mute if they are being too noisy (or talking too much), disable IM or Video and hide the names of all in attendance. There is also an option to make everyone an attendee, meaning that only the meeting admin may speak. Each function is there to help meetings run smoothly and more efficiently.
In the final lesson I learned about collaboration features across all of the Skype for Business functions, IM, audio and video calls. You are able to share what you are currently working on with any colleague you wish, this can be your entire desktop or any isolated program to share for colleague viewing or collaboration in real time.
A PowerPoint presentation can be shared and presented via any Skype for Business function with users having the ability annotate, highlight and edit the presentation as it is in session. Group whiteboards, polls and live Q &A’s can also be enabled to provoke greater engagement from the invited colleagues.
This course was very informative and it is clear to see how useful and innovative this feature is and Office 365 is really changing the way in which a business operates in today’s technological world.
Knowledge Check time! Easy! I got all of the questions correct! I’m really getting the hang of Office 365 and 365 Accelerate is so easy to use it doesn’t feel like a chore. Next stop, SharePoint.