Part 4: Skype for Business

Skype

So I'm often asked can NAV or CRM link to our phone system. Yes it can but the number of times that happens is minuscule once the complexity and costs are explored. Most phone systems are simply not setup to handle the sort of functionality easily, where we have done it, it's been a long complex project.

Microsoft are solving all of that, not by building links to your system but by replacing it. Built into most versions of Office 365 is the Skype for Business service. This is a considerably upgraded version of Skype that you've probably used. Best thing of all is that it works with Dynamics automatically, out of the box.

The issue with Skype today is that it doesn't link to the phone network easily but Microsoft have announced an agreement with BT and several others to allow you to have a normal phone number (or port you existing numbers) and the call will come into Skype for Business rather than your phone. Outgoing calls can be made to normal phones and mobiles etc. using the same account. This is due to launch later this year.

This means S4B is probably a better phone system than you have now. With recording and video facilities built in you can share your desktop or a single application at the click of a button.

It already has the call routing and conferencing facilities, just needs that final connection to the rest of the phone network. Using just this option as a phone system has been popular at the enterprise level for some time, Microsoft and Carillion are two examples. This will make it affordable to the small to medium sized business as well.

Yes you can have a traditional phone on your desk if you like, there are a bunch of companies like Polycom who make what looks like a traditional handset that instead connects to Skype for business. These work when you PC’s not on for example.

You’ll also get the advantage that making call at the click of a mouse. Incoming calls can be used to search for the number and display the right account. Even routing those calls will be possible with, for instance, the possibility of sending calls from companies with overdue balances straight through to their credit controller!

What I do predict is that the traditional phone system is going to die. In three years the majority will be using a system like Skype for business so I'm really glad I work in IT not telecoms.

Note

This post is part of a 5-part series. A link to rest of the posts in this series are below;

Author: James Crowter

I’m passionate about how businesses can improve their efficiency by getting process optimal more of the time. For the last twenty five years I’ve worked to help organisations of all sizes and types implement the ERP & CRM software that typically they decide they need when things are going wrong. I’ve seen that work unbelievably well and enabled those organisations to rapidly grow but I’ve also had some hard projects over that time where it’s felt more like warfare at times. Since 1996 (and version 1.01) I’ve been working with a small Danish product called Navision that’s now become Microsoft’s Dynamics NAV and I’ve also been using and consulting around Microsoft CRM since 2005. As managing Director of one of the longest established first Navision and now Microsoft Dynamics partners I’ve been involved in the complete history including numerous product councils and system design reviews. It’s my privilege to know many of the key Microsoft executives and product designers and have insight into both where the products are now and their future direction. So colleagues & clients have asked me to start this blog to share some of the insight that both this knowledge (obviously where not restricted by NDA’s or client confidentiality) and experience can help. Specifically I want to concentrate not on the specifics of how (there are some great blogs already for that) but why. If any user helps their business make better decisions or consultant can give better advice then that will be objective achieved. I founded Technology Management in 1992 and have led from the front ever since. Helping clients use technology to grow their business is my passion through explaining technology in terms that everyone can understand. My interest in computing began at the age of eight, long before my school had the equipment to cope. Throughout school and university I developed software commercially. I hold many IT certifications, such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV (for over 17 years), Microsoft Dynamics CRM (for over 10 years), as well as Microsoft Windows Server, Exchange and SQL. In October 2015, I was awarded the title of Most Valuable Professional (MVP), a title given to a select few individuals (31 currently) across the world specifically for Dynamics NAV. After years of working with a range of distribution and manufacturing software for hundreds of organisations, I focus on understanding the business requirements of an organisation, what it will take to deliver the systems required to maximise their potential. Follow me online via my other social channels: - Twitter: @jamescrowter - LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jamescrowter Or email me directly at james[.]crowter[@]tecman.co.uk.

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