An Office 365 subscription comprises 4 different components; a desktop installation of Microsoft Office, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Skype for Business. Everybody already has some kind of IM client, probably Skype, so why would a company choose to move communication with their clients to using Skype for Business instead of Skype? The answers are all to do with integration and corporate control.
Access & passwords are controlled centrally – It’s probable that all your employees’ Skype accounts are tied to their personal e-mail addresses. That means you have no access to their account should you wish to disable their access to your customers, nor can you help them if they forget their password.
Skype for Business uses an employee’s Office 365 account for access so if you want to disable their account or help the employee reset their password you can do that from the Office 365 admin portal.
Contacts are local to the account, not the client – a Skype account is usually a personal thing, that means that if an employee leaves the company they’ll generally take their Skype account with them and also all their customer contacts.
Skype for Business is a corporate solution so the employee can’t take the account with them but it does allow you to login to that account and and have access to the employees contacts if they leave.
Calendar integration – Skype has no access to your calendar so you may start a conversation unaware that you have an upcoming appointment.
Skype for Business integrates with your calendar so you can arrange a Skype for Business chat or call knowing that it doesn’t conflict with any other appointments you might have.
Conversation History – Skype stores your conversation history locally depending on the device you use; essentially this means a chat you have with Skype on your mobile won’t be available to you on your laptop later on.
Skype for Business saves all your conversations in the Conversation History folder in your mailbox. That means that any device you use to access your e-mail will allow you to see your conversation history.
Finding People – with Skype you have to know someone’s Skype account name or you can search for them but you’ll end up looking through a list of the millions of other people with the same name.
Skype for Business addresses are generally an e-mail address, which is unique so you’ll have no problem finding people. If you want to chat to an employee in the same company then the internal address list will allow you to find colleagues with the minimum of effort. You can also add Skype contacts to Skype for Business so from one client you can chat to both Skype and Skype for Business contacts.
Recording Conversations – Skype doesn’t natively support call recording, you have to install a 3rd-party application. Skype for Business allows you to record directly from the Skype for Business client, no additional applications or software are required.
The choice to use Skype for Business is mostly about control and data security; Skype doesn’t give you any, Skype for Business gives you all the features you need.