May 15 2014

Is Skype a Good Video Conferencing Tool for Business?

More companies are feeling comfortable using Microsoft’s consumer video conferencing platform for work.

You know a consumer product has hit the big time when it transitions from a noun to a verb. People casually ask their co-workers and friends if they’d like to “Skype” one another in the same casual manner that they’d ask each other out for coffee.

And now that Skype is part of the Microsoft family, it’s increasingly a more appealing option for businesses since it’s getting integrated into more mature collaboration products, like Microsoft Lync.

In many ways, the growing use of Skype mirrors the trend we’re seeing in mobile with the rise of bring-your-own-device policies. People want to use the same tools in both their personal and professional lives. This means that the video conferencing app a jet-setting salesman uses to keep up with family while on the road is also the most convenient to use when he has to remotely pitch a client.

A recent testimony to the power of Skype in business comes from Parliament Tutors. After Hurricane Sandy hit, the small business was forced to do sessions via Skype since some tutors were unable to meet with clients in person due to the storm, according to a report from The New York Times.

About a year and a half later, Skype is now a regular part of the business’s offerings, and students can opt for tutoring over Skype exclusively or select a blended in-person/Skype package. David Greenberg, Parliament Tutors’ CEO, says he believes Skype sessions will make up 30 percent of his business this year.

Over in the world of professional sports, Skype got a high-profile spotlight shined on it when Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman opted to run the team's part of the third day of the NFL draft via Skype, reports Fox Sports. His son was graduating from college, and he didn’t want to miss the ceremony.

According to a tweet from Ian Rapoport, the team’s IT department set up a “draft room” with the necessary equipment for Gettleman to get the job done.

Has your business taken to using Skype for internal or customer-facing use cases?

Let us know in the comments.