Can Skype for Business compete with Cisco's WebEx?
Communication is often one of those facets of business that gets overlooked. A situation that traditionally resolves itself only when absolutely necessary. In years past it was pretty much a given that anyone who was anyone had an office phone and a fax line. Either one expectantly maintaining its respective position as the de facto method of contact. Times are changing however, and with it the presumptive ability to simply pick up a phone or dial a fax line and immediately establish contact.
Cisco's WebEx platform is largely heralded by major and minor players alike for its ubiquitous presence in the business world both via phone and in the rapidly expanding digital sector.
Costs are not insignificant however and lately Cisco has seen stiff competition from both established players like Microsoft and Google, as well as from smaller upstart projects like Citrix's GoToMeeting. Between maintaining dial-in phone bridges and paying per minute for usage on top of that, WebEx is notorious for its ability to rapidly exceed projected budgets. Vyopta has a great write up about how quickly these costs can add up.
Skype for Business is still a relatively new challenger, however it's already making waves in the tech and business world for its straightforward pricing and the renowned back-end support of Microsoft's Azure platform. It offers a friendly user interface, expanded interactive meetings tools like a dedicated PowerPoint presenter view and digital whiteboard, and a presence on every major platform (iOS and Android are currently available in beta, and Mac OS X is available through the existing Lync app with a projected refresh early next year). For businesses that already utilize Microsoft's Office 365 platform, plans are already available that make it even easier to implement Skype for Business for less than the cost of others who aren't part of Redmond's ecosystem.
Whether Skype for Business succeeds in usurping Cisco's WebEx dominance remains to be seen, however Microsoft has more than enough ammunition to make it a fight worth watching.
"Sean Bugler is an Instructor at Learn iT! specializing in desktop class application usage. When he’s not teaching you can often find him reading up on the latest news in software and technology. Connect with him on Twitter @sbglr.”