More than 1,400 telephone numbers have been migrated to Skype for Business, and dozens of units will convert from traditional phones to the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution in the months ahead.
VoIP uses the internet to make calls instead of the traditional phone systems. Skype for Business allows users to make VoIP calls, with additional features of instant message, presence, and video calls. It provides greater flexibility and enhanced user features, and reduces maintenance and infrastructure costs associated with traditional phone service.
In moving to Skype for Business, users and departments see many benefits. They can use their phone wherever an internet connection exists, and a have single number that follows them to multiple offices or a mobile device. There are built-in conference call features, voicemails are delivered directly to email, and caller ID information is better. Once a department is converted, their OneIT end user support consultant provides support for the application, instead of having to contact a separate department.
To date, about 10 percent of total phone numbers on campus have moved to Skype for Business, and implementation will be a multi-year process. An additional benefit of the project has been the review of telephone use in departments preparing for conversion. More than 200 telephone lines that were determined to no longer be needed have been disconnected, freeing the telephone numbers for other uses and reducing the effort to maintain the wiring for those connections.
The team has leveraged buying power on several standardized Skype for Business user devices and streamlined the procurement and distribution processes. Pilot deployments have been completed for modernizing analog device infrastructure such as elevator phones, alarms and “blue light” emergency phones, and expansion is in progress.
HCIS and OneIT are increasing partnerships and integrations in telephony, and are currently working together to build a unified telephone call routing infrastructure for campus. Together they are reviewing options for eFax, e911, and call center solutions.
Skype for Business training classes are now available in Employee Self-Service under the “My Training” link in Learning and Development. Both essential and advanced options are available.