White Papers

ROI in Skype for Business Adoption

Posted on October 26, 2015

The third part of this whitepaper presents a vision for enterprise collaboration and communication, offering insights and best practice examples for the ROI in Skype for Business Adoption. This paper features guidelines to etiquette, Ongoing support tips and Setting your business case advice.


  1. The Cultural Challenge

We have explored the benefits of adopting Skype for Business, how to plan your deployment and the pitfalls to avoid. But a critical element that could ultimately determine the success of your rollout is getting every user on board and engaged with the features.

Selling the Benefits of Skype for Business

Skype for Business involves a cultural change in the way users communicate and collaborate. You will be asking staff to change the way they work, so you must give them clear reasoning why they should. It also brings a range of new features and functionality that users are unfamiliar with.

It comes down to the old adage ‘what’s in it for me?’ Follow these steps to ensure every user, no matter what their role, understands the benefits as much as you do.


Step 1: Understand Your Users

A member of the finance team trying to sort out a payroll issue for an employee is unlikely to care whether Skype for Business is saving the company money or ‘streamlining communication’; they want to make sure they can sort out the issue as quickly and effectively as possible by finding the best person to assist in answering the query.

Assess the entire organisational structure to understand all of the different roles that are undertaken. Then interview individuals that represent various functions across the business so that you really understand their job, how they work, their barriers to productivity and the potential impact of introducing Skype for Business.

Step 2: Create Usage Scenarios

Create bespoke scenarios around specific job functions that users can clearly identify with. Use these to illustrate new ways of working and show how their job can be impacted positively. Explain the advantages and benefits for the individual such as reducing their email load or making it easier for them to reach colleagues.

Step 3: Design a Training Programme

Rather than being helpful, a lengthy and time-consuming training programme could leave your users confused and overloaded with information. Instead, provide a quick introduction to the most important features and frequently used functions.

Depending on the size of your company, it can be useful to train ‘super users’, who can then deliver training to their peers and draw on their own experience to bring out the benefits. This approach would also relieve the burden on your IT department.


Step 4: Develop an Internal Communications Plan

Think about all of the stages of your deployment and consider how and when you need to communicate these across the company. When will the platform be deployed? How long will it take? When and how will you provide training?

Rather than providing all of the information up-front, communicate smaller updates more regularly, so you are adding value to the migration experience as it progresses. Involve the management team to understand the most appropriate way to deliver these updates and keep in touch with users after the rollout to find out what is working and what isn’t to inform future training.


Step 5: Ongoing Support

Ongoing support for users can often be overlooked and it may prove unrealistic to simply train teams and walk away expecting them to retain all the required knowledge.

Two forms of ongoing support should be considered;

  • Self-service – what tools can you put in place to ensure users are being supported wherever they are working?
  • Human intervention – it is important that users can find support from people who know how to use the platform, whether that’s super users or an IT helpdesk. Adoption may be negatively impacted if users can’t easily find the right answers


Guidelines to Skype for Business etiquette

  1. Always check a person’s presence status before sending an IM
  2. Use emoticons and underlining carefully or avoid them altogether, as it is easy to misinterpret messages in text
  3. If you are in a meeting or call, turn off IM audio notifications to ensure the sound of incoming instant messages won’t be disturbing to others
  4. Don’t invite someone to join a multi-party IM session that is in progress without first asking the others in the session if it is OK to do so
  5. When you need to focus on high priority tasks, set your presence status to Busy to let colleagues know that you are not available for an IM conversation
  6. If you absolutely cannot be disturbed, set your status to Do Not Disturb, but use this sparingly because appearing unavailable too often is similar to rarely answering your phone or email
  7. If you are in a meeting or away from the office, leave a note to accompany your status about where you are and when you will be next available
  8. If someone adds you to their contacts list, a notification gives you the option of adding that person to your contacts list; typically, internal requests should be accepted
  9. Be respectful of your colleagues’ time. Log in to any online meetings a few minutes early, and check that your devices are properly configured
  10. Upload documents and organise presentation slides before your online meeting starts

  1. Setting your Business Case

If you are driving a Skype for Business programme, it is likely that you fully understand the implications of adopting the platform and the benefits it can deliver. However, some decision makers within the business may not have this level of insight and may be reluctant to invest.

Follow these steps to ensure that your management team fully supports your technology implementation:


Step 1: Explain What Skype for Business Will Do for the Business

There is a wide range of potential benefits to deploying Skype for Business as we have outlined, such as greater collaboration, cost savings and streamlined IT management.

Clearly set out the benefits that will be delivered to your organisation and, most importantly, make sure these are aligned to the wider goals of the leadership team. Use specific scenarios to show how Skype for Business will transform even the most basic functions for specific individuals or departments to bring the benefits to life.


Step 2: Set Out How You Will Measure Success 

Despite claims by some companies to the contrary, developing a ‘one size fits all’ ROI formula is very difficult. Every organisation is unique, with different IT requirements, ways of communicating, cultures and sizes. As a result, every deployment should take special care when setting out how the ROI will be calculated and measured.

Decision makers, particularly those holding the purse strings, will need hard evidence that a Skype for Business platform can deliver the benefits that you anticipate. Establish clear, realistic measurement metrics. If you want to reduce call costs, do you have a way to measure the reduction? If you want to increase productivity and collaboration, how will you know your employees are working more effectively?

Even the more obvious ROI metrics like cost savings need careful consideration, but those that are easy to identify should be considered as the foundation, for example:

  • Consolidation of other applications i.e. web and teleconferencing
  • Greater productivity, for example through reduced time spent travelling between college buildings or more rapid responses to queries
  • Reduction in call costs

Define your own ROI calculator so you can clearly evaluate the potential financial impact of Skype for Business. This will form the basis of any business case and care should be taken to ensure full measurement of your key metrics.


Step 3: Present a Clear Migration Path for Success

It will be essential to reassure decision makers that the deployment will be effective. Set out a clear path for the migration to the new platform, making it clear how you will minimise disruption and ensure business continuity.

This should ideally include the following:

  • A Scoping Exercise – work closely with a select team of individuals within the company to determine how the deployment can best be carried out. Build a project timeline with key individuals playing a role in making the deployment successful
  • A Pilot Deployment – nominate a willing department or administrative function to act as a pilot to identify any potential issues before a full rollout. Was it disruptive? Were there any problems that you didn’t anticipate? Was user adoption as you expected? Check your licensing, as pilot deployments can be free of charge
  • A Communications Plan – set out how and when you will communicate the deployment and rollout plan to all users in the organisation
  • A User Engagement Approach – explain how you will support users of the new Skype for Business applications and features and the levels of time investment required