Imagine yourself as a child visiting Disneyland for the first time in the 1960s. As you stroll through Tomorrowland, wide-eyed, with your family, discover the House of the Future. Here, you marvel at the stereophonic high-fidelity audio and the picture phone.
Fast forward to 2018. Flash forward to 2018. Drones deliver pizzas, your watch monitors you health, picture phones are almost a nuisance (with tourists all over the world video chatting from the Grand Canyon up to the Sistine Chapel).
Video conferencing hardware has become ubiquitous thanks to the availability of many capable devices and high-speed internet connections. There are hundreds of web conferencing software options available.

We’ll be discussing why web conferencing is so important for project management, what’s new in Skype for Business (arguably, the most popular web-conferencing software in the world), as well as some tips from Microsoft about how project managers can make the most out of their Skype for Business account.
The project management angle
Web conferencing is a valuable tool for project management. It connects remote teams and fosters communication. Poor communication is the main reason for more than a third (according to a well-known PM statistic) of project failures. Video conferencing is an indispensable resource for every organization, especially when you consider the fact that it saves billions of dollars annually on travel costs.
Skype is a popular web conferencing tool, especially after its acquisition by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion. It is available on almost all devices that can run apps, including Xbox One consoles.
Microsoft launched Skype for Business in 2015 as a dedicated business tool that includes chat and calendar integration, to complement its video conferencing service.
How can you make the most out of this tool as project manager? For more tips, check out this article (Microsoft).
Skype for Business: What is it?
Skype was merged with Microsoft to create two products: Skype for Video Chat with Friends and Family (free on all computers) and Skype Business ($2/month per User) for video chat with colleagues.

Screenshot of my Skype for Business home status screen
In September 2017, Microsoft announced that Skype for Business will eventually be replaced by web conferencing/chat/meeting software Microsoft Teams–similar to the way that Microsoft To-Do is replacing Wunderlist–as part of the Office 365 service.
Microsoft stated in a FAQ that it was aiming to integrate Skype for Business’ capabilities into Teams. This will create a single hub for teamwork with integrated voice and video.
Here’s a complete list with all the current capabilities of Microsoft Team, as well as a timeline for when different Skype for Business features will be implemented in Teams.
Gartner published a complimentary report in November 2017 on the transition. It suggested that the “Skype for Business/Microsoft Teams” convergence positions Microsoft Teams to be an multipurpose ‘activity center’ for Office 365 users.
Gartner’s latest report (full report available for Gartner clients), estimates that “By 2020 one in 12 Office365 users would leverage Microsoft Teams to their primary enterprise voice solution,” up from one in 100 in 2017.
Skype for Business will continue to be the king of workplace web conference until then.
What makes Skype for Business different than regular Skype? What features should your company be using to make Skype for Business more effective?
To get their advice on how to make the most of Skype, I reached out to the Skype team at Microsoft.