Can Skype for Business close the UK's productivity gap?

By Ian Taylor: Head of Unified Communications, Telefónica UK

We see technology and connectivity everywhere, so it’s easy to think that we’re more productive than ever. Well, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) disagrees. According to the ONS, Output per hour in the UK was 18 percentage points below the average for the rest of the major G7 advanced economies in 2014 – the widest productivity gap since comparable estimates began in 1991.

So what does this mean? It means that the UK needs to identify and adopt a top-notch productivity tool. My thinking is that this top-notch tool is one that lets people work wherever they need to be, while keeping them connected to the office, colleagues and customers.

Step forward our Skype for Business proposition. It pairs Microsoft’s market-leading unified communications (UC) with O2’s secure and award-winning network. This creates a cloud-based, enterprise IP voice and UC solution to replace your existing (and potentially ageing) PBX. Add in O2 Gateway and you can securely bring together mobile, fixed and wifi onto one platform. As a result, your infrastructure is simplified and you get an end-to-end SLA from just one supplier.

Skype for Business can support 250 to 10,000 users, wherever they’re based, to drive collaboration. Plus, the more users you have the more cost-effective it becomes. And better still, customers can use it to reach out to experts in real-time wherever they are, so problems can be addressed and solved much faster.

At O2, we really believe in the value of flexible working and we want our customers to feel the same. When we talk about UC we speak from our own experiences. We’ve spent 30 years in mobile solutions and we also house one of the largest deployments of Skype for Business in the world. It helped our UK Operations department (around 1500 people) to reduce travel costs by approximately 10% year on year.

Personally, I love it. Skype for Business empowers me to work from anywhere, on any device. As I write this blog I’m between meetings in a coffee shop using their wifi. Instead of having a very public phone call, I can just send an instant message a colleague to resolve an urgent issue. This means I can preserve my work-life balance as I get things done far more quickly. And it’s not intrusive, because when I’m in a meeting my Skype status will automatically update, based on my Outlook calendar.

In short, thanks to the vast range of features and productivity benefits, I find it impossible not to be a Skype for Business advocate. For me, it’s definitely the solution to the UK’s productivity gap.

To learn more, call 01235 433 507 or visit our website – we’ll be happy to set up a demonstration.