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Top 10 Skype for Business alternatives for 2019 and beyond

How We Chat Insights April 8, 2019
Skype for Business alternatives
Dominic Kent


Top 10 Skype for Business alternatives for 2019 and beyond

Skype for Business alternatives

Looking for Skype for Business alternatives?

We hear you.

As Skype for Business Online goes end of life, and Teams becomes the focal point of Microsoft’s collaboration offering, it’s the perfect time to shop around.

We’ve gone out to market and reviewed 10 alternatives to Skype for Business.

Skype for Business alternatives for collaboration

Skype for Business is a fantastic chat tool at it’s core but the way we work is changing.

Just as you no longer need to be tied to a desk 9-5, you no longer need to be stuck in a single channel of communication.

If you used Skype for Business primarily for chat, these first 6 options provide an alternative chat experience, whilst introducing team collaboration to your business.

1 – Microsoft Teams is the most obvious Skype for Business alternative

Teams is the natural next step for users of Skype for Business.

Whilst it is not the straight forward replacement, Microsoft admins will be pleased to see plenty of features are carried forward.

As well as the features carried over from Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams introduces a new way of working. A sample of the additional features you can expect from Microsoft Teams include:

  • Persistent team messaging
  • Persistent one to one messaging
  • New meeting experience with customized backgrounds, live events and live captions
  • Integrations that enable tabbed working so apps like Trello, Asana and all your Microsoft productivity apps can be accessed within your client
  • Automatic file storage and management

For a full comparison of Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams, you can check out this article.

Microsoft Teams

2 – Cisco Webex Teams

Cisco Webex Teams is the natural step into cloud collaboration for users of Cisco Jabber.

Formerly Cisco Spark, Webex Teams offers full team messaging functionality. This includes one to one persistent chat, team messaging and interactive meetings inclusive of Cisco whiteboard experiences familiar to users of the Cisco Spark Board, now the Webex Teams board.

For users with Cisco VoIP handsets, conferencing solutions and telepresence devices, Webex Teams integrates with most devices in the portfolio to provide a streamlined, consistent experience.

New features recently announced for Webex Teams include:

  • People insights
  • Live motion video
  • Share anywhere with Webex Share
  • New VDI client
  • Improved video
Cisco Webex Teams
Cisco Webex Teams

3 – Slack

Slack is often touted as the pioneer of team messaging. As one of the first persistent chat platforms, Slack has the upper hand when it comes to user experience and integrations as they’ve had longer to experiment and get it right.

Even down to the recently introduced Slack dark mode, Slack is always striving to improve it look and feel.

Another recent introduction is Enterprise Key Management (EKM). This has been introduced to satisfy security requirements of large enterprises that had previous concerns over data retention. Slack describes EKM as “providing all of the security of an on-premise solution, with all the benefits of a cloud tool.”

Key features of Slack include:

  • Automated reminders
  • Task list management
  • Custom shortcuts
  • Many, many bot integrations
  • Search channels for keywords and important documents

4 – Chanty

Chanty markets itself as a simple AI-powered team chat. Taking the premise of team chat like you had in Skype for Business and empowering it with artificial intelligence can only be a good thing.

Chanty creates an open channel for a project, team or whatever you want to discuss. It makes your team communication transparent, accessible and searchable and even comes with pre-installed integrations to Zapier, Tasks and Giphy.

Other Chanty features include:

  •         AI-powered replies and messaging
  •         File sharing
  •         Unlimited messaging history
  •         Simple team chat
  •         Search your entire workspace

5 – Hive

Hive combines a unique blend of project management and team collaboration to provide teams the ability to manage their projects in the way they work best.

Configurable views are available to switch easily ultimate flexibility.

Supporting Gantt, Kanban and an assortment of tables, Hive then integrates into over 1000 other productivity apps like Salesforce, HubSpot and Marketo.

Key features include:

  • Direct and Group Messaging (Private and Public Groups)
  • Task Management
  • File Integration with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and One Drive
  • Email Integration
  • Notes
Hive is one of the top project management Skype for Business alternatives

6 – Viber for Business is a consumer friendly Skype for Business alternative

Viber for Business completes the Skype for Business alternatives when looking for a collaboration or team chat environment.

Viber should be considered for businessesthat have large presence in Russia or the APAC region. Viber’s consumer app has over 1 million users and users will benefit from the familiar look and feel – remind anyone of Skype before Skype for Business?

Key features of Viber for Business include:

  • HD voice and video
  • Texts, photos, GIFs and stickers
  • Voice and video clips that can be sent later
  • Call recording
Viber for Business completes the list of chat based Skype for Business alternatives
Viber for Business

Skype for Business alternatives for meetings

Skype for Business is heavily used for online meetings and conference calls. If this is your primary use for Skype for Business, you might want to look at a provider that specializes in meeting solutions.

Whilst the above apps all support meetings, the 4 listed below are built as meetings-first.

7 – Lifesize

Lifesize describes itself as a purpose-built video conferencing solution for the modern business.

Lifesize video conferencing app for desktop, mobile and browser delivers high-quality video and audio. With a focus on ease of use and reliability, Lifesize has quickly become one of the leading video-based Skype for Business alternatives.

Key Lifesize features include:

  • Integration with Outlook, Slack, HipChat, Cisco and Polycom
  • Present wirelessly with Lifesize Shareâ„¢
  • Simple management and administration
  • Screen sharing, chat, meeting recording and event live streaming

8 – BlueJeans

BlueJeans comes in three varieties: Meetings, Rooms and Events. Whether your meetings-first solution is for conferencing inside, outside or to another organization, BlueJeans is packed full of functionality out of the box.

BlueJeans allows you to schedule and start live video meetings instantly from the collaboration and calendaring tools you use every day.

IT teams are empowered with a holistic view of your organization’s meetings, with real-time analytics and intelligent meeting management.

Key features include:

  • Free 30 day trial
  • Productive video, audio and web conferencing meetings from anywhere
  • Powered by Dolby Voice
  • One-click scheduling
  • Compatible with Dolby, Cisco, Polycom, Lifesize, and other H.323 or SIP-based room systems with one-touch

9 – Zoom

Zoom is consistently recognized by Gartner as a leader in meeting room solutions, alongside Cisco and Microsoft.

With solutions for simple meetings, video webinars, room systems and a phone system, Zoom prides itself on being optimized and engineering for reliability and its simplicity to use, scale and manage.

Key Zoom features include:

  • Syncs with your calendar system and delivers streamlined enterprise-grade video conferencing from desktop and mobile
  • Internal and external communications, all-hands meetings, and training through one communications platform
  • Screen sharing and co-annotation
  • Streamlined calendaring
Zoom Meetings

10 – appear.in

appear.in brings teams and clients together over video. By creating and sharing a room link, colleagues and guests can join easily to create a meeting environment.

With appear.in, there are no downloads, no registrations and secure meeting rooms with up to 12 participants.

Key features include:

  • Personal and team rooms
  • Custom domain  
  • Conversation recording
  • Calendar integration
  • Priority support with pro licenses
appear.in concludes the meeting-first Skype for Business alternatives

What is the best Skype for Business alternative?

It’s impossible to choose one best Skype for Business alternative.

Requirements differ between businesses and each organization, or even each department, will have apps and hardware they need to integrate into and work with.

Whatever choice you make when it comes to replacing Skype for Business when it goes end of life, make sure integration and interoperability is top of your agenda.

Choosing a replacement app is the perfect time to bring your teams together and ensure they are in sync across all messaging apps.

If you choice is likely to involve Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Teams, Slack or a combination of all three, this video below is just for you.

Mio provides messaging interoperability across your combination of platforms. In turn, this keeps your teams in sync, using the app of their choice and de-risking loss of information and productivity by constantly switching between apps.

To find out more about getting started with Mio, hit the button of your choosing below.

Get started with Slack and Teams
Get started with webex and teams
Get started with Slack and Cisco Webex Teams
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