Many people have found that Skype in its original form has been an essential tool for business. The ability to use the consumer version of Microsoft's video, chat and phone sharing system has enabled many businesses to communicate around the world at low or even no cost.
I personally have used it for an introduction to a software program from Israel and for 'meeting' with business partners from across Canada. We have used it for training purposes by launching it to a group in our conference room and for conducting client meetings where distance would be a problem.
Of course the consumer program was not specifically designed to match the needs of businesses and most commercial users have had to adapt to the constraints of the consumer tools. In may cases these have not be major impediments and the convenience and cost savings have made it worthwhile for business users to forge ahead.
Business focused release coming
Microsoft recently announced that a business version of Skype will be available for download in April offering new enhanced tools for businesses. In a recent article IT World Canada provides a quick review of some of the major new features which Skype for Business will offer.
Some of the key areas of improvement over the consumer version is the ability to manage contacts within the app, launch Skype sessions right out of an email or from your calendar. There are many more features which the new system will provide and they should enhance the use of the service well beyond what was available in the consumer system.
It has taken over four years since Microsoft's multi-billion dollar acquisition of Skype for it to be modified and made more business friendly. It is going to be interesting to see whether the new version focused on business application will further enshrine Skype into the regular business use of more companies. It will be interesting to see what they have built into the new windows release Windows 10 when it comes out in the fall.
For more details direct from the corporate mouth you can read the Skype Blog.