By Lindsey Westbrook
What's the biggest challenge for organizations using Skype for Business who want to integrate it with other solutions?
It is the federation of enterprise environments to other enterprise environments. Frequently, the information security or network teams find it risky or cumbersome, especially in large, globally distributed environments.
BlueJeans has established a Skype for Business integration that is robust and widely praised for its ease of use. But, you may not realize how easy BlueJeans also makes things for the IT folks tasked with facilitating the integration. Recognizing that it needs to offer its enterprise customers flexibility and options for using its online video calling tools, BlueJeans has taken a couple of approaches to address the issue.
“First,” explains Robb Woods, BlueJeans Director of Business Value and Solution Strategy, “we decided we could create a federation process that is one-way. Our clients would simply federate to us without having to allow us to federate to them. This streamlined approach that takes very little time to achieve. Just point your edge servers to ours, and viola!”
In this federation scenario, Woods notes, you can add BlueJeans contacts inside your Skype contacts. You can then type, in the midst of a Skype for Business instant messenger chat, “Let’s jump into BlueJeans video call, here’s the ID.” You and the rest of the participants in the chat click on the link, type in the meeting ID, and you’re all suddenly on a high-quality, online video conference call.
But, that workflow isn’t as smooth as most users might want. The other method, and one BlueJeans has seen much success with, has been the addition of the BlueJeans button right inside the Skype for Business client itself. This allows users in the middle of an IM session with colleagues to transition into a BlueJeans video meeting with a click of the button. This Skype for Business integration requires zero federation steps and is easily to deploy.
Woods notes that a lot of IT departments initially go down the federating route to connect to the BlueJeans application through Microsoft Office tools such as Skype for Business, but soon enough fall in love with the BlueJeans service and realize that they want to have BlueJeans meetings without always launching them from Skype for Business IM chats. They want the option to go to a video call via instant messenger (BlueJeans also supports expedited meeting entry from messaging tools such as HipChat and Slack) or go straight to BlueJeans video meetings from any and all starting points—email, calendar, Outlook, the web app—you name it.
Of course in all of these scenarios, users get the best-in-class cloud-based video calling experience that BlueJeans is known for, as well as other benefits that Skype for Business does not offer, such as Command Center (offering detailed analytics on overall video meeting usage, individual video calls and much more), better online video call control options (such as remote audio and video mute), and bi-directional content sharing among participants on all platforms.