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Skype for Business users struggle to manage voice quality

Once an organization deploys Skype for Business, the next hurdle is managing quality of service (QoS), which measures and improves high-bandwidth video and multimedia content.

Nemertes Research analyst Irwin Lazar said the biggest issue he’s seen with Skype for Business deployments is performance management.

“Organizations struggle with the tools to do quality management,” he said.

For organizations that deploy Skype for Business as a softphone-based application, voice quality is the main struggle, Lazar said. With softphone apps, organizations are running Skype clients on a laptop or PC and cannot manage voice traffic like they could with a traditional voice deployment. Segmenting and prioritizing voice traffic over other data traffic on the network becomes impossible.

“If you roll it out and people aren’t happy with the voice experience, the question becomes: What can you do to fix it?” Lazar said. Many organizations turn to third-party providers, like IR and Nectar, to manage voice QoS for Skype for Business.

Rely on user feedback, management tools for voice quality of service

“Quality of service is critical,” said Skip Chilcott, global head of product marketing at performance management software provider IR.

He said most organizations want to ensure they have tools that offer benchmarks to show Skype for Business performs better or the same as their previous system. Benchmarks can also help organizations automate management of Skype for Business QoS.

Chilcott said Skype for Business has seven codecs that can be used in a call. With performance management tools, like analytics and call monitoring, several codecs can be used on a call automatically based on QoS levels.

Additionally, organizations should not confuse QoS with quality of experience. For instance, a user might report a bad experience or voice quality, but the system reports good QoS, he said.

Chilcott said organizations must separate experience from service and rely on both user feedback and management tools to ensure good performance of Skype for Business.