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Slack and Zoom integration drives Skype's decline

In this roundup of UC blogs, analysts discuss how the Slack and Zoom integration are pushing Skype's decline, why vendors must look beyond video and team collaboration success factors.

Skype was once a popular free video conferencing option for individuals and small businesses, but its popularity has declined as services like Zoom entered the market and Microsoft focused on building its Teams platform.

Nearly one-third of organizations in the U.S. primarily use Zoom for video calls and meetings, while 18% use Teams and 15% use Skype, according to an April survey of more than 1,000 organizations from market research firm Creative Strategies.

But it's not just Zoom and Teams that are driving Skype's demise, industry consultant Andy Abramson wrote in a recent blog. Slack's team collaboration capabilities also overshadow Skype's messaging capabilities.

Many people used Skype for messaging inside and outside their organizations and escalating chat sessions to one-on-one and group video calls. But Slack offers the same capabilities, while also integrating with services like Google Drive, Dropbox and Box, he wrote.

"Microsoft's own efforts to counter Slack with Teams took away efforts to keep Skype alive," Abramson wrote.

Skype does integrate with Slack, which enables users to launch Skype calls within Slack. But the Slack and Zoom integration offers more advanced features beyond launching video calls within Slack, such as access to the Zoom Phone service and calendar integrations with Google Calendar and Outlook.

Learn why Abramson said COVID-19 is contributing to Skype's decline.

Taking remote work communications beyond video

Video has become the go-to tool for remote work communications, and Zoom has proven to be a popular option for many home-based workers. For communications service providers (CSPs), the challenge has become to match Zoom's appeal and convert free users to paid ones, Omdia analyst Pauline Trotter wrote in a blog.

Verizon's planned acquisition of BlueJeans reflects one strategy that CSPs are taking to attract customers. In the short term, Verizon's acquisition of an established video provider is beneficial during a time when video usage is at an all-time high, Trotter wrote.

But CSPs need to look beyond video to support remote work communications and focus on integrated and feature-rich collaboration services, she wrote. The BlueJeans acquisition reflects a long-term service provider strategy of investing in flexible platforms.

"Verizon plans to take a 'build your own platform' approach, and this is where CSPs need to focus," she wrote.

To achieve growth, CSPs need to create new value for customers through customizable platforms. Through the acquisition, Verizon will be able to address specific customer segments and needs. Verizon will also use the acquisition to further develop its One Talk service into a fuller platform, she wrote.

Read more on why Trotter said CenturyLink's white-label model is also reflective of the customization trend.

Finding team collaboration success

Team collaboration adoption is growing, especially as remote workers need a platform in which to communicate and collaborate in real time. By 2021, 67% of organizations will have deployed team collaboration apps, according to Nemertes Research.

But not all organizations that adopt team collaboration will be successful and see the full benefits, such as productivity gains and cost reductions. But several factors can correlate with team collaboration success, Nemertes analyst Irwin Lazar wrote in a blog.

Many organizations that successfully adopt team collaboration view their apps as a work hub by integrating the apps with business workflows. This enables employees to accomplish tasks without needing to leave the team app space.

Successful organizations also ensure their team collaboration apps address all security, governance and compliance requirements, such as single sign-on, data retention policies and encryption capabilities, Lazar wrote.

Team collaboration apps should also be rolled out on a companywide basis to prevent communication silos and enable cross-company collaboration.

"Team collaboration provides the most benefit when everyone can participate in team spaces," Lazar wrote.

Learn more about two additional factors that Lazar said correlate with team collaboration success.

Next Steps

Top 15 unified communications blogs to follow in 2020

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