Cost-constrained enterprises are looking for new ways to cut telecoms costs, and Skype, the free Internet telephony and low-cost landline connectivity service, is turning up on many corporate agendas.
According to Skype, executives at leading UK companies are putting pressure on their IT service partners by providing their users with the free calling service.
While Skype has developed a vast audience among small businesses and consumers, the company is finding many enterprise-level customers are now keen to introduce the service for certain classes of employee. That particularly applies to field service workers, many of whom are already using Skype privately.
According to Shane McNulty, head of business development at Skype for Business, while the company does not target the enterprise directly, “We are seeing these kinds of customers pushing their large systems integrators and business process outsourcers to provide Skype services.”
While such customers may have had reservations about using Skype in the past – with particular concerns about security and quality of service – they are now simply saying “just make it happen”. And that comes down to cost. There is also widespread evidence that in most areas of business such concerns are unfounded.
As a measure of that enterprise buy-in, Ian Robin, director of Skype for Business, boasts the company now has 17 enterprise customers each operating more than 2,000 Skype IDs. “Two of those have more than 10,000,” he says, both in the Far East.
Skype currently boasts a total of 309 million registered users worldwide. And Robin says that 30% of them use Skype for at least some business activity. A recent survey conducted by the company suggested that 95% of those business customers experience direct savings as a result, with a third claiming to have cut their phone bill by 50%.
The economics, for some, are still unquestionably positive. Voice-over-IP (VoIP) calls between Skype users are free; users pay £2.24 each month for unlimited calls to UK landlines and mobiles, £3.39 for calls within Europe, and £7.99 for calls around the world.
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