Outlook web access has been around for many years. Now you can use Skype chat within Outlook – on any browser… another nice integration feature for Office 365. Of course, we are talking about Skype for Business (SFB) here.
The practical benefit is, if you find that someone is online and you need quick response, chat with that person rather than sending an email. That is called “Instant Messaging”.
If you need to chat with someone in your organization, but you don’t have SFB app on your mobile, you do not have any other device, you are using someone else’s laptop (or an internet kiosk)… think about it. May be such situations have arisen before, but you did not know we can chat using any browser with an internet connection.
How to use Skype chat within Outlook for web
Login to Outlook on the browser using your Office 365 id. Notice the Skype icon on the top menu bar. Clicking the icon opens a chat window (pane).
That’s it. Now you can chat with your colleagues. If you have federation established with external organizations, you can include them as well in the chat.
Emoticons (not Emoji yet)
You get regular Skype emoticons by clicking on the blue smiley.
The yellow smiley is for providing feedback to Microsoft. The bell is to enable or deactivate chat notifications. It is a good idea to keep it enabled.
The not-so-obvious benefit
The obvious benefit is that you get Skype on web along with Outlook on web. But there is another benefit.
Most of us are used to sending email to each other – even one line emails:
You: “Should I close the deal at 4% discount?”
Boss: “Go ahead”
Why do we need such emails? Because we want legal proof of the conversation. Even though the boss is sitting next to you, we prefer to “put it on email”.
What many of us do not know that Skype for Business chat is also archived on the server – just like emails. Therefore, in case of disputes, SFB chat can also be used as evidence – just like emails.
You are about to send a mail to someone, but the presence icon shows that the person is available (green color), then why not get an instant response by chatting with the person? Is that not faster and smarter?
We eliminate one mail trail also in the process – helping both parties.
Try it out next time you are about to send a short mail to someone.