Skype for Business App Development Firms

UCAppsAs Skype for Business ushers in an entirely new platform of communication features and capabilities, extending the platform and the investment in it by enabling features within applications is not only possible, but in high demand.  By doing so, organizations reach their maximum potential in becoming a digital business.  While there are many well-known providers enabling organizations to deploy and experience the platform, there are not many who can extend it and develop these compelling apps.  Additionally, not many organizations, nor Microsoft themselves in some cases, realize that several providers have bet big on this opportunity by offering apps and by training developers on the Skype for Business platform to help organizations experience the art of the possible and high value ROI.  To help bring some of these providers to the surface and provide some visibility as to who they are and how Microsoft and other organizations can contact them, I wanted to highlight a few firms that have bet big on the Skype for Business Developer platform and can bring these experiences to life for organizations who which to make the most out of their investment and offer seamless communication across all business scenarios and experiences.

Excitingly, the Skype for Business platform enables developers to create and enable new an innovative experiences ranging from Telehealth to Customer Service Centers and thanks to the power of Microsoft Azure, they can all be hosted with no on-premise deployment required!  The following providers have proven to deliver applications within this area of expertise and are driving UC Apps to the market on a faster scale than ever before thanks to new cloud delivery models:

  • Avanade (http://www.avanade.com):  I have to preface this listing with the fact that I run Avanade’s UC Apps program.  However biased, Avanade has bet big on UC Apps and is delivering industry-based application experiences for digital businesses ranging from Remote Advisory solutions integrating with wearable video devices to digital lobby experiences and customer contact center applications.  Avanade is a join venture company between Accenture and Microsoft founded in 2000 specializing in professional services and cloud applications for the enterprise.  With over 19,000 employees (2014), and a global footprint that reaches all geographies, Avanade offers scalability and reach in their delivery of UC Apps.  Avanade, alone, cannot fill the need for this demand in the enterprise today and is extending its partnerships with key firms to meet those requirements.
  • Modality Systems (https://www.modalitysystems.com):  A UK-based firm, Modality has been developing Skype for Business and Lync-based applications for almost a decade ranging from mobile to cloud applications improving the overall end-user experience with the platform and extending into line of business applications.
  • Clarity Consulting (http://claritycon.com):  A US-based firm, Clarity has brought to market one of the most sophisticated Contact Centers for the Microsoft Lync platform and is home to one of the most renowned UC Apps developers, Michael Greenlee, who has provided consultation to the industry for over a decade on building robust and advanced UC-based applications.
  • EC (http://www.evangelyze.net):  A relatively unknown and global provider, and my former start-up that I founded in 2008, has come to market in 2015 with a suite of new line of business applications for retail web chat and Telehealth through their new Live Suite platform running on Microsoft Azure and integrating with Skype and Office 365.  With new leadership and venture funding, EC may wow us all in 2015.
  • Unify Square (http://www.unifysquare.com):  Unify², a US-based firm, specializes in Microsoft UC platform management and monitoring with applications including PowerMon and PowerView, providing tools that offer deep analytics and real-time data to help infrastructure management teams informed as to UC behavior within their organizations.  With several former Microsoft Lync development employees in tow, Unify² has deep breadth in product design, development and scalability in their applications.
  • Mindlink Software (http://www.mindlinksoft.com):  Another UK based firm, Mindlink specializes in chat applications for the Microsoft UC platform building brand recognition with their popular persistent chat app for Microsoft Lync.
  • ComputerTalk (http://computer-talk.com):  This UK-based firm, like Avanade, specializes in professional services, providing developers to enterprise organizations to customize their Microsoft UC experience.  Additionally, ComputerTalk has also produced several products including their own Contact Center solution for the Microsoft Lync platform.
  • Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS):  Microsoft’s consulting services arm works side by side with the Skype engineering team and Microsoft partners to enable Skype Developer Platform applications for the enterprise.  MCS has delivered very complex integration work as well providing interfaces between the Microsoft UC platform and other vendor services as well as heavy mobile development capabilities.
  • Nectar Corp (http://www.nectarcorp.com/):  Nectar specializes in system monitoring like Unify Square, but provides deeper integration with both the Microsoft SDN (Software Defined Networking) API and reporting/archiving services, enabling rich diagnostic and reporting services enterprise corporations need to manage and maintain their UC deployments.
  • Aruba Networks (http://www.arubanetworks.com/):  Not commonly known for their application development capabilities as they’re a proven provider or wireless and wireline communication services, Aruba has immense capability to deliver end-to-end system monitoring and network diagnostic reporting from the Microsoft UC endpoint and server through the network.  Leveraging both Microsoft’s UC SDN API and Aruba’s SDN services for their communication products, Aruba provides the level of detail an enterprise corporation needs to manage their UC environment and the network supporting it.
  • Verba (http://www.verba.com/):  Verba provides communication and collaboration recording and archiving solutions for UC systems.  Leveraging the Microsoft UC platform, Verba surfaces a plethora of data that can be used by enterprise corporations to meet compliance requirements by reporting all the way down to individual conversations, recorded voice sessions in peer to peer and conference sessions, and IM/Chat recording transcripts.  Administrators can search for keywords to view any conversation that has taken place that may be out of compliance.
  • Actiance (http://www.actiance.com):  Previously known as FaceTime, until Apple purchased the naming rights, Actiance provides communication, collaboration, and social media governance for most of the Fortune 500.  Actiance enables services that allow secure organizations or departments to communicate with peace of mind by setting up communication barriers allowing only compliant and controlled conversations within specified teams.  Actiance solutions span across many vendor solutions and products, but offer a wide range of capability for the Microsoft UC platform to enable organizations to leverage Skype for Business in secured, controlled environments.

If your organization is looking to see the art of the possible, give these providers a ring to start your journey with UC Apps.  Their solutions are also listed on the Microsoft internally-popular website, Microsoft PinPoint, accessible via https://pinpoint.microsoft.com.

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