Enterprise Tech

Cisco WebEx vs Skype for Business: Differences and Comparisons

Cisco WebEx Vs Skype For Business

The workforce today has become completely mobile. With that change in the work strategy, the web conferencing has become quite an essential task in its own right. Having said that, how about checking a few web conferencing tools that can enhance your business collaboration requirements? Cisco WebEx vs Skype for Business is a couple of the tools that can work wonderfully well for online teleconferences and offer almost similar benefits. They are designed to suit virtually all sizes of businesses and work from the cloud. They have had their share of the customer base. With that background, which among them will we suggest you opt for? Let us check out the tools and compare them based on a few key features.

Cisco WebEx vs Skype for Business – How Do They Compare?

Cisco has been a clear leader in providing world-class web conferencing services. However, Microsoft has something that makes it a close contender. The development of Skype over the years has been one of the reasons we find interesting enough regarding an excellent functionality in being one of the best web conferencing tools.

However, comparing both Skype for Business and WebEx may not be a practical consideration. Of course, they do come with features similar and different. They have grown from different perspectives. WebEx is designed for large-scale meetings and has no built-in Instant Messaging functionality. On the other hand, Skype for Business was initially developed as an Instant Messaging platform and later evolved into an option for Business meetings. That would probably make them completely different products, and as such, it may not be that easy to make an explicit comparison between the two products.

From that perspective, we consider it is worthwhile to compare the features between the two offerings and arrive at a decision. Let us check out Cisco WebEx and Microsoft Skype for Business. We will make a comparison taking a few key features and parameters into consideration.

The Companies

Yes, before we begin analyzing the two products, let us check a few points about the companies that have designed these solutions. Though this may or may not have a direct relationship to the product capabilities, it can give a fair idea into the mindset of the developers.

WebEx dates its roots back into the time to 1996. The company was called ActiveTouch those days and was acquired by Cisco in 2007. Things changed faster since then. Cisco claims that the tool is capable of holding over 26.5 million meetings a month.

Skype, on the other hand, has changed a few hands. Launched in 2003 by Swedish and Danish developers, It was acquired in 2005 by eBay. 2009 saw it being purchased by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. By the time 2011 arrived, the product again changed hands, and it was Microsoft this time who bought it for $ 8.5 million. Boasting over 300 million active Skype users, it has over one billion downloads for its mobile app.

However, we strongly urge you not to confuse between the Skype for end-users, vs. Skype for Business. Skype for Business has its roots from OCS (Office Communications Server) which later became Microsoft Lync and renamed to Skype for Business.


Infrastructure Requirements

Well, this will be dependent upon the familiarity you have with either of the products. It is well understood that many of the companies and organizations use Microsoft Business applications. Given this fact, if your collaborations are managed through Microsoft, we will expect a leaning towards Skype for Business. On the other hand, if you have Cisco infrastructure, you are most likely to lean towards WebEx.

Finally what matters is the perfect integration and management. It is your background that will influence your decision. If you are a networking professional, you will prefer the Cisco product. In case you are an IT professional, you will consider Skype for Business as one of the best alternatives.

Cisco offers an excellent degree of interoperability to the WebEx. You may not find the same degree of interoperability option for Skype for Business.

Call Options

Video communication is one of the most common methods for communicating with your team. But, if you want to have an active video communication, ease of access is one of the essential aspects you need to take care of.

WebEx offers you an enviable option for dial-in and dial-out options. You also have access to computer-based IP address for video calling. I fact, both these functionalities are available both on the on-site and cloud-based options. Skype for business does offer you a telephone calling feature, but the functionality does not come as part of your package. You will need to opt for it additionally, and there can be additional cost implications and license requirements. Cloud-based Skype for Business can work through Microsoft telephony services. If you are using on-site Skype for Business, you will gain access to telephony through enterprise SIP services.

Number of Participants

This should be another significant consideration if you are considering between the two competing collaboration tools. The number of users you have on your team should have a more significant bearing on your choice.

WebEx supports up to 8 attendees per meeting at a time. If you are looking to add more attendees, you will need to pay more. In the case of Skype for Business, this should not be the ideal case. The fundamental limit for one meeting would be 250. The service supports up to 10000 attendees at a time. WebEx makes you purchase another product if you are looking to go for webinars.

Ease of Use

Well, this will be dependent upon how familiar you are with each of the products. Skype is quite easy to adopt given the familiarity that it shares with you. If you are using the Microsoft products, you will be able to use Skype for Business for a better experience. The complete integration with Microsoft Services makes it one of the excellent options you can go with.

Same should ideally go with WebEx. If you are familiar with Cisco products, you can work well with WebEx. Analyze how comfortable you are with either of the products before finalizing any one of them.

Mobile Friendliness

With a focus on the mobile-based communication, it assumes importance to check the mobile phone compatibility of either of the products. Both the products come with the mobile and browse-friendly options for your requirements.

However, when it comes to security parameters, Microsoft beats the WebEx offering. Not that WebEx does not offer you security functionality, but Microsoft works best.

WebEx vs Skype for Business – The Pros and Cons

Listing the Pros and Cons of the tools can help us understand the strengths and weaknesses of both the offerings. Let us analyze the pros and Cons of both of them one by one.


WebEx vs Skype for Business

Here are a few pros and cons for the Cisco WebEx.

The Pros

  • Whiteboard feature that lets attendees share their views during the meeting
  • Members can attend the conference from multiple devices. They can either work through their mobile phones or personal computers.

The Cons

  • Better integration with Google Calendar would have been better.
  • Comparatively, there are no easy methods to record meetings.

Skype For Business

Like WebEx, we also counted a few pros and Cons for Skype for Business as well.

The Pros

  • It has excellent integration with Outlook and Outlook Calendar. It would be easier to accept an invitation to a meeting.
  • Remote connectivity for Interactive Web Conferencing as opposed to the plain chatting.
  • High-Quality video and audio calls.
  • You can Skype contacts from outside your organization

The Cons

  • A network outage can affect your connectivity adversely.
  • A little laggy on slower network connections.
  • Although, not an issue with SFB itself, we feel Personal F2F meetings could be more effective. You may prefer chat instead of video calling or face to face talking. However, in today’s globally distributed teams, SFB has a strong use case.

The Concluding Thoughts

Well, comparing those two tools can be a little tricky. More difficult is the choice that you would make after comparing either of them. Both Skype for Business and WebEx come with their share of practical features, but then they also have a few subtle differences.

In essence, the right choice that you would make should be dependent upon the culture of your organization and preferences that the leader of your organization has for the betterment of the functionality. After the integration with Microsoft, Skype has been witnessing considerable growth. We would find it working thanks to its complete integration with all the features and other capabilities perfectly.

In any case, we have explained the features on both the tools along with an emphasis on how they differ from each other. The final choice should ideally be entirely dependent on what you are looking for among those features.

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