Skype for Business--Event Zero UC Commander

Microsoft isn’t hiding its concerted effort to capture all facets of the cloud-based enterprise communication and collaboration market. Look no further than the Microsoft Cloud commercials littering NFL playoff broadcasts for the company’s simple message: your business should run on Microsoft software and services, and it should all be accessible from one place.

All Microsoft’s services run on the company’s cloud platform on the back end, soon to be rolled into the Microsoft Azure Stack hybrid cloud infrastructure, but the core value for business users is integrating all those disparate offerings—from its Skype for Business Online$2.00 at Microsoft voice over IP (VoIP) service to Office 365$69.99 at Office Depot—into a single experience for businesses. Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Event Zero’s UC Commander suite is a move to make that happen sooner rather than later.

The acquisition, announced last week, will allow Microsoft to build better native management tools directly into the Office 365 administration dashboard within the Skype for Business client. The strength of the UC Commander unified communications and collaboration (UCC) platform is in diagnostic analytics, monitoring, and reporting, so in integrating the platform Microsoft will add a built-in analysis layer into Skype for Business in which users can collect and analyze call quality and other multimedia data from audio and video calls.

Skype for Business already lets users view basic call quality reports and assign Skype numbers to Office 365 users. Microsoft’s goal, according to Zig Serafin, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Engineering of Skype for Business, is to give businesses an easier way to “connect on-premises deployments they manage with Office 365 services, including hybrid deployments, provisioning of phones, and other endpoints.”

The UC Commander acquisition isn’t the only prong of Microsoft’s latest Skype-focused UCC push, though. A day after the Event Zero deal (Event Zero will continue to operate independently with its other products), Microsoft released a preview of its Skype integration for the popular collaboration tool Slack$8.00 at Slack.