Bridge Communications

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Microsoft Bookings is Here

Microsoft Bookings is rolling out to o365 users with an Office 365 Business Premium license.  Currently it is not available to the enterprise SKUs, but there is a pretty easy way around it.  So what does this have to do with Unified Communications?  Honestly today, not much, but there is huge potential here for Bookings and Skype for Business to tie together and make a number of business scenarios easy to solve.

So what is Bookings?   Booking is a new part of the o365 family that allows your company to setup an online portal for customers to book appointments.

Here can get more info that here.

Once you have it set up you will have a number of different options.

You can see and manage appointments in the calendar tab.  You can get a link with embed options for iframe in your published page under the Booking Page tab.  You will be able to see an manage customers who have used your service in the Customers tab.  You can manage the staff you will assign to particular types of appointments under the staff section.  By default all of your o365 users will be visible there.  The services page is where you define the service you offer.

A service will have a name, description, and optional location.  You can also specify a number of pricing options.  You can add notes for the internal staff user who will be assigned to the appointment.

One of the nicest parts of Booking is below the notes.  The ability to setup automatic reminders to the staff and customers with user defined intervals and messages should in theory make sure all parties are aware of the appointment, and neither party misses it.

To the right of the image is a section where you will define which staff are assigned to this particular service.  This is important because it will the determine whether or not the customer is able to select and existing time slot based on the assigned staff users availability.

The final product on the website will end up looking something like this.

Users can navigate to your page, and get available times based on staff availability, book and appointment, and all parties are notified and reminded of the appointment.

So what are some of the features Bookings needs to make it even better than the first release that is available today?

1.  Custom theme - being able to set the bookings page to match your company colors, website theme, etc. is a must.

2.  Holidays - being able to easily define holidays for all users rather that clicking on calendars and assigning time off to employees is a must.

3.  Skype for Business integration - having an appointment automatically create a Skype for Business meeting and invite all the parties would be a HUGE bonus for bookings.  This would make using bookings for product demo, and support services like we do, a no brainer.

4.  Bookings needs better calendar integration - If a user has something else on their calendar that should automatically exclude then from having a appointment setup at the same time, currently this is not the case.

At the onset I mentioned it is not currently available for enterprise users such as E5, but as long as you have 1 user on Business Premium, that user can make an E5 user an admin, then those users can actually open and manage bookings from the owa management url just like the user that set it up.

Doug Routledge, C# Lync, Skype for Business, SQL, Exchange, UC, Full Stack Developer  BridgeOC
Twitter - @droutledge @ndbridge