Microsoft didn’t push its Lync technology at journalists during TechEd 2013 in Auckland. There were no specific Lync-related media briefings, no scheduled interview opportunities.
Yet I came away from the conference with the clear impression the company’s unified communications software is as central to the Microsoft’s future as devices, operating systems and Office.
That’s because the subject of Lync came up unbidden in five of the seven media interview and press conference sessions I took part in. Each time it was mentioned first by a customer or a user.
Admittedly one of the user mentioning Lync is also a Microsoft employee. But Darrell Smith is a special case, he is the company’s facilities manager, he looks after Microsoft’s Redmond campus.
Business class Skype
Lync’s popularity should come as no surprise. One of the users who talked about the software describes it as being a “business class” version of Skype – one of the most popular consumer communications apps.
Frost & Sullivan’s ANZ ICT research head Audrey William describes Lync as a “disruptive force in the unified communications market”. She says “Lync adoption is particularly high in New Zealand”.
William says many businesses are seeing huge benefits from Lync. She says the latest version, Lync 2013, delivers about 95 percent of the functionality of a PBX; “It’s very close to having a phone on your desk”.
Telecommunications vendors feeling Lync heat
William says companies save a huge amount on professional services when they move to Lync. She says; “It cuts down on the contract maintenance fees companies normally pay for phone system support. Vendors who were previously selling telecommunications kit are feeling the pressure.
“It’s relatively easy to implement, especially for companies already committed to Microsoft. It integrates with Active Server, with SharePoint and with Microsoft apps”.
Lync has certainly moved centre stage as boards and managers contemplate unified communications. William says Microsoft’s offering has gone from being an outsider to the point where it now seems to always be on the shortlist.