Enhancing and Extending Lync via Messaging

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Microsoft’s Lync platform has been the high-growth darling of enterprise unified communications (UC). The product’s success, in fact, has bucked several industry norms and trends. For example, Microsoft Lync is the only enterprise UC solution that does not utilize standard SIP endpoints – a capability native to or added by every other major vendor over the past decade. In addition, Lync does not offer extensive enterprise voice features; instead, the product resonates because of Microsoft’s focus on the user experience. Lync is reasonably intuitive, and well integrated into a Microsoft-centric workflow.

Despite Lync being the sector’s growth champion, Wainhouse Research believes that functional gaps hamper Lync’s adoption as an enterprise voice solution. This explains why Microsoft continues to build its partner ecosystem programs enabling AVST to gain entry of its CX-E product as the first non-Microsoft unified messaging platform within the Lync Partner Catalog. Introducing AVST CX-E into the Lync ecosystem fills functional gaps and adds messaging, self-service, and call center capabilities to Lync deployments. With this recent integration, AVST CX-E is compatible with all major enterprise UC and PBX platforms.

Of note, Microsoft has announced plans to change the name of the Lync solution to Skype for Business. This change will happen in the first half of 2015, when Microsoft is expected to release the next major version of the platform. This document will continue to refer to Lync, which is currently available as Lync 2013.

Unlike most other UC platforms, Lync is not a standalone solution. Most enterprise-class UC solutions offer integrations to applications such as Exchange and Office as options. Lync effectively imposes these integrations. For example, conversation history – also known as persistent chat – is a significant feature of Lync, yet requires Microsoft Exchange. As a result, Lync’s suitability is effectively restricted to organizations that heavily utilize Microsoft solutions such as Exchange, SharePoint, Office, and Active Directory, along with Windows servers and desktops.

As with most vendors, Microsoft Lync is optimized for the mass market and leaves it to third-party vendors to address specialized requirements. The issue with Lync is, or at least was, a restricted third-party ecosystem with limited options. Supplementing a Lync deployment with CX-E adds significant capabilities for pure-Lync deployments, as well as facilitating mixed deployments and/or migrations.

 

Whitepaper sponsored by AVST, December 2014

Dave Michels