The Lync Debate

by Dave Michels

Microsoft Lync is a fascinating product. The vast majority of TeleTypes have strong opinions about it. In a way, it is similar to the polarization we are seeing in politics. The Artesians insist it’s a game changer – destined to unleash unified communications like nothing before it. The nervous Whigs insist it’s just noise, another attempted revolution from an unqualified upstart destined to fail.

What I found particularly interesting about the debate is both sides are arguing the same points. Microsoft insists its Lync client is highly intuitive. Established telecom makers say what can more intuitive than a phone? and so on.

Several months back I did a debate with Michael Graves on hosted vs. premise. It’s a great opportunity as it frees the author from having to write with balance. Balanced writing is extra work and removes a lot of the emotion. So these online debates are a way of outsourcing the balance – and freely writing one side of the argument is fun.

My debate partner on Lync went to Matt Brunk, a fellow frequent contributor. We both wrote about 1000 words and we agreed on the key headings. I wrote quite a bit about OCS, but not particularly positive. This piece surprised some folks assuming my position changed. A few points on that.

  1. I monitored the Lync launch very closely. The product does represent a significant upgrade over OCS. I also completed in-depth research notes for a major analyst firm that needed assistance during the Launch.
  2. The product is not for everyone. It has some strong strengths as noted in my piece. Customers considering Lync need to understand the trade-offs and make an informed decision based on their requirements and objectives.
  3. Microsoft makes tons of information available. I virtually attended numerous seminars and read plenty of papers on Lync – that is not the norm in telephony.
  4. And the answer is no. Microsoft has not paid me a dime in my entire life.

I can tell you it’s a complex topic. Lync touches everything Microsoft – corporate directory (Active Directory) Messaging, (Exchange), and Windows Server, Windows desktops, Collaboration (SharePoint), Office, and soon likely Phone 7. Each one is a link in the chain which either makes the case stronger or an anchor depending on point of view.

The next shoe to drop will by LyncOnline – part of Office365. This is Lync in the cloud. Though at least initially, it will not be positioned as a phone system replacement.

Lastly, this summer, I will present the Lync Roadmap – Unauthorized at the Lync Summit here in Colorado.

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