The announcement that Microsoft will be rebranding its Lync Enterprise Communications platform to Skype for Business has been well reported, however there is a question over the impact this will have on businesses that use an existing Lync solution on a regular basis.
In real terms, nothing will change. The benefit to Microsoft is that, by rebranding Lync to Skype for Business, it will become easier to market to end users. Everyone is familiar with Skype, but ask the average person about Microsoft Lync and chances are you will draw a blank. The change over from Microsoft Lync to Skype for Business will instantly provide more brand awareness – however differentiating the between Skype for Home and Skype for Business will be a challenge. The look and feel may remain very similar, but I would not hold your breath for a raft of new features when the switch over happens.
That said, Microsoft Lync voice solutions are important to the team here at Pure IP and to our customers, so rest assured that our team will be following any developments very closely and informing our customers as soon as any developments happen.
We’re keeping a close watch on news from Microsoft as it will have to embark on a rigorous education campaign for the marketplace so that IT managers and IT directors understand why they should start paying for a PBX solution that is widely assumed as being free to use.
Microsoft Office 365
What is the reason behind this change? One reason is that through bringing the two solutions together and ultimately the two communities of users together, Microsoft is starting down the road of incorporating its MS Office suite and other business solutions into a holistic package.
You might think this move will cause disruption to existing users with some of the advantages of Lync possibly being lost in the short term, but this isn’t the case – whilst Lync On Premise 2013 will be renamed to Skype for Business, the services and features will remain the same.
With change also comes uncertainty – as more news is released SIP trunk providers will be looking to reassure customers that they can provide the same services for Skype for Business as Lync 2013.
Worst-case scenario is that Microsoft is starting down this route with the ultimate goal of taking the solution in-house – including the voice element – as part of a power play to remove all the voice operators. But this is highly unlikely anytime soon as they don’t have the knowledge and experience to provide the level of service that we have developed over the years – but it is a step towards a holistic 365 online solution.
With no further details available at the moment it’s too early to confirm whether further accreditation will be needed for Skype for Business, but you can expect that with our pedigree of being one of the very early achievers of the Lync 2010 accreditation and the first UK provider to achieve the Lync 2013 accreditation – when news about the Skype for Business accreditation surfaces we will move swiftly and we will continue to provide the Lync services our customers need.
More announcements are set for early 2015 with predictions that end users can expect to be able to get their hands on Skype for Business by mid-2015.