The end of the year creeps up on us. When it does, I like to look through my list of collected blog post ideas, and see which I should tackle before 2016.
I realized there’s one question I haven’t explicitly answered yet. “Why should we move from Lync Server to Skype for Business?”
With a software application as big & powerful as Skype4B, you’d expect some reticence from buyers. Entirely reasonable—people deserve to know how such a big upgrade will benefit them.
When we talk to Skype4B prospects, the unsure ones tend to fall into one of two camps:
A. “We decided not to use Lync. It was too complicated to set up.”
B. “It took us a lot of effort to get Lync configured to where we want it. Will we really gain from the move?”
Good question. Yes, almost every business running Lync Server would gain from upgrading (especially if you’re still on Lync Server 2010!). But that’s not a sufficient answer. Details, we must have details!
What about Skype for Business 2015 is worth the upgrade effort? What reasons would compel most businesses to move?
Here are seven of those reasons.
1. The New Interface.
Using the Skype interface instead of the Lync UI provides several major benefits…and one issue.
The benefits: It’s easier to navigate than Lync 2013. It’s simple to activate features (adding voice to an IM conversation, for instance). It’s familiar to Skype-C users. And you get emoticons!
The issue: Users may think they’re using Skype-C. As a result they can get confused when they can’t find their favorite feature. Then you hear about it.
2. New/Updated Features.
Conversation History (updated). Call Monitor. Call via Work. Rate My Call. We’ve gone through new features in previous posts already. (Personally, I think Server-Side Conversation History is a major reason to upgrade all by itself!)
One we haven’t covered much yet is VIS, or Video Interoperability Server. It’s a new server role for video interoperability—”like Mediation Server for video” as a colleague described it. We’ll get to that in future posts (so don’t forget to subscribe!).
3. Skype Directory Search.
While this might seem like a detriment to business communications, there’s a major value in integration between Skype for Business and the Skype Directory: Expanded Reach.
Untold numbers of businesses still use Skype-C for chatting and calls. It’s cheap, simple and does the job. Moving up to Skype for Business gives you access to a far broader range of contacts throughout the business world.
“Do you have Lync?”
[Cue scramble for another meeting option.]
“Do you have Skype?”
“Great! I’ll send you a meeting invite.”
4. Bandwidth Efficiency.
Skype for Business uses about the same amount of bandwidth as Lync Server 2013. However, Skype4B gives you better control over that bandwidth through built-in tools.
Skype for Business uses more codecs and bandwidth allocation for its expanded feature set. This includes the SILK codec from Skype. That means it’s more complex to set up, right? Not so. Microsoft also has a Bandwidth Calculator spreadsheet to help you map out how much bandwidth you’ll need. Skype for Business Bandwidth Calculator – Microsoft Downloads
5. Skype. Secured.
Skype-C is a versatile app, with well-deserved popularity. It’s also infamous among systems administrators, who hate trying to manage it in a corporate environment!
Skype for Business offers a compromise. Employees can use a version of Skype in the office. Administrators have a Microsoft server app they can control & secure. It works for everyone.
(I did a post on this back in June, in case you missed it.)
6. The In-Place Upgrade.
It doesn’t always apply. But having an in-place upgrade option to Skype4B is a big timesaver.
Not just that, but it represents an easier upgrade path in the future. If we have an In-Place Upgrade option for this version, there’s no reason we won’t get one for the next.
The Hybrid option with Office 365 means two things for a Lync-to-Skype4B move:
- Additional capabilities built in (Office apps, OneDrive cloud storage, Persistent Chat from the on-prem installation)
- Two-stage adoption process (Office 365 deployment first, employees have time to adjust, then introduce the Enterprise Voice feature)
I thought about including the new mobile apps here as well. But that’s not a reason to upgrade Lync Server; it’s a reason to update your phone. Still a good reason, but I try to stay consistent!
What’s your reason for upgrading from Lync Server to Skype for Business? Please comment or email. I’d like to hear which reasons compel the most upgrades. Maybe it’s something completely different!
P.S. – We’ve had some great comments come in recently. Our Skype4B team has them—we’ll do what we can, as soon as we can!