Look out, Christmas is coming at us!
At several of our clients’ offices, plans for 2015 are in full swing. People are considering what to do next year, where to spend their budgets, what software to update.
With each new year we see new Microsoft software. In the case of Lync Server though, the change is more pronounced. A full rebranding, new features, interconnection with the 500+ million Skype user baseâ€¦this is a BIG change coming.
How should businesses approach Skype for Business? Should they wait, or jump forward? At what point should they transition–and does their current communications software factor in?
After reading some blog posts & reader emails, as well as brainstorming and staring at our own Lync Server a while, I came up with the following recommendations. Each recommendation depends on what version of Lync Server you’re running now (if any). I’ve even included some thoughts for Skype users too.
If you run Lync Server 2010…
According to Monday’s No Jitter post, in-place upgrades aren’t available from Lync Server 2010 to Skype for Business.
No big surprise; the hardware requirements rose between Lync 2010 and 2013. Lync Server 2010 users actually have a unique opportunity: They’ll have to upgrade either way, so moving straight to Skype for Business is a viable option. (If any businesses do this, I’d appreciate an email. Would love to hear how the transition goes for you.)
There’s only one caveat: make sure your Windows Servers are up-to-date before you try any upgrades. In fact, I’d say build a 100% fresh server group and test on there.
If you run Lync Server 2013…
Make sure you have your Cumulative Updates, but otherwise, you have the luxury of time. Lync Server 2013 will remain usable for a while.
We even received a new feature this past week – video calling between Lync and Skype clients.
Start a Skype for Business evaluation when scheduling/budget permits. I’m hoping to do this by summer 2015.
If you are evaluating Lync Server 2013 (and like it)…
Plan to deploy when you’re ready. Don’t worry about, “Should we wait for Skype for Business?” Go ahead and implement Lync. The hardware used can (at least as far as we know) be re-used when you do move to Skype for Business. No need to rush.
If your office uses Skype…
A change from Skype clients to Skype for Business Server is arguably the largest change on this list. Your users would gain a lot of functionality–and a whole new level of complexity to their communications.
If you do plan to transition in 2015, begin advising users of the change as early as possible. Invite test user groups to evaluate Skype for Business – more than once, if you can. You might even direct users toward this blog! I will endeavor to provide useful transitioning content next year.
If you do not have either Lync or Skype…
Interested in the Unified Communications world, huh? Glad you could join us!
2015 will provide you with a choice: Deploy Lync Server 2013 or Skype for Business Server 2015. If you choose Lync 2013, you can begin evaluations right now. If you want Skype for Business, you’ll have to wait a while until we at least see a beta version.
If you have no Lync experience, I would suggest going for Skype for Business. Use the first half of 2015 to read up on Voice over IP, Lync Server’s main Server Roles, blogs discussing Skype for Business features, etc.
I hope these recommendations help my readers (and your businesses) plan well for 2015. Remember also that we should see a new version of Exchange Server in 2015 too. Lots of changes for which we must plan!
Next week we’ll close out 2015 with a reader survey and Q&A. If you have questions you’d like answered about Lync, Skype, Exchange or Unified Communications in general, please comment or email them to me. See you then!