Skype for Business is Replacing Microsoft Lync. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Skype for Business is Replacing Microsoft Lync. Here's What You Need to Know

Just one month after releasing a technical preview, Microsoft made available the new Skype for Business client and Skype for Business Online, its planned replacements for Microsoft Lync.

In general, this migration should be relatively painless for most organizations. With support for Active Directory, call encryption, and all the essential enterprise class controls of Lync being ported over to the more user friendly Skype interface, it’s a great mashup of two popular apps, and is seen as a welcome change by the Softchoice team.

While it’s good to know what changes to expect, it’s also good to know what your options are. Even the slightest disruption to your workforce means bad news. Read on for advice on how to ensure that doesn’t happen.

  • For Office 365 users, the change is instant: Lync Online today with Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 Business Premium or Office 2013, the updated Skype for Business client—inspired by the look and feel of Skype—will be the default user experience and replace the Lync user experience.
  • For Lync Server, the “old UI” is still live: If you are using Lync Server today, the Lync UI will be the default experience.
  • You can still get Lync Online (for now): ​there is an option to maintain the legacy Lync online interface, at least for now. Find out how to do that on Microsoft’s blog here.
  • All the features of Skype, with enterprise class: As the name suggests, Skype for Business has the look and feel of Skype, with things like IM, voice and video calls, and online meetings. Underneath the technical hood, it has the functions of Lync for business users, such as enterprise security, authentication through Active Directory, and call encryption. Also, IT can manage the company’s user accounts and deployments. Skype can even interoperate with a company’s PBX systems or legacy video teleconferencing systems.
  • Easily connect to Skype users: ​while this was always possible with Lync, it’s far simpler now to connect and collaborate with outsiders, such as partners and contractors, via their Skype identity. You have instant access to hundreds of millions of existing users in the Skype directory.
  • New Look and Feel: If you’re a regular user of the commercial version of Skype, then Skype for Business will seem very familiar: the Contacts list, presence indicators, buttons and icons, and even the app sounds should make you feel right at home. It also makes sharing screens and presenting during meetings far more natural and easy to do.
  • Bonuses: Little perks like “Rate my Call” for clarity, Emoticons and the popular “Monitor Call” mini pop up window – letting you stay on a call and get work done on a distraction free screen at the same — will be welcome upgrades for longtime Lync users

Should you make the switch today to Skype for Business, or wait until you don’t have a choice?

If you’d like some help navigating this decisions, or moving ahead with a seamless transition, get in touch with a Softchoice Account Manager today.

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About Tobin Dalrymple

Tobin Dalrymple is a longtime Softchoice contributor and the IEF program writer living in Montreal.