Microsoft's versatile enterprise messaging service, Lync, is becoming Skype for Business in 2015. Combining and integrating features from both programs, Skype for Business will incorporate the familiar design and experience of using Skype combined with the enterprise security, compliance and control expected from Microsoft Lync.

Lync is a core part of the Office 365 experience and this move suggests that Microsoft is simply consolidating their brands to merge some overlapping features. Originally a replacement for Windows Messenger, the Lync service includes a powerful messaging IM platform, file sharing capabilities, and allows for collaboration on Office documents with multiple users.

The addition of these features into Skype will mean you need one fewer window open on your taskbar and better integration into a Microsoft Sharepoint package. In the first half of 2015, Lync will update to Skype for Business and will feature a new client experience, new server release and updates for further functionality for Office 365.

Current Lync customers will be able to take advantage of these changes by updating from Lync Server 2013 to Skype for Business Server in their datacenters. No new hardware required! Office 365 customers will have the update come with a Microsoft rollout, so it's even simpler to upgrade.

Not using Lync as part of your Office 365 solution? Here's what you're missing:

Save Time

Say you're new to an organization or you've just brought on a client. You've got a quick question but you're unsure whether or not the person is available or even in the office. Pulling up their information in Lync and shooting over a quick IM is all you need to solve the problem and get back to work. Digging through your phone contacts for email or phone numbers probably isn't the most efficient solution to getting the answers you need fast without disrupting someone else's workflow. Lync solves that problem.

Email Attachments are a Thing of the Past

Combining Lync with Sharepoint means there's a single version of a document stored off-site, meaning there's no potential for accidental deletion. Versions are saved so you can always go back to a previous copy, but the review/edit/review again/edit again email attachment process that plagues projects is gone. Vanished! You’ll be amazed that some organizations still do that. You can even track changes to a file and see who did what, all with their contact information readily available when you inevitably have questions for them.

Connected

Ever been in a video conference and want to bring in two or three (or ten!) other users? With Lync, you can invite people to join right from an existing call and check their availability, share files, and it even integrates with other messaging solutions. It's great for telecommuters, connecting remote offices, or simply having an all-hands meeting if the conference room happens to be in use.

Vorsite can help you connect with other members of your team and streamline your workflow with the latest in Microsoft cloud technology. To find out how Sharepoint, Office 365, or Lync can help your organization, contact us!

Image source, labelled for reuse