Microsoft Lync – The Quiet Revolution

Everyone I meet recently in the UK telecoms market recently has a Microsoft Lync story to tell – and its usually positive (unless they are the VAR or integrator on the other end of the deal!)

There are some obvious reasons why – and some less obvious….

2014 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications (UCMQ)
Gartner 2014 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications

Let’s start with the Analyst community which even in this day and age of social browsing, referral and procurement still carry a huge amount of clout.

Gartner’s 2014 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications (UCMQ), has referenced Microsoft  right from the start.

Gartner say, “Leaders have a full UC offering and a strong market presence, and demonstrate success in the field. They have a strong presence in related markets to expand their footprint in UC. These vendors and their channel partners have experience delivering UC to a broad range of enterprise types and into most geographic regions.”

In my view this says a lot – its a CHANNEL play and the Microsoft channel are highly experienced in delivering and generating value for their customers and themselves with applications software.

While the Gartner UCMQ has been around for several years, the The Forrester Wave™: On-Premises Unified Communications and Collaboration, Q2 2014 is a new entrant to the UC market coverage.

Forrester highlight adoption through familarity as a key factor.  “Microsoft’s single familiar user interface drives rapid adoption and utilization of its solution by information workers.”  

This cannot be over-emphasised as a factor in Lync’s accelerating adoption. As the saying goes “The Romans would never have conquered Europe if they had to have learned latin first…”

And for the third year running T3i published Impact of Microsoft Lync on the Enterprise Voice Market, an in-depth analysis of Lync for Enterprise Voice and PBX replacement.  Taken from a survey of U.S. enterprises (500+ employees) and small businesses, it reveals:

  • 72% of the U.S. enterprises who participated in the survey were either conducting or had completed trials of Microsoft Lync. This is a huge increase compared to 42% of U.S. enterprises that were in that position a year ago.
  • 89% of the U.S. enterprises indicated that Lync Enterprise Voice had been or will be included in their Lync trials.
  • More than half of the enterprises that were in the planning stages last year have begun their deployment, thus increasing the percent of enterprises in deployment mode to 44%, nearly tripling from 15% from a year ago.
  • When asked for their current preferred vendor for IP-PBXs, 38% of the enterprises selected Microsoft, the highest percentage of any vendor.

Based on my discussions with numerous UK players I am convinced that similar rates of adoption are prevailing in the UK, hand-in-hand with the transition to application-focused SIP trunking, with more than 60% of the active SIP service providers in the UK offering some form of Lync proposition or affinity model.

Surprisingly you don’t hear it being trumpeted from on high by Microsoft or their major partners, or presented as a game-changing technology – but slowly and surely Lync is coming to dominate the market and the channel’s thinking about what comprises a UC solution and how to co-exist and/or compete.

One company that does get it, and which is back in the game in a big way is MITEL – but more on that in another post……..

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