By Giovanni Mezgec, GM, Lync Marketing

Last week, I attended Enterprise Connect 2013, the largest conference focusing on the unified communications industry. When Microsoft first came to this show many years ago, we were considered an outsider and many people wondered if our vision of using software to deliver a truly unified communications platform was even feasible.

It’s clear now that we’re considered a leader in unified communications, with a compelling enterprise voice platform and incredible customer momentum. During the conference, Derek Burney was able to give a live demonstration of Lync 2013 — proving that we’ve brought this unique vision to life. I encourage you to watch the keynote for a guided tour of the best that Lync has to offer.

This doesn’t mean that our work is done and customers don’t still have questions for us — the one I heard most at Enterprise Connect was about the Cloud and their desire to purchase Lync Enterprise Voice “as a Service.” Having started with IM/P and perhaps Conferencing, many customers now see the advantages of consolidating their PBXs and using the full power of Lync for Enterprise Voice. However, they are unsure of how to move forward with their existing infrastructure without adding even more complexity to their environment.

The fact is, Lync allows enterprises to move to the Cloud today — on their terms and at their own pace. We enable this by working closely with Cloud Service Providers to let customer requirements determine if Lync should be managed in their own on-premise datacenter, hosted in a partner’s cloud, or delivered by Lync Online as part of Microsoft Office 365. 

On this topic, I want to highlight two announcements made at the conference from two of our strategic partners, AT&T and HP, who announced support for customers regardless of whether they choose to deploy Lync. These partners join other market leaders such as BT, Dimension Data, OBS and T-Systems, plus many other Lync Certified Support Partners to offer the IT integration, network management, and end-to-end support that makes Lync a fully reliable and scalable platform to meet your current and future communication needs. 

If you are thinking about how to modernize your organization’s communication platform, please contact your Microsoft account executive who, along with your preferred Service Provider, can get you started with an envisioning workshop and network assessment.