My first week on the Lync team was back in the beginning of March.  With VoiceCon in Orlando happening that week, it was a great chance to jump right in with both feet.  When VoiceCon was over, the comments I’d heard in many customer conversations inspired me to post my first blog in the new role. 

The last eight months have been a whirlwind of excitement and learning for me as the Lync team prepares for our global launch of Lync on Wednesday November 17th in the Big Apple.  Recently, I’ve had time to reflect on the momentum and increasing demand that’s been building for this important release and what I have seen and heard has been nothing short of remarkable.  So the challenge here is, how do I explain it to you in a way that makes it real, beyond just citing some of the studies and statistics that others have shared over the past few months?

What I settled on was sharing with you a few anecdotes that highlight why I’m excited going into launch this week. There were many, for certain, but here are some highlights…

In March, in addition to being the talk of the show at VoiceCon, our team in the UK presented Lync (then called Communications Server “14”) at the UC Expo in London. ZDNet’s David Meyer was there to report, but he could not even get into the event because it was so over-subscribed.  Good reason to do a virtual launch!

The summer is traditionally a season of events for Microsoft, and this year we started in June with TechEd in New Orleans. TechEd is a technical education event for customers with lots of product sessions, hands on labs and workshops. I had a chance to mix and mingle with many customers and every single conversation either started or ended with, “when can I get the [Lync] bits?”  I hope everyone who asked knows that the RTM bits will be available for evaluation next week at this location: www.lync.com. A similar thing happened at TechEd in Berlin last week, where the Lync overview session was packed with hundreds of people more than we had anticipated.

After TechEd New Orleans, Brent Kelly from Wainhouse Research wrote a comprehensive review of Lync, and we heard a lot of feedback on his post, including a hint that it was one of the most viewed posts in the history of the No Jitter website.

Then in July, Microsoft hosted the annual Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington D.C. The overview session again became overflow only, and Jamie Stark’s session on deployment options nabbed triple the number of attendees we’d planned for.  Even after a room move, attendees still spilled out into the hallway on either side.  A smaller group ended up staying for a full hour beyond the original hour of the session (during a 5pm timeslot!), even after the coffee had run out.

The partners that came to WPC often ended up hosting similar packed sessions themselves over the following months.  For example, I recently received a note from our partner Dimension Data. In their Sydney Australia office, they host a monthly technical talk called Techspresso (I imagine they serve coffee for that too). Ordinarily they get about 40 attendees, but for the Lync Session, they had 100 people turn out.  This has been a story repeated by many partners over the past several months as they did early demo sessions with customers around the world. 

Getting this kind of reaction from customers and partners has been just one many terrific things about working on the Lync business over the past eight months and has only reinforced my own excitement going into launch.  Hopefully we can share some of this with you during the worldwide virtual launch event this week on Wednesday, November 17th, 8am PST/11am EST – visit this link to attend: www.microsoft.com/lync/launch

Thanks,

Kirk Gregersen