Outsourcery has commented that Microsoft’s recent announcement that its next version of Lync will become ‘Skype for Business’ shows how successful consumer products have become at leading the design of enterprise solutions. Skype for Business enables organisations to reach hundreds of millions of Skype users across the world with an apparent secure infrastructure that meets the needs of the business community. Here we explore Outsourcery’s comments and hear from CEO Piers Linney.
Skype for Business is based on the evolution of the existing Lync service and will be distinct from the Skype that many currently use personally. Outsourcery will offer Skype for Business using its own carrier-grade service level agreement and is the only company that will offer the service that has full pan government accreditation (PGA).
Piers Linney, Co-CEO of Outsourcery, comments: “We are extremely excited to be joining Microsoft in this next chapter with the introduction of Skype for Business in 2015. As a select Microsoft Cloud OS Network Gold Partner, committed to offering solutions built on the Microsoft cloud platform, we support this development which will bring opportunities for businesses looking to further enhance communications and collaboration, whilst still offering the features and security that current Lync users love.”
Microsoft’s latest Unified Communications (UC) offering will combine the key advantages of both Skype and Lync services, sustaining the core service values of security and manageability, while developing its connectivity efficiency and reach. Skype for Business will enable businesses to connect to the whole Skype network, allowing them to achieve enhanced communication with customers and partners. The familiar Skype format will mean less training and support will be required and features will allow better integration with Microsoft Office, Active Directory, Exchange and SharePoint, enabling greater user productivity.
Piers continues: “We are committed to providing our customers and partners with the latest in cloud-based UC solutions and will be introducing the Skype for Business service to Outsourcery’s Microsoft suite product offering when the service is released. This will enable us to offer all the advantages of Microsoft’s latest technology enhancements, along with the benefits of Outsourcery’s professional services and fully integrated cloud productivity suite, all delivered by our team of dedicated cloud experts.
“Skype for Business will further improve the Microsoft suite that we currently offer, complementing other services like Office 365 to accelerate the speed of work processes, collaboration and productivity. With these advancements in communications technology, supported by cloud services, more businesses will be incentivised to adopt a holistic unified communications approach as a method to cut costs and improve efficiencies, whilst achieving greater possibilities through the benefits of global connectivity. We are excited about what this change will bring next year and beyond – this announcement demonstrates in full the consumerisation and convergence of IT.”
This resurrection of the brand Skype for Business doesn’t really come as a surprise but it does highlight a very important issue. Currently many suppliers secure business solutions differentiate themselves from the consumer equivalent by highlighting the lack of features or security vulnerabilities that may leave some businesses open to attack from these type of products. However in the same breath Microsoft has merged a consumer product with a business product. The implications being that perhaps the two are interchangeable. In an environment where many SP’s are trying to fight the battle against businesses using inferior consumer products (for free) over business grade services (paid for) I worry that Microsoft has fuelled the flames and their actions could damage other’s efforts in this space.