Business Insights Newsletter Article | July 2012

“Lync” up to Big Advantages

Circa 1912, there were people who derided the automobile, opining that their transportation needs were served just fine, thank you, by the reliable old horse.

Of course you wouldn’t have been of that ilk; you’d have scraped together every penny toward buying a horseless carriage, right? Well, if your company is still relying on a PBX for telephony, a separate server for email, and third-party service for audio and video conferencing, maybe you would have been happy to stick with old Dobbin after all, because you’re meeting your communication needs with horse-and-buggy technology. And just like yesteryear’s horse apologists, you might be hanging onto an outdated system simply because it still works. The slide rule still works, too, but would anyone argue that’s reason enough to forego a modern scientific calculator?

So what’s the alternative to today’s all-too-common grab bag of business communications solutions? It’s unified communications, or UC for short, and you’ve undoubtedly given some thought to employing it. So stop thinking and start doing, because every day you delay is another day of missed productivity and unrealized cost savings.

But don’t simply settle for any UC solution; look for one that is built around your entire communications ecosystem: the phone, the PC, and the browser. There’s one company that’s focused on providing the best communication and productivity experience across all these modalities, and that’s Microsoft – which makes Microsoft Lync 2010 the UC solution of choice.

Lync can save your company time and money. First, it reduces costs through converged communications. No more separate payments for telephony, email, voicemail, conferencing; no more costly maintenance of a PBX infrastructure and the IT expenses of provisioning multiple communications solutions.

Elimination of those charges can add up to big savings quickly, as LA Fitness happily discovered. This nationwide company has over 360 fitness clubs across the United States and Canada, with some 20,000 employees. After replacing their PBX installations, the company realized a yearly cost reduction of more than $650,000, largely thanks to the reduction of long distance charges and conferencing fees.

Marquette University, located near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, also scored big savings after replacing its PBX telephony system with Lync’s more comprehensive communications solution for it 11,500 students and 2,500 employees. The university sliced its annual bill for phone service in half, from $240,000 to $120,000.

And those are only the direct cost savings. For many companies, the indirect savings from increased productivity are equally compelling. Because Lync has been engineered to work seamlessly with Microsoft Office applications, employees can open up chats with their colleagues from right inside Word docs and Excel spreadsheets. Thanks to Lync’s presence feature, an employee can see at a glance if the party with whom he wants to consult is available. If she is, one click initiates an IM session or phone call, and once linked, the two of them can use Lync’s desktop sharing capabilities to work together on the same document.

Need to pull more people into the conversation? Lync’s got you covered there, too; with single click you can initiate a Lync meeting. This one-click feature is extensible, via “federation,” to domains outside of your company, which means you can enjoy that same level of accessibility and collaboration with key suppliers, partners, and customers. It all adds up to greater productivity and the improved customer service – potent drivers to a better bottom line. What’s more, Lync’s tight integration with Microsoft Office makes it a more intuitive experience for employees, which means fewer costly calls to the IT help desk.

Herrenknecht, a German company that provides tunneling technology for construction projects around the world, has realized substantial productivity gains thanks to Lync 2010. The company’s engineers use IM to discuss projects with one another and get questions answered quickly, and they employ desktop sharing with people outside the department to review PDF files of designs. Project managers rely on online meetings and desktop sharing to discuss project status with far-flung teams. In fact, Lync’s audio, video, and web conferencing capabilities have helped Herrenknecht reduce employee travel time by about 30 percent. And just about everyone at Herrenknecht appreciates Lync’s presence capabilities, especially because they can view presence through other Microsoft applications, such as Outlook and SharePoint.

Lync also helps companies take advantage of two of the biggest trends in the world of work: the increasingly mobile workforce and the consumerization of IT. Lync is perfect for today’s mobile workers, since it has been built to take advantage of the best features in smartphones, laptops, and the browser. This is an area where Microsoft really shines, with its breadth and depth of experience in all these devices. In helping to make the remote workplace a reality, Lync also helps many companies hold down real estate and utility costs. After all, you don’t need office space to accommodate your entire payroll if a sizeable number of your employees work remotely. What’s more, Lync’s capacity to work on virtually any platform plays directly into the growing trend of employees using their own technology—smartphones, tablets, and laptops—for work. With Lync, this consumerization of IT becomes an asset rather than a nuisance.

Finally, Lync can lower IT costs substantially. Because it’s a software-based solution, Lync can be readily upgraded and is easier to implement across multiple devices. The IT benefits of Lync are most pronounced when it is interconnected with Microsoft Exchange, providing a single vendor solution that reduces communications complexity and maintenance costs.

Put it altogether – lower costs for telephony; reduced travel thanks to conferencing; greater productivity boosts from presence, IM, and desktop sharing; better service for remote workers; compatibility with the consumer devices; and reduced IT costs—and you have a more than compelling case for trading in your old communication system for Lync 2010. So take the next step and contact a Microsoft certified IT partner to learn how you can save money and be more productive with Lync.

You can find more information about Lync 2010 here, including information on partners who can help you plan, deploy, manage, and support UC solutions based on Lync 2010.