Microsoft's effort to reinvent and simplify its unified communications platform through Lync -- which was introduced late last year -- leverages the huge deployed infrastructure the provider has in most businesses. That doesn't mean, however, that deep deployments are easy.
Microsoft's advantage in this space is definitely integration with the Office and SharePoint product line. Microsoft realizes the dominance of the Microsoft Office system and by providing out-of-the-box integration with Outlook, Word, Excel, OneNote, and SharePoint for portal and Web site, users benefit by being able to click-to-communicate directly from within these applications, view presence of their contacts and dramatically increase productivity. Microsoft Outlook is definitely the premier Microsoft UC application and acts almost as a launching pad for all Microsoft UC communication.
He added that since Microsoft Exchange is all but ubiquitous, instant messaging is the initial application beyond email that will lead, presumably, to a more ubiquitous deployment. A far more ambitious step is using Lync for voice. It is a long-term transition, Schurman said:
You also have to realize what an enterprise voice deployment entails. In order to deploy any enterprise voice solution, you have to account for communication line configuration (VoIP and/or telephony), IVR configuration, dial plans, branch services, scalability, security and permissions, Group Policy rules [and so on]. It's a massive undertaking, especially for a global organization, so these projects are not completed in short order.