Last November, Microsoft announced its plan to rebrand the next version Lync, its popular unified communication platform, to Skype for Business. The new brand will officially rollout as an update to Lync as part of the April 14th Office monthly update.
What to Expect With Skype for Business
The new Skype for Business will be familiar to both Skype and Lync users. Taking advantage of the strengths from each, it will blend the Skype interface with enterprise-grade Lync capabilities including security, compliance and control to IT.
- Calling Features: The familiar Skype icons and sounds for calling, adding video, and ending a call will be used.
- Call Controls: Finding the dial pad and transferring calls will now be easier with Skype for Business.
- Call Status Window: Microsoft is adding the call monitor from Skype, which allows users to move back and forth between the main window and a smaller window open during an active call when the user moves to a different application.
- Skype Network People Search: The Skype user directory will soon be fully integrated with Skpe for Business, enabling people to search for and connect with anyone in the Skype network whether they are inside or outside of their organization.
- Office Integration: Just as with Lync, Skype for Business is built into Office and integrates features such as online statuses, IM, voice, video calls, and scheduling online meetings in Outlook as part of the Office experience. This capability will now show up throughout your Office experience as Skype for Business.
- Modern User Interface (UI): The first image below shows the new meeting experience and the second image below shows the updated contact window.
Ensuring a Smooth Transition to Skype for BusinessStarting April 14th, if you are using Lync Online with Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 Business Premium, or Office 2013, the new Skype for Business will automatically replace your Lync client and UI. Luckily, IT administrators can control how and when the update is rolled out to users.
For those using Lync Server, the Lync UI will remain your default experience however you can enable the rollout to the Skype for Business UI in your own.
Whether you decide to enable rollout the new UI on April 14th or delay until a future time, communication with your employees will be key to not causing any disruption to your employee's productivity. If you need help with your communication plans or change management strategy, contact us today to learn how we can help.