12 Aug 2014
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Lync subscriptions game changer for SMBs

Changes to licensing for Lync have made it more financially viable for smaller businesses, says Acronym's Dave Allum.

One recent exciting development for Microsoft Lync is around licensing models, which now allow for subscription-based licensing for on-premise Lync solutions.Previously for an on-premise solution of Microsoft Lync it was necessary to licence the underlying server licences, the Lync server components (of which there can be many) and the user access licences to the Lync servers, as well as requiring the Lync application.We can now deliver this much more simply with monthly user subscription-based licensing that incorporates all the required licences.

It’s now simply a case of deciding if you require the full web conferencing functionality, just the telephony component, or a combination of both. You might decide, for example, that your sales team need to be able to run external webinars but that this functionality isn’t required for the rest of your team who only need the telephony. You only pay for the Lync components you require on a monthly basis giving you full flexibility of user pays and pay as you go.

For smaller New Zealand businesses this means a less capital intensive costing model to get access to features previously only financially viable to larger organisations.

Using subscription-based licensing, the Lync unified communications solutions now cost-effectively provide integration of instant messaging/chat, presence information, telephony, videoconferencing, speech recognition, voicemail and email. Lync provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media-types.

There is now some very clever, and surprisingly cost effective, Lync-certified hardware that enables you to connect multiple devices such as deskphone, laptop and smartphone, to a headset via Bluetooth, enabling an incoming call to be taken by a PC and seamlessly transferred to a smartphone as the user walks out of the office.

For the mobile worker Lync also provides full voice command for making and accepting calls, checking messages and organising and updating calendar appointments in Microsoft Outlook. From your smartphone you can check the presence status of colleagues – who’s in a meeting, who’s on a phone call etc.

Seasonal benefits

The on-premise subscription-based Lync solution is particularly cost effective when used by businesses with seasonal or project-related telecommunications demand, remote or disparate users or where multi-branch environments need a single solution.

The Lync UC solution calls for two to four servers, depending on requirements and demand, and we have found that virtualising these servers onto a single physical server box works fine for small to medium sized businesses, helping reduce the overall capital expenditure.

Further to this we can now licence all servers, required server components and user client access licences simply on a monthly per user basis. This is a significant up-front cost saving providing organisations the ability of having the quality of an on-premise telecommunication solution and all the integration with their other on-premise solutions giving the efficiency and features of a fully featured unified communications solution.

Dave Allum is general manager of Acronym, a certified Microsoft Partner providing solutions in the cloud, hosted and on-premise environments for SME, corporate and educational clients.

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