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Hosted Lync/Skype for Business Trends
It's been a significant year in hosted Lync/Skype for Business. The biggest news in this regard was Microsoft's announcement at Enterprise Connect Orlando 2015 that it was adding PSTN connectivity to its Skype for Business Online offering, with implications that Ovum analyst Brian Riggs discussed on No Jitter shortly after the show. But of course in addition to Microsoft's own Skype for Business Online offering, there are a host of hosted services providers who that are combining the Lync/Skype for Business platform with their own connectivity and integration services for a broader offering. In short, as unified communications moves to the cloud, it's likely that Skype for Business will be in the vanguard of the transition.
I recently went back and revisited our No Jitter Research survey, fielded in April, on Lync/Skype for Business adoption trends, and looked at the question of hosted Lync/Skype for Business. I found some interesting results, where hosted adopters' attitudes and adoption trends diverged somewhat from the CPE base.
On the basic adoption question, just shy of 30% of our 259 respondents said their enterprise had adopted a hosted service for some Lync functionality. Among those who had not adopted any hosted services, the breakdown was basically into thirds: One-third said that they either planned to adopt a hosted Skype for Business service, or planned to at least evaluate such a service. Just over a third (37%) were dead-set against hosted Lync/Skype for Business -- they have never evaluated it and don't intend to, or they evaluated it and determined it definitely wasn't a fit for them. The remaining respondents, just under one-third, had evaluated hosted and had decided against it, but were open to re-evaluating it in the future.
When I dug into the attitudes of those who said they'd already adopted a hosted Lync/Skype for Business service, they seemed to be further along the curve than their premises-focused counterparts. For example, those using hosted were more likely to have adopted Enterprise Voice, and were significantly more likely to consider it important to federate Lync/Skype for Business with enterprises outside their own. They were also more likely to say that their enterprise faced a dilemma when it comes to running both Cisco and Microsoft UC systems.
And finally, they were much more positive about the Skype for Business rebrand than were their CPE-using counterparts; about double the percentage of hosted users, compared to the share of CPE users, said the rebrand would help them position Microsoft UC positively with end users who already were familiar with the Skype brand. CPE users were more likely than hosted users to say the rebrand would hamper their efforts because of a perception by enterprise decision-makers that Skype is not an enterprise-grade product.
As with all UC platforms, the choice of a hosted vs. CPE-based Lync/Skype for Business implementation will continue to confront enterprises, and will evolve in its implications and considerations. It's one of the topics we'll tackle on our upcoming Enterprise Connect Tour focusing on Lync/Skype for Business. I'm pleased to announce that the Tour is now open for registration.
This is the second year in a row that we'll be taking an EC road show to four cities and then online for a Virtual Event, to talk Lync/Skype for Business. Last year's event was a huge success and drew great crowds, and we're expecting even more this year. We'll be bringing sponsors on board over the next few weeks, and, as I've said, we've already opened attendee registration -- which is free. Here's where you'll be able to catch the Tour:
The Tour events feature a day-long program of sessions that help you understand the latest and most important issues around Lync/Skype for Business -- not just the hosted/CPE issue, but all the crucial issues around Lync/Skype for Business. The day features expert advice and in-depth discussion, and of course plenty of time for you to interact one-on-one with the experts and get your questions answered, both in the session rooms and in the ample times we've set aside for networking and talking with our sponsors.
If you're in one of these cities or can make it there for one of these dates, I hope you'll join us for a day that promises to be chock-full of great information and useful insights.