Today’s world is more connected than ever and team collaboration can easily be accomplished provided the right tools are in place and are being utilized to their fullest extent. Having used Office Communicator (OC) 2007 R2 for instant messaging (IM) as well as its enterprise voice capabilities (EV) for years, I was a little hesitant to upgrade to Lync 2010. I mean, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right? Thankfully the experience after recently being migrated by Microsoft IT has not only been a pleasing one but also added new functionality (e.g. virtual lobby, sharing/controlling content via a stage, rich presence, etc.).

Those that aren’t familiar with Lync, this software is the next evolution of OC and it’s new user interface (UI) is easy to use, shows an immense amount of detail for contacts and is extensible via its SDK. I think the feature I use most often is “Meet Now” which quickly brings up a meeting in seconds for my fellow colleagues to join. I will also mention that I’m glad to see that the “Call Forwarding” feature was not dropped as having the ability to provide a single number to internal/external contacts and simultaneously ring another number (e.g. mobile phone, different office location phone, etc.) is extremely beneficial.

I also like the filtering aspect that Lync brings to the table, so now it’s possible to display contacts by Groups, Status or Relationship. Similar to Live Meeting (LM), the integration with Outlook is spot on, so creating an online meeting is as simple as clicking a single button.

I’ve found that the video and voice qualities do vary depending upon my location which I’ll chalk up to network load/latency but so far the service hasn’t gone down and appears to be very stable. Of course this is only as good as yesterday’s perception so I’ll continue to monitor this aspect of Lync and report any anomalies.

Don’t fear if your organization hasn’t deployed or migrated to Lync because of budgetary concerns regarding the investment in server hardware as Lync Online ushers in a new way to have collaboration without this high overhead.

There are numerous other features, enhancements and benefits to using Lync so I encourage you to watch the video’s that have been produced as well as read some of the documentation that’s readily available from the web site.