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So is Microsoft Lync Really Ready to Replace the PBX?

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With the first anniversary of the Microsoft Lync 2010 release coming up, several industry experts recently weighed in with their thoughts on how to answer that question.

This week, Dave Michels, president of Verge1 Consulting and a specialist in PBX strategies for the end user and manufacturer, published an article sharing his perspective. Michels points out some of the concerns with Lync as a PBX replacement, including the architectural changes and corresponding upgrade effort as the product evolved from Office Communication Server 2007 R2 to Lync 2010, the requirement for high quality, reliable and inexpensive broadband that may not always be available, and the key applications like contact center solutions that are not part of the core product. Michels goes on to point out the growing but still limited selection of endpoints, including the lack of support for smartphone clients.

About a month ago Joe Schurman (a former Microsoft MVP now with Avaya but formerly with Evangelyze, a Microsoft Lync ISV) posted a lengthy assessment of Microsoft Lync’s readiness for enterprise voice deployment on his personal blog. While the conclusions may be colored by Schuman’s employment at Avaya, the issues he raises make interesting reading for anyone considering a Microsoft Lync enterprise voice deployment. Schurman’s post also prompted a Network World article that includes quotes and input from additional sources, including a Microsoft spokesperson.

He concludes, “seek beyond the hype, beyond the demo, and beyond the pilot before embarking on a journey that will forever affect the way the organization communicates and collaborates between users and systems to avoid what my kids would call an ‘EPIC FAIL.’”