Microsoft Lync, available in the bundled business version of Office 365, is yet another way to stay connected to your co-workers, colleagues and clients. You can message, have a video or audio call, host a presentation and work collaboratively with others on the same screen. It has become so popular, there’s even an entire multi-day conference dedicated to it. Here are some reasons why it is such a great business solution and some potential disadvantages.
Virtual meeting collaboration
Not only is the video quality HD, you can see up to five meeting participants simultaneously – choose which you see or let Lync decided for you. You can “present” to others, allowing them to view your screen as you go through a PowerPoint or such. If you’re working collaboratively with others, let them take over control of your screen and make edits for you or walk you through how to do something. There’s even a virtual whiteboard that you can use while you chat – just like you’re in a conference room.
Stay connected, no matter where you are
If you have access to the internet, you can be accessible via Lync. Whether you’re on your desktop at the office, your laptop at the coffee shop or on your cell phone in your car – you can stay connected to all your contacts. Download an app for a Windows Phone, iOS and Android phones to have virtually all the same functionality on your mobile device as you do on your desktop. Chat over message, join a video conference call or watch a presentation…wherever you are.
Easy deployment and integration
As Lync is part of Office 365 for enterprises, you can easily download it onto whichever computer you want to use it on from the Office 365 portal. If you don’t have the enterprise version of Office 365, you can still download Lync Online. According to Microsoft’s website, “Organizations that subscribe to Lync Online retain control over the collaboration services they offer to users, but they do not have the operational burden of on-premises server software.” Also, Lync is conveniently integrated with Outlook. You can schedule a Lync meeting within Outlook just as you would any other meeting.
Use Lync, even if you don’t have it
Even though the use of Lync is rapidly growing, not everyone has it…but you’ll still be able to use it to communicate with most everyone. Because Microsoft owns Skype, you can connect with those using Skype, on Lync. And, in addition, you can schedule Lync meetings with those that don’t have either. Invite whomever, schedule a meeting and send them a link, and they’ll see everything they need to in a web browser. Invite whomever you need to via email by scheduling a meeting – if they don’t have Lync, a hyperlink will be embedded in the email for them to view and participate in a web browser.
How well it works depends on your connection
Yes, you can connect to Lync as long as you have an internet connection…but if your connection isn’t very good, your video conferencing, audio calls or presentations may not be very productive. There may be a lag in presenting or difficulty in being heard.
Because it’s so easy to message a co-worker for something, will too many messages be sent – decreasing productivity? If you have to get up to ask someone something, you might try harder to figure it out on your own, avoiding distracting others. Messaging someone about something may easily stray from work related conversation. Interaction on a personal level between co-workers can be great, foster better working relationships, but too much can be to the detriment of productivity.
Unattainable conversation history
If you are using Lync without integrating it with your exchange server, you will not be able to access your conversation history. If you close a chat window, that conversation is gone forever – which can be really frustrating if you forgot to transfer important information elsewhere beforehand.