Try-Before-You-Buy Options for Microsoft Lync

Brian Riggs
B. Riggs

Summary Bullets:
• Microsoft Lync is starting to be offered on a hosted basis
• Trial software and services are readily available and a good way to determine if Lync is right for you

When I first saw the press release for BT’s Hosted Microsoft Lync pilot service, , I thought it was the first stage of a pilot for a new hosted Lync service that BT is planning to rollout. Upon closer reading, and after a conversation with Stephen Bruce, Portfolio Partner, Unified Communications and Mobility at BT Global Services, I found it is rather a pilot program where enterprises – large, multinational ones – can pay $15,000 to kick Lync’s tires for 90 days.  Lync, for those not following the communications space closely, is the latest and greatest version of Microsoft’s unified communications software. It not only provides instant messaging and presence, but also can augment or completely replace a traditional PBX. Microsoft has a huge marketing campaign behind Lync and a growing number of highly capable channel partners very actively selling it. But Lync has only been out for about a year and for this and other reasons businesses have been hesitant to use it to replace tried-and-true PBX systems. Hence, BT’s kick-the-tires pilot program. Two things strike me when thinking of the BT pilot from the perspective of IT buyers: the state of hosted Lync services and for-pay Lync trials.
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