Skype, Lync Integration Enhances Microsoft`s UC, Collaboration Offerings: Report

By Nathan Eddy  |  Print this article Print

The combined offer of Office 365 with Skype’s potential can boost Microsoft’s presence in both domains, an AMI report says.

Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype and the subsequent announcement of its future integration with Lync in Office 365 strengthens Microsoft’s portfolio for SMB customers looking for a secure form of communication, with customers and business partners bundled with an attractive collaboration suite, according to a report from IT analytics firm AMI Partners.

The report said the integration of Skype with Lync would enable small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) to gain global control of internal communication and collaboration, yet be able to connect to consumers, businesses and trading partners around the world. This will provide SMBs with the ability to call landlines and cell phones along with Lync’s pre-existing capabilities.

AMI said Microsoft’s recent announcement of its desire to strengthen collaboration with local service providers to guarantee performance and security for their cloud-based services should provide a strong quality differentiator to SMB customers, and thus increase Microsoft’s share of the lucrative European SMB sector.

"AMI’s latest SMB Market Study reveals high levels of interest in Unified Communication solutions when bundled with a Productivity / Collaboration Suite for a low fixed monthly cost," says Lorenza Brescia, EMEA cloud services director at AMI Partners. "Increased purchase probability produced by these kinds of service bundles offers service providers a potential market opportunity of $3.8 billion amongst the 11 million SMBs in Europe’s largest markets."

Unified Collaboration software remains a key battleground between the big technology companies for both market penetration and mind share, and quality of service support will prove to be a differentiator to gain new customers and maintain the existing ones, Brescia said, and how Microsoft will converge Skype with Lync and the related quality of service that the company will effectively offer may prove crucial to its success in building penetration in SMB markets.

"The combined offer of Office 365 with Skype’s potential can boost Microsoft’s presence in both domains, and Skype can act as a catalyst to cross-sell complementary hosted solutions. However, SMB customers will need guarantees of service quality if Microsoft wants to capitalize on Skype’s extensive user base," Brescia noted. The integration of Lync with Skype will facilitate and accelerate adoption in business environments of video and social media already commonly used by private consumers."