Happy 1st Birthday Lync…

A year ago today, December 1st to be exact, Lync 2010 was first made available to customers. To celebrate this milestone, I thought I’d share some updates about Lync’s first year in market. I just came back from several weeks on the road, meeting with customers and partners in Europe and Asia, and it’s been great to talk with current Lync customers and partners about their experiences, and to speak with prospective customers about how Lync 2010 can transform the way they communicate.

When we launched Lync 2010 last year, we made a bold claim: that Lync was “ushering in a new generation of communications.” At the time I wondered if that statement could have been too bold. We were excited about Lync, but you never truly know what you have with a product until customers really start to use it. After reflecting on some of the stories we’re hearing from customers, it is clear that Lync is indeed enabling people to communicate in new ways, increasing productivity wherever they are.

Feedback has been tremendous. From LA Fitness telling us they’re saving more than $650,000 per year using Lync, to the US Army using Lync to help keep soldiers connected.  Swisscom, which deployed Lync across its entire 15,000 employees, recently finished decommissioning all of its 94 PBXs, resulting in $17 million in savings. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia tells us that Lync was the fastest product roll-out in the history of the company, resulting in 60% adoption rate among its 32,000 employees within just 24 hours of roll-out.  Hendrick Motorsports is using Lync to collaborate and communicate on the race track during race day. Dell deployed Lync to support their Connected Workplace initiative, enabling their employees to work from any location that helps them to be the most productive, while helping to reduce Dell’s carbon footprint.  I am really thrilled and amazed at the progress and success when I look at these and other customers in aggregate! You can find more Lync customer stories at www.microsoft.com/casestudies/ and at the Lync website.

Beyond individual customers, the aggregate numbers also speak to Lync’s rapid adoption. Microsoft had long been considered a leader in IM and presence with Office Communicator and Communications Server 2007. With the R2 release, the product took things to the next level with audio, video, and web conferencing, enabling customers like Intel and Credit Agricole to dramatically reduce both audio conferencing and travel expenses. Lync 2010 went further, with full PBX-replace level unified communications, much to the excitement of customers who had been waiting to deliver a seamless experience to their users. The resulting adoption has been rapid, with nearly 3 million enterprise users relying on Lync for telephony instead of a traditional PBX.  In the last fiscal year alone, our enterprise voice deployments grew 250% – and these are just the ones we validate directly with customers.

No look back at Lync’s first year is complete without highlighting the innovation our partners are delivering. There are hundreds of certified partners across the world that are dedicated to selling and deploying Lync and many of them are creating differentiated offerings. BT recently announced a managed hosted service for Lync in the United States; Dimension Data and Unify Square are among the first Lync certified Premier Support partners on a global basis; and telco Swisscom is not only a Lync user itself, but is also redefining its service offering to customers based on the capabilities that Lync provides. In the device space, partners now offer over 130 Lync optimized devices (double the amount from launch) delivering customers the freedom to choose the device that works best for their needs. The amount of Lync interoperable network gear and gateways has seen similar growth. We predicted true innovation though the power of software and in the last year over 1,100 Unified Communications applications have been submitted by over 1,000 partners to the Microsoft Platform Ready program, enabling customers to get even more value out of their communications investments through communications enabled business processes (CEBP). I’m excited to see this space continue to grow as we believe the Lync partner ecosystem is one of the areas of greatest value to our customers.

If you haven’t considered Lync yet, I’d encourage you to visit www.microsoft.com/lync to learn more. And if you haven’t experienced the product yet, I’d encourage you to reach out to your Microsoft account representative or certified partner to ask about pilot opportunities and the “Turn on Lync Voice” promotion currently available when you add enterprise voice capabilities to the presence and IM features in Lync.  We are certainly excited about customer reaction to Lync over the past year and look forward to delivering additional capabilities for Lync and Lync Online over the coming months.