Authors: Lync Team
Interoperability (sometimes also shortened to just “interop”) is a topic that the Lync team pays a lot of attention to. And interop isn’t just a focus for us—it has been a huge topic in the unified communications industry as well. At the Enterprise Connect conference in March and the Lync sessions at...
My first week on the Lync team was back in the beginning of March. With VoiceCon in Orlando happening that week, it was a great chance to jump right in with both feet. When VoiceCon was over, the comments I’d heard in many customer conversations inspired me to post my first blog in the new role.
The last eight months have been a whirlwind of excitement and learning for me as the Lync team prepares for our global launch of Lync on Wednesday November 17th in the Big Apple. Recently, I’ve had time to reflect on the momentum and increasing demand that’s been building for this important release and what I have seen and heard has been nothing short of remarkable. So the challenge here is, how do I explain it to you in a way that makes it real, beyond just citing some of the studies and statistics that others have shared over the past few months?
What I settled on was sharing with you a few anecdotes that highlight why I’m excited going into launch this week. There were many, for certain, but here are some highlights…
In March, in addition to being the talk of the show at VoiceCon, our team in the UK presented Lync (then called Communications Server “14”) at the UC Expo in London. ZDNet’s David Meyer was there to report, but he could not even get into the event because it was so over-subscribed. Good reason to do a virtual launch!
The summer is traditionally a season of events for Microsoft, and this year we started in June with TechEd in New Orleans. TechEd is a technical education event for customers with lots of product sessions, hands on labs and workshops. I had a chance to mix and mingle with many customers and every single conversation either started or ended with, “when can I get the [Lync] bits?” I hope everyone who asked knows that the RTM bits will be available for evaluation next week at this location: www.lync.com. A similar thing happened at TechEd in Berlin last week, where the Lync overview session was packed with hundreds of people more than we had anticipated.
After TechEd New Orleans, Brent Kelly from Wainhouse Research wrote a comprehensive review of Lync, and we heard a lot of feedback on his post, including a hint that it was one of the most viewed posts in the history of the No Jitter website.
Then in July, Microsoft hosted the annual Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington D.C. The overview session again became overflow only, and Jamie Stark’s session on deployment options nabbed triple the number of attendees we’d planned for. Even after a room move, attendees still spilled out into the hallway on either side. A smaller group ended up staying for a full hour beyond the original hour of the session (during a 5pm timeslot!), even after the coffee had run out.
The partners that came to WPC often ended up hosting similar packed sessions themselves over the following months. For example, I recently received a note from our partner Dimension Data. In their Sydney Australia office, they host a monthly technical talk called Techspresso (I imagine they serve coffee for that too). Ordinarily they get about 40 attendees, but for the Lync Session, they had 100 people turn out. This has been a story repeated by many partners over the past several months as they did early demo sessions with customers around the world.
Getting this kind of reaction from customers and partners has been just one many terrific things about working on the Lync business over the past eight months and has only reinforced my own excitement going into launch. Hopefully we can share some of this with you during the worldwide virtual launch event this week on Wednesday, November 17th, 8am PST/11am EST – visit this link to attend: www.microsoft.com/lync/launch.
Microsoft will host our annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) next week, and we are eager to see our partners in Washington, D.C.
On the heels of a successful showing at TechEd NA last month where we announced beta availability of Exchange Server 2010 SP1 and disclosed the features coming in Communications Server ‘14’, we are excited to turn our attention to our partner ecosystem and highlight not only the great partner momentum currently in market but also look ahead to the business opportunities Exchange and Communications Server ‘14’ will bring to our partners.
Want to plug into WPC activities? Attend the event in person or connect via Digital WPC:
UC Symposium and WPC 2010 (Washington, D.C., July 11-15th)
The Exchange and Communications Server teams from Redmond will host our Unified Communications Symposium on Sunday, following the conclusion of the World Cup final match. Monday will kickoff with keynotes from Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer, President of the Microsoft Business Division, Stephen Elop and Chris Capossela, SVP for Microsoft’s IW PMG. Hear from Exchange’s Julia White and Ian Hameroff and Communications Server’s Kirk Gregersen and Jamie Stark as they lead sessions under the Business Productivity track on Monday afternoon as well. More than 15 other sessions across different tracks including EPG, SMB, Systems Integrator and Cloud Services will highlight Exchange and Communications Server, and we encourage partners to attend these sessions detailed in the conference catalog.
We look forward to seeing our partners at booth #155 on the expo floor where they can see demos of Exchange Server 2010 SP1 and Communications Server ‘14’. Partners can participate in our Customer Immersion Experience (CIE) at our booth. CIE is a hands-on environment where partners can test drive our business productivity platform in real time. Finally, swing by booth #277 to learn more about BPOS from the Microsoft Online Services team.
If you do not plan to attend the conference next week, tune into digitalwpc.com to view streaming keynotes from Steve Ballmer, Stephen Elop and Chris Capossela and other Microsoft executives throughout the week. Videos of Exchange and Communications Server breakout sessions and corresponding decks will be available shortly after WPC here.
We look forward to seeing our partners in D.C.!
Kristin Murray, UC Partner Marketing
WPC 2010 was Microsoft’s largest partner conference ever with over 14,000 attendees from 130 countries. WPC provided an opportunity to meet with partners, congratulate and celebrate our partners’ successes, and share our business priorities for the upcoming year at our UC Pre-Day and WPC sessions. Walking away from WPC, there is a legion of Systems Integrators, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), Resellers, Telco and Hardware partners readied and excited to help customers like you realize the full benefits of Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Communications Server ‘14’.
Our team is excited to kickoff this fiscal year with a strong partner ecosystem that is activated and eager to deliver our unified communications solutions to you. Partners are coming to the cloud with us and are ready to advise you on how to take advantage of our growing cloud portfolio spanning Exchange Online, Office Communications Online, SharePoint Online, all the way to Windows Azure and Windows Intune.
Kristin Murray, UC Partner Marketing