Microsoft Lync, recently rebranded as Skype for Business, is a traditional name in the unified communications space. Lync strives to unite a range of communication channels: instant messaging, calling, video conferencing, the software and the hardware. With devices and apps across mobile and web platforms, as well as integration with Skype and Office 365, Lync has touted its ability to reinvent productivity. However, as many users have found, the gap between its vision and its reality has proved to be frustrating. We have heard several common complaints that administrators and users have with Lync.
1. Lync is hard to implement
Having so many features is a double-edged sword. Setting up and maintaining the entire Lync system can be difficult, even for IT, because it requires a complex array of configurations and integrations to accomplish its goal of unified communications. To illustrate, enterprise IT analyst Josh Greenbaum attempted to get Lync 2013 working with his Office 365 and Skype: the “bloody nightmare” included four calls to Microsoft tech support and still ended in failure. Once it has been nominally integrated into an enterprise’s workflow, individual employees will still need to spend time configuring and tweaking various bits of software to get features to work on their devices. This struggle is the canary in the proverbial coal mine - if Lync is so hard to implement, how easy can it really be to use?
Here at Lua, we never want to receive such negative feedback on usability: from day one, our solution has been built for business with a quick and easy onboard process and an intuitive interface that requires little to no training at all. What is especially important to us is that we aren't just saying this ourselves: our clients themselves have been extremely positive about our product.
2. Lync isn't mobile-friendly
Despite Lync claiming to work across Windows, Android, and iOS, many current users say this isn't the case. Lync 2013 has been described as simply “unusable” on iPad and iPhone. If you do manage to access it on mobile, messages are often delayed and don't always sync seamlessly across devices, and notifications sometimes don't come through anywhere. With a feature set that is already cumbersome on desktop, Lync by nature has difficulty keeping up with today’s mobile workforce.
In contrast, Lua is mobile-first. We've devoted years towards observing workflows out in the field, and have tailored the solution for the unique behavior of getting things done on the go. Mobile-first, or even a certain level of mobile-friendliness, is extremely important for companies wanting to offer more services to customers from anywhere, something the new instant gratification economy demands from businesses.
3. Communications aren’t actually unified
Common Lync complaints raised include being unable to join conference calls even once contacts are found and accepted, calls dropping, and terrible call quality if you manage to get connected. We've found that call quality can really rub users the wrong way if not done well: people at work usually jump on the phone when things are especially pressing, and do not appreciate the unpleasant surprise of not being able to connect with their coworkers. We're constantly improving and testing our hassle-free conference calling system to knock each call out of the park.
4. Lync doesn’t promote accountability
Delayed messages and notifications, failed conference calls, and inconsistent mobile support — who’s seen what? Unified communications only works if communication is going through. In today's fast-paced, increasingly-competitive market, having critical messages fall through the cracks can really damage an organization's ability to stay abreast of the competition.
Lua actively provides visibility on who has or hasn’t seen a message or attachment with its ReadReports. Our proprietary business intelligence dashboard, Insights, further boosts accountability by providing high-level analysis of intra- and inter-department activity.
No one system is right for every single company, so understand your ideal feature set before being drawn into an ill-fitting relationship by Lync’s name and Microsoft backing. Even if you're being drawn to Microsoft's big vision of unifying all channels of communication, consider the following before choosing Lync/Skype for Business:
Share your experience with Lync in the comments, and email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive our Lua vs. Lync info sheet!