It’s a great day when I accomplish my most demanding and creative work with others. I’m finding that Office 365’s Lync helps me do my best by keeping me productive and in touch with customers and our team when I’m running from place to place. Not only that, with Lync and Office 365 I have much more powerful and intuitive collaboration capabilities than what Google Apps customers experience with Google Talk. I’ll be using Lync in 2012 and beyond. Here’s why.
Anywhere, Anytime Seamless Collaboration
As part of my work, I closely track how business users want to interact with others online. Today, they want to use audio and video conferencing and instant messaging, not just email and voice. They use various business applications and a range of devices, PC, Macintosh or smartphone, and want to locate and connect with people from each one.
In short, business users want a “2012” user experience.
For example, on Friday I was trying to get in touch with an internal expert, a technical architect, before finalizing a proposal for a prospective customer. His schedule is very fluid, so it can be hard to catch up with him quickly. Using Office 365 I had access to his availability information, or presence, across the entire applications suite as I multi-tasked in email, in my calendar, when viewing documents, and through IM. Presence showed me whether he was busy, free or away. I caught up with him between his meetings. After all, I also had dynamic information about him like “in a meeting”, “on a call”, or “free until 5 PM”. Google Talk users have no dynamic information about presence and they can’t see any presence information in Outlook.
Using Google Talk feels like wearing handcuffs compared to using Office 365’s Lync Online. Office 365 users aren’t limited in reaching out in new ways like Google Apps users are with Google Talk. With Office 365, I have the choice of getting in touch over instant messaging, a call, video conferencing, audio conferencing or email. First of all, Google Talk has no support for web conferencing. I can’t meet in large groups online using video conferencing with Google Talk, and Google Talk won’t let me connect to room-based conferencing units which our team sometimes depends on to share ideas across the miles. Our company, my customers, our business partners and consultants use video conferencing. In and away from the office, I use Office 365 rather than contracting for a separate web conferencing service, because I need to work with current, capable tools and videoconference with large groups online.
Group Video Calls and PC Calling
Some users are content to start smaller, with group video calls. That’s not available with Google Talk. If I chose Google Talk, I would need to install an additional plug-in. Then my video calls would be one-to-one only, not one-to-one, one-to-many or many- to-many like they are with Office 365. What about using the Internet for a simple PC- to-PC call? Google Apps users need to make sure each employee, customer and partner has a PC, because Macintosh users won’t reach Google Talk users and vice-versa on PC-to-PC calls. With Office 365, I can work with both PC and Macintosh users in PC-to-PC calls.
What if I was looking for more basic communications? Back in the nineties many people used audio conferencing regularly. Yet, even now, Google Talk is in the dark ages where audio conferencing is concerned. It provides very limited, multi-party conferencing with audio only for 4 parties or fewer. Also, Google Talk audio conferences are ad hoc only. Since I want to schedule audio conferences ahead of time with more people, I need the capabilities in Office 365.
Using Office 365’s More Powerful Capabilities Seamlessly
I schedule and participate in online meetings, use dynamic conferencing capabilities, and collaborate with features like online white-boarding. Google Apps’ Google Talk has none of these, and Office 365 has them all. I need to communicate offline effectively with individuals and groups, and reach people from a variety of applications. I do all of these things with a Microsoft solution including Office 365.
Author, David Kroenke created this video to describe how he uses Office 365’s Lync capabilities.Take a look and let us know if you’re finding that Lync provides what you need to be productive and do your best work.