Nearly a Third Will Update to Lync 2010: Survey

A new survey indicates that there is a primed and ready market for Microsoft’s upcoming release of its recently rebranded unified communications (UC) server.

The survey, fielded by Osterman Research, found that 30 percent of respondents plan to deploy what is now called Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Lync Server 2010 within a year of its release near the end of 2010.

“In addition, among enterprises that have currently deployed a non-Microsoft UC platform, a whopping 23 percent said they will consider moving to Lync Server (formerly known as Office Communications Server),” said a statement by Azaleos, a managed services provider that funded the survey.

Azaleos provides customers with private cloud-hosted e-mail, collaboration, and unified communications built on Microsoft infrastructure servers, including Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync.

Previously named Office Communications Server “14,” Microsoft renamed its unified communications server to Lync Server 2010 in mid-September.

It is currently in the last phase of testing — known as the “release candidate” stage — and remains on track for final release by the end of the year.

Microsoft has been pursuing the burgeoning market for unified communications, which includes integrating enterprise voice over IP (VoIP), instant messaging, and Web, along with audio and video conferencing — all accessible via the same user interface and back-end infrastructure — since October 2007.

“Unified communications on the Microsoft platform has grown from 16 percent of the user base at organizations surveyed in 2009 to 21 percent in 2010,” Michael Osterman, president of Osterman Research, said in a statement.

What is now known as Lync Server 2010 debuted in March during a keynote at VoiceCon 2010 in Orlando by Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Unified Communications Group.

“In the next three years, we predict that UC will become the norm in business communications, more than half of VoIP calls at work will include more than just voice, and your communications client will enable UC with more than 1 billion people,” Pall said at the time in a post to the Official Microsoft Blog.

Besides the rebranding, Lync Server 2010 adds new features such as improved presence and location awareness, as well as support for skill searches.

Among the survey’s other findings, the leading drivers to migrate to Lync Server 2010 include the ability to run it on virtual servers (57 percent), the need for fewer physical servers (54 percent), and the ability to use a single client for multiple communications (51 percent).

“Seventy-one percent of survey respondents cite improved collaboration between employees and others as a driver or important driver in their decision to adopt unified communications,” the survey report continued. “Other drivers include improved employee productivity (68 percent), cost savings provided by enterprise voice (56 percent), and cost savings from decreased travel (53 percent).”

The survey polled IT and business decision makers in 121 organizations with a mean of 13,000 employees in September.

The survey report is available here as PDF (registration required).

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

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