Being new not only to Lync 2013, but the Unified Communications arena altogether, I find it’s worth talking about the intuitiveness Lync 2013 offers new users. As someone who has experience only with Microsoft Communicator in a limited capacity (like a good majority of today’s workforce) – I am starting with no background of Lync 2010, so while I’m unable to speak to the upgrades and/or changes Microsoft made with 2013, I am able to offer a perspective of what it will be like for the majority of an organization that is implementing Lync for the first time.
From first look, Lync’s user interface resembles most IM software – a list of contacts, search bar, etc. but simply starting your first conversation opens up a multitude of features that will be completely new to the user. A feature of Lync that is instantly noticeable to the new user is Presence. Presence represents simple, easy to use statuses that are integrated with Outlook, all but eliminating the need to manually change the user’s status while in a meeting or on a phone call. In a meeting? Lync will automatically change your Presence status to Do Not Disturb, letting everyone know that you are unavailable. Getting up from your desk to grab some coffee? Lock your computer and Lync will let your contacts know you are away from your desk. So not only does the user inherently assume what a green, yellow or red bar next to a contact’s picture should mean, but Lync will display specifically what the user is doing at the time with captions such as “Available”, “Busy” or “Do Not Disturb”. I’ve found that the status feature on Lync 2013 needs little to no training whatsoever, as a good majority of it is automated through the Outlook integration and its easy-to-decipher color coding system. While the simple status feature on Lync 2013 is only one aspect of Presence, it tends to be the first piece that the new user notices, and sets a precedent for how easy Lync will be to pick up.
Microsoft Lync 2013’s Presence feature certainly has aspects that are not quite as intuitive as status, but each one can become just as easy to understand and use through simple exploration and experience within the tool. For a more in-depth look at features within Microsoft Lync 2013 and how it can increase efficiency with regards to communication within your organization, check out Microsoft’s website.
Dan Fisher, PEI