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Partners: Skype for Business is now available

Skype® for Business  from Intermedia is now available!  The next generation platform of Microsoft Lync®, Skype for Business bundles messaging, audio and video, online meetings and sharing all in one familiar enterprise-grade messaging tool.  With the simplicity and usability of Skype and the security and reliability of Lync, users get a familiar Skype experience that’s as easy to use at work as it is at home.

Below we have addressed a few of the most common questions.  Additional information can be found in the partner Sales Portal.

Q: What is Skype for Business?

A: Skype for Business (formerly Microsoft Lync) is a communications and collaboration platform that brings together an experience inspired by Skype with enterprise-grade security, compliance and control. It offers features including presence, IM, voice and video calls, and online meetings. It is built right in to Microsoft Office, so initiating chats, calls and meetings is an integrated experience within Office. For more information on the new UI, see our latest blog post.

Q: What are the new features?

A: Skype for Business offers the full Lync feature set with a new Skype-inspired interface and native integration with the Skype consumer directory search. Note: external federation with consumer grade Skype is enabled by request only.

Q: How do I get external federation enabled for my customers?

A: Partners need to submit an extended request through the partner portal and it will take a few days to process and set up.  There are no additional fees associated. 

Q: Should I be selling Skype for Business now instead of Lync?

A: As of July 20th, Lync will no longer be available to new customers who don’t have Intermedia Exchange and partners will be required to sell them Skype for Business.  Skype for Business will not yet be available to current customers who have Intermedia Hosted Exchange and partners will be required to sell them Lync.  We are deploying Skype for Business in phases in order to ensure a Worry Free Experience for our customers.  We plan to bring Skype for Business to current customers in the next few months and will release more information as soon as its available. 

Q: What if my current customer wants Skype for Business?

A: Although you can’t offer your current customer Skype for Business, you can offer them a work around.  Since the new user interface is the biggest feature update, customers can upgrade to the new Skype for Business client on their current Lync platform and experience the Skype inspired interface.  However, if the client is used with Lync Server 2010, only features supported by Lync Server 2010 will be supported. 

Q: What features won’t be supported?

A: There are minimal feature set changes between each platform.  See a side by side comparison of each service below:

skype

Q: What if my Lync 2010 customer needs some of the features that are not supported?

A: A migration to Exchange 2013 will be required for customers to upgrade from Lync Server 2010 to Skype for Business.

Q: Do my current Lync customers have to upgrade to the Skype for Business client?

A: No, it is optional at this time.

Q: How can they upgrade to the new client?

A: The easiest way to get the new client is to install the updates. If you or your customer need help starting the update we have additional information in the knowledgebase or you can call Intermedia support.

Q: Will there be a new client for Mac?

A: At this time we do not expect an updated client for Mac. However, we do encourage partners to have all their customers install the most recent updates for their current Lync for Mac client.

Q: Where can I find additional Skype for Business resources?

A: New assets are currently available in the Sales Portal under Exchange.

Q: Who do I contact if I have additional questions?

A: Contact your partner sales representative at 888.299.2522

About Kirsten Barta

Kirsten Barta is Sr Marketing Communications Manager at Intermedia