Office 365/Lync Online: Rave Reviews, Huge Oppertunity & Seismic Shift In Store for SMB VARs

Microsoft has released Office365 Beta and the rave reviews are pouring in. I would say that the Lync Online features included with this package alone is "Wow" and that is not even mentioning Sharepoint, Exchange, Office Web Apps.

Frankly I think this will bring a huge shift in the SMB marketplace. SMB IT consultants are going to need shift from being repairmen/hardware fixers/server guys to doing planning, migrations, training and business improvement consulting. There will also be room for industry specific applications and innovations built on top of Sharepoint, Exchange and Lync. (yes, Microsoft has made it hugely easy to innovate on top: Check my article on integrating to Lync in 5 minutes! This works with Office365) There is huge oppertunity ahead--for those willing to find those new oppertunities. And for a new type of consultant: the IT/Business consultant.

Check out some of the twitter chatter below:

(google! Ouch!)

I know that all the VOIP people of the world out there are taking solace in the fact that Lync Online currently doesn't do SIP or PSTN trunking. My opinion is that this is wishful thinking to say the least. Microsoft would have to be hiding in a cave to not realize the shattering effects that adding SIP trunking to their Lync Online offering would have. I'm just a little voip consultant that is watching Microsoft closely but I would be hugely surprised if some type of SIP trunking offering does not follow. (Why is JAJAH partnering with Microsoft to provide voip services to Lync Online? If someone has an answer how this specifically will pan out please comment.)

In the traditional SIP/VoIP world some vendors have already realized they need to get on board with the "new world" realities. snom for example, has begun the process of Lync enabling their complete line of snom phones so that they work with SIP or Lync (OCS). This means that you can use their phones with current SIP realities as well as the new Office365/Lync realities in the future. Aastra and Polycom have taken the route of using Lync Phone Edition firmware to achieve Lync certification.
SMB IT and VoIP consultants will need to adjust to the new realities. Things remain interesting!

Note: since this article I've written an in-dept review of Lync included with Office 365 that has been in demand. My guess is you will want to read it. (sorry the book length of it--a little out of character for me ;-)

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