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Due to the sheer number and size of companies that buy IT solutions from Microsoft or its resellers, Lync (a.k.a. Skype for Business, S4B, or SfB) is one of the most widespread real-time messaging systems used in business today.
Widespread, however, doesn't mean successful.
Lync's biggest challenge today is being "just IM"—ephemeral, not mission-critical private chatter.
This use of real-time collaboration technology is in stark contrast with services like HipChat, Fleep, and Slack, where communication happens in multi-user, persistent, searchable "rooms"—an approach that, when used effectively, can replace nearly all use of internal email.
Multi-user and persistent chat rooms are available in Lync, but both are disabled by default. Even when enabled, companies spend little effort educating Lync users about best practices. It also doesn't help that the Lync Mac client has no support for persistence, or rooms.
In the time since Sameroom launched in early 2015, we've been surprised by the number of people looking for a Sameroom Lync/S4B integration. Their stories are similar: Lync is mandated by IT and management, but the building blocks for instrumenting basic chat-based workflows are simply not there: no persistent rooms, no integrations, no usable mobile apps.
We'd express our condolences, but there wasn't much else we could do. Lync runs on-premise and doesn't have a web-based API, so our answer has usually been something along the lines of
¯\_(ツ)_/¯, in the parlance of our time.
Eventually, we began to understand the severity of the situation: by limiting the official IM option to Lync, many large companies essentially force a shadow-IT-fueled, highly fragmented team chat environment.
Given this state of affairs, it's not surprising that many folks wish to connect their Lync/S4B conversations to something like Slack or HipChat—the mission control center they actually use all day long for collaboration within smaller work groups.
After shipping our first on-premise integration with Cisco Jabber, we decided to take a closer look at the possibility of supporting Lync/S4B, and we saw an opening.
Turns out, while there is no web-based Lync API, there is a thing called Persistent Chat SDK, which is a .NET library that sits on top of Unified Communications Managed API (UCMA)—a .NET library that provides access to the SIP/SIMPLE infrastructure (the technology at the heart of Lync).
Therefore, today we're happy to announce a on-premise Sameroom proxy that enables interoperability between Lync persistent chat rooms and Cisco Spark, HipChat, Slack, and many other services—even Twitter DMs.
We realize that the majority of companies that use Lync/SfB don't have the persistent chat feature enabled. This means our proxy won't be of much use to them. However, those companies that do use persistent rooms can start creating real-time, 2-way integrations with other systems today.
The current solution will work with Lync/S4B 2013 and 2015. If you need a solution for Lync 2010, please let us know.
Before proceeding with the installation, make sure you have a Sameroom enterprise admin account.
For installation instructions, see Sameroom Enterprise for Administrators.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with us, and we'll be happy to help.