How to get the most value from your Microsoft Lync, UC deployment
Microsoft announced Lync 2013 earlier this year with the normal pomp and circumstance that Microsoft typically gives many of its products. The latest release of Lync enables a high quality, collaborative experience that includes desktop collaboration, mobile unified communications (UC) and voice services prompting many companies to give Lync a serious look.
However, most companies have been investing in legacy communications infrastructure for decades and workers have built existing processes around these systems. These legacy solutions are well embedded so doing a “rip and replace” from an older system to Lync isn’t very practical.
The question is then, what is the right strategy for an organization to deploy Microsoft Lync? I suggest the following steps to migrate to Lync:
- Deploy Lync as a parallel application to the communications infrastructure. Use it for web sharing, chat, presence and other functions but do not disrupt legacy voice functionality. Augment the worker’s toolkit, don’t disrupt it. This will allow workers to try Lync and use it and get comfortable with it with no real downside risk.
- Enable Lync voice. This could happen in one of three options, based on the aggressiveness of the organization. The most aggressive option is to move directly to Lync for voice. More conservative organizations should consider simultaneous ring where the traditional phone and Lync client can ring at the same time. Very conservative companies should leave the legacy system in place for external calls and then use Lync for internal communications. The primary goal of this phase is to ensure workers gain familiarity with using the Lync client.
- Retire the legacy PBX system and make Lync the primary voice platform. Once users gain familiarity with Lync organizations should migrate any business application that’s tied to the legacy PBX to Lync, fully migrate to Lync for voice and retire the old system.
- Deploy Lync mobile to road warriors, telecommuters, business leaders and other groups that require better communications when out of the office. Additionally, Lync mobile should be part of any organization's bring your own device (BYOD) plans as it enables greater collaboration over consumer devices.
- Turn on Lync video. Lync 2013 is a powerful video platform that should be leveraged by any organization looking to drive greater collaboration. Video can significantly improve the retention of information and make meetings run more efficiently as well as significantly reduce travel costs.
- Integrate Lync into business applications. IT leaders can create competitive advantage for their organization by building Lync components, such as click to call and presence into business applications. These communications enabled applications can streamline many business processes by removing the human latency that exists in many business functions today.
As companies go through the deployment, many challenges will arise. This includes security issues, interoperability challenges and application integration. Many of these challenges can be addressed by deploying an enterprise session border controller (E-SBC) and session manager. The session manager can be used to significantly reduce the complexity found when integrating Lync with legacy infrastructure by normalizing protocol differences, bringing together dial plans, routing sessions and providing a common trunk-side interface for application integration. The E-SBC provides a demarcation point between the SIP trunking services and the on-premise communication systems. The E-SBC can protect against security threats, route sessions across multiple trunks and maintain services in the face of outages.
If leveraged correctly, the combination of a session manager and E-SBC can significantly simplify the deployment of Lync and minimize the security and management risks associated with the move from TDM to IP communications. IT leaders should deploy this tandem, look to the future and get aggressive with Lync deployments.
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst at ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice. Prior to ZK Research, Zeus Kerravala spent 10 years as an analyst at Yankee Group. He joined Yankee Group in March of 2001 as a Director and left Yankee Group as a Senior Vice President and Distinguished Research Fellow, the firms most senior research analyst. Before Yankee Group, Kerravala had a number of technical roles including a senior technical position at Greenwich Technology Partners (GTP) where he worked with Johna Til Johnson, the founder of Nemertes Research. Kerravala holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.
Transforming Business Communications using Microsoft Lync
Read the full whitepaper written by Zeus Kerravala which provides guidance on why and how companies should leverage Lync for enterprise voice communications as well as presence, chat or other