Even if an enterprise hasn’t yet deployed unified communications tools, there is little doubt that their employees are already using them – even when they are in the office. User demand for UC is undoubtedly there: from chat to video calling, consumers want to communicate in many different ways.
So therefore the key challenge for an enterprise deploying UC is not to persuade users of its benefits – rather it is to ensure that the level of service matches or even exceeds the experience they have with consumer tools.
This is no mean feat if you consider the difference in complexity and bandwidth between a home network and a typical office infrastructure. To ensure service quality the IT department will need to ensure that all the different elements that make up this IT infrastructure all work together in harmony. This includes the network, the end points, optimization technology and applications.
To understand these issues I spoke to three experts in Orange Business Services to discuss the steps you should take to optimize infrastructure to ensure quality of service across voice, video and mobile, which I have summarized below:
1. pre-deployment assessment
Ensuring that your infrastructure is ready for Lync is the first step in providing an excellent end-user experience. In fact, Microsoft stresses that carrying out a pre-deployment assessment is an indispensable part of any Lync project. The assessment will allow you to accurately plan capacity requirements.
2. getting video right
Video deployment with Lync requires additional pre-deployment work. For example, room setup is a big factor in ensuring decent picture quality and user experience. Interoperability remains a challenge with video endpoints. Although most videoconferencing systems can share video and voice, they all vary in terms of how they can display additional content.
3. build a security policy
Increasing use of unified communication and content sharing over Lync requires a rock-solid security policy, particularly with mobile devices. Uncontrolled use of UC, particularly on personal devices, is a potential major security and performance risk.
4. phased deployment
As user adoption is such a critical part of the success of any project, users need to be involved right from the start as part of a phased adoption. Complexity is the enemy of user adoption, and you may need to tweak your deployment to ensure that the end-user experience is straightforward.
5. post-deployment testing
Nothing can predict the unexpected and post-deployment testing will help you take remedial action when something goes wrong. Solving the problem requires a holistic view of the entire infrastructure and all of its components.
6. full lifecycle monitoring
Ongoing testing and measurement of the network and Lync traffic is essential to spot any developing issues before they occur. You need to be able to locate and resolve issues, whether they are within the Lync domain or elsewhere in the infrastructure.
After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.