In part one of this post, I covered why Lync voice solutions can be much more difficult to support than data & networks.
Here in part two, I've provided some tips on what you should be looking for if you're considering deploying a Lync voice solution:
- check your partner’s skills and experience in voice support. There are many providers out there whose primary focus is not on voice. Voice experience & expertise is critical so always look for partner who has been supporting voice/IP telephony for a number of years. These skills will be vital especially if you have complex voice systems in place already -- co-existence with and migration to Lync voice is going to be key
- ensure they are certified by Microsoft as a trusted partner for Lync voice to deliver and support your needs
- find out what their roadmap is to embed Lync into their overall solutions – will you be able to integrate with your other systems and applications such as room-based (Telepresence) video, etc. Can they handle the entire solution (it's a real pain to deal with lots of different suppliers)?
- focus on aligning services to your business requirements rather than understanding technical complexity. In other words it’s not just about technology. The higher the number of different technologies used, the greater the complexity and the more likely there are to be several different teams, each doing something similar, but in a different context. Also don’t assume capacity management should be a last-minute ‘tick in the box’ just prior to operational acceptance. Capacity must support business requirements.
- look out for use of Service Management best practices which can help to reduce operational complexity and cost. ITIL is a good framework. Remember a good relationship between an IT service provider and its customers relies on the customer receiving an IT service that meets its needs, at an acceptable level of performance and at a cost that the customer can afford.
- does your IT partner have a good application management function to help to reduce software complexity? Size, relative age, design and complexity of the IT infrastructure and applications are key considerations. The main objective of application management is to support the organization’s business processes by helping to identify functional and manageability requirements for application software, and then to assist in the design and deployment of those applications and the ongoing support and improvement of those applications. Application management is responsible for managing applications throughout their lifecycle and if well-performed, it will result in operational applications maintained in optimum condition, resiliency and cost effectiveness.
A good provider above and beyond these criteria will help you make the right technological choice for your business, allow for easier integration and deployment and quality operational support. Having the right voice partner to support Lync is critical. If support escalation is needed, you need to know you can count on someone for fast, efficient issue resolution.
According to IDC, 26% of enterprises plan to deploy unified communications within one year and another 28% plan to deploy unified communications within a longer timescale. Having a plan for good voice service management should be considered at the very start. Does your business have it covered or are you guilty of thinking about it after you’ve purchased the solution?
image © Guido Vrola - Fotolia.com
Ann Strachan is a Senior Product Manager at Orange Business Services, where she is responsible for Unified Communication and Collaboration solutions in the international domain.
Ann has over 19 years of international business and marketing communications experience in the IT industry. She is passionate about the power of collaboration and product and service innovation covering business, technology and user experience for the digital enterprise.