4 Questions Customers Ask About Lync, IM and Presence

Microsoft Lync is a powerful collaborative and communication tool used by both small and enterprise organizations to improve productivity and manage costs.

One of the most interesting aspects of Lync is its ability to introduce a whole new range of ways for people to connect and share using its IM and Presence capabilities. The  challenge however, is to ensure that the IM and Presence  features are well understood before deployment, so that organizations gain the best business advantage from their Lync deployment.

To learn more about Microsoft Lync and its great collaborative features, register for our upcoming webinar hosted by our team of Microsoft Professionals who will discuss:

  • Best practices and recommendations learned from our extensive experience designing and managing hundreds of unified communication implementations
  • Answers to common questions around Lync, IM and Presence
  • The how-to’s of integrating Lync with legacy PBXs
  • The Basics of SIP Trunking –a primer for the future
The webinar will be followed by a Q&A so you will have an opportunity to discuss your unique challenges with our Microsoft experts. Register Now!

Over the past couple of years, we’ve completed many Microsoft Lync deployments for customers all over North America, and in each engagement, we’ve found that a few common questions around Lync, IM and Presence always come up. We thought we’d compile four of the most common questions and answers for you here, to make your Lync deployment easier, so here they are:

1.How do I get started with Lync?

With a single Lync Standard Edition Server you can easily begin to experience what the power of real time communications can mean for your company. A Standard Edition server is ideal for pilot and lab deployments or branch offices that do not have high availability and performance requirements. It is intended for deployments with fewer than 5,000 users either in total or at a particular location.

Before initiating any deployment however, we recommend organizations spend time getting a baseline read on their existing systems. As Lync connects in different ways to different systems, it’s important to assess where the “touchpoints” are and how they’ll be affected by the implementation.

Softchoice had developed a Lync IM and Presence roadmap service that identifies:

    • Organizational and technical challenges
    • Benefits and risks of a Lync deployment
    • Infrastructure or technical gaps in the environment that might need to be addressed before proceeding.
    • Optimization opportunities with Active Directory, network health, Exchange, current IM/Presence as well as security, hardware and compliance

You can download an overview of the Softchoice Lync IM and Presence Accelerator service. Let us know in the comments below if you’d like anything added to the overview.

2. What other Features Do I Receive with Lync Standard Edition Server?

Lync Standard Edition comes with internal voice, video and web conferencing capabilities as well as white-boarding and remote desktop or application sharing. An interesting feature of Lync is “Federation”, which allows your users to securely connect both internally and externally with trusted partners or customers outside your company, also running Lync or OCS. It also allows users to invite customers not running Lync or OCS to schedule meetings via a web application (Lync Web App) or free downloadable application (Lync Attendee).

Microsoft Lync Remote Access allows users to securely connect to Lync with only an internet connection (no VPN) from where ever their location is. This untethers the user from the office and allows them all the same functionality while on the road or at the home office.

If you want users to connect remotely or want to invite customers to participate in a Lync meeting, you can do this using Lync Edge Server which allows for Federation, Remote User Connectivity and Public IM Connectivity.

3.What is Lync Archiving & Monitoring?

Archiving 

Many organizations, especially in the healthcare and finance sectors are legally required to keep an archive of Instant Messages (IM) for future regulatory review. Fortunately, Lync Server lets you archive IMs, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

    • If you require archiving, you must define the scope of archiving requirements for your organization, retention timelines, and when to purge data. You may have to consider if your SQL database has sufficient capacity for IM storage
    • Do you need to archive both internal and external communications and which workloads do you plan to archive.
    • What are your backup plans in case of an archiving system failure? There are lots of alternatives; you will need to have one in place, especially if archiving is a mandatory function.

Monitoring

While archiving may not be required, we strongly recommend Lync monitoring. Monitoring helps you manage the quality of calls by gathering statistics around usage and quality of messages, video or phone calls. It does not record the contents of a communication.

Monitoring is very helpful to troubleshoot any issues that arise, as it provides a constant stream of performance data and, for example, can help you determine if you need to scale the environment depending on usage. There are more than 40 different Monitoring Server Reports available that outline system usage, user activity, call reliability, and media quality statistics.

4. Can I extend Presence and IM to other applications?

Out of the box Lync is extensible with all other office applications that support Presence. For example, instead of replying to an email in Outlook, a user can choose to reply with an Instant Message instead, if they notice the sender is online and available. Another user may have a question about a posted document in SharePoint. Lync shows presence in SharePoint allowing the user to begin an IM session right from SharePoint.

We hope these 4 points are helpful to you as you consider Lync. If you have other questions, feel free to comment below and our Lync team will respond.

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About Joe Gonzalez

Joe has over 27 years of experience in providing practice management, consulting, professional services and software solutions to large enterprise customers in the US and the Midwest Region.