Lync is finding its voice in the UC space

Toyota recently announced plans to deploy a cutting-edge, unified Microsoft communications and collaboration solution – one that includes voice, IM, video and productivity – to nearly a quarter million of its employees.

The Japan-based automaker, which holds offices worldwide, unveiled its plans to deploy the full Microsoft collaboration suite to 200,000 global employees on October 1st, 2012. While this may be big news for Toyota, the move further illustrates the “enterprise-class quality and scalability” of the platform, said Microsoft’s chief operating officer Kevin Turner in a press release.

This major announcement is a signal to IT leadership that it’s time to take a closer look at Microsoft’s full unified collaboration and communications offering. [Read more…]

Office 2013: Upcoming Licensing, Pricing & Feature Changes [Updated 11/9/12]

Important changes to Microsoft Office 2013

Microsoft has just revealed pricing changes for Office 2013. We wanted to get a couple of those top changes specifically around pricing, licensing and features, communicated to you as soon as possible.

The pricing changes are set to go live starting December 1st, 2012. To help with our communication plan, Softchoice will be hosting a webinar (same content, three different times) on the 14th, 15th and 16th of November, 2012. You can register here.

Below is just a brief outline of the changes we will be covering in the webinars as well as additional post here at Microsoft Navigator. We’ll be updating this post regularly as information gets released by Microsoft, and our team has had a chance to pull out the relevant bits for you.

[Read more…]

Significant Microsoft Pricing & Licensing Changes Are Coming December 1st, 2012

In the last couple of weeks, Microsoft has discreetly made significantly changes both in terms of licensing and pricing that will go into effect on December 1st.

Since Microsoft is not pushing communications of many of these changes directly to end customers, the supporting info is limited and requires walking through MS pricelists, updated Product Use Rights (PUR), and Partner FAQs.  Below are some of the highlights coming in December.

I highly recommend you touch base with your Softchoice Account Manager and dedicated Softchoice Microsoft Specialist to better understand how these changes will impact your organization along with developing options to best mitigate additional & unforeseen costs.

All Microsoft Server-CAL Products Affected  (Documented in Partner FAQ and will be visible on December price-list available November 1st)

  • All User CAL costs are increasing 15%
  • Device CAL costs remain the same

Microsoft believes it is time to take these steps with respect to the user CALs. The market has changed in the last decade and users are working from many different devices today. Here are the three primary drivers of increased value for customers in the user CAL. [Read more…]

Why You Need SIP Trunking – The Basics

If you have an IP-ready PBX or are thinking about purchasing a new PBX, this might be the right time to think about SIP Trunking.

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) is a standard used around the world for communicating voice or video between devices and software. A SIP trunk is an IP connection that establishes a SIP communications link connecting your business to the Publicly Switched Telephony Network (PSTN).

SIP Trunking enables voice communications and features such as Microsoft Lync’s Enterprise Voice functionality. It helps businesses become more competitive by dramatically reducing telephony communication costs and increasing flexibility and the speed of response to customers.

If you are thinking about implementing a unified communications platform such as Microsoft Lync, then you also need to think about implementing SIP Trunking.

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!

Why use SIP Trunking?

[Read more…]

3 Steps For A Successful Lync Voice Deployment

Microsoft Lync is gaining traction with organizations as more and more CIOs and IT Directors take advantage of its collaborative tools and tight integration with Microsoft Office’s productivity suite.  They’re seeing Lync have a direct impact on unifying communications, increasing efficiencies and decreasing costs.

That said, Lync is a strong contender in the Unified Communications arena for reasons other than its seamless integration with Microsoft Office.

Many IT Execs are looking for ways to deliver more flexible work/life balance solutions to staff to enable greater efficiencies and flexibility. Others are looking for cost savings and productivity gains while still ensuring excellent customer service and response times.

At a time when IT departments are focusing on delivering tangible business solutions to business users, it’s important to ensure every project has a strong alignment to the strategic goals of the organization, to assure success for both IT and the business.

Lync Voice can be the answer to all these needs, replacing traditional PBX and other IP solutions, with a complete solution that provides voice, IM and Presence – great sharing tools to enable collaboration and productivity – anytime, anywhere. Check out our recent blog post describing some of the considerations you should take into account when considering Lync for IM, Presence & Collaboration.

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!

[Read more…]

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:

[Read more…]