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Lync Factor: How Important IS a Feature?

Editor’s note: Trainer Chris Ward recently earned Microsoft Lync Server certification. This is the 15th in a series of posts during which he’ll share his experiences and advice. 

Chris_LyncServerSeries_EMAILHey groovy guys and groovier gals! It’s the weekly Lync Factor blog post from yours truly, Chris Ward. Today, I want you to think through a little experiment. With all the bells and whistles Lync Server 2013 offers, it can quickly become overwhelming to you AND your end users.

So, relax your shoulders, maybe do a neck roll, and just think for a second. What’s the most important feature of Lync Server 2013?

Is it audio/visual communications? Does everyone need the capability to pick up their headset, click on the contacts icons, and have a conversation? What about video conferencing? In this scenario, your friend is the senior networking guru. You need bandwidth and lots of it. You also need it to be up with excellent Quality of Service (QoS). While other features can endure the occasional network hiccup, video is not as forgiving.

Is it web conferencing? Are you putting a bunch of effort into getting collaboration in place within your company? Quite frankly, this is something that many companies do quite well, therefore don’t require the set up and administration of Lync. However, having “presence” (seeing when and where things are available now and in the future) and the Office document collaboration can provide an incredible boost to productivity.  Lync 2013 handles both very well.  To make it happen though, you will need to consider having a strong Exchange guy/gal on your team.  Consider Office 365 if you don’t have that option.  Cloud infrastructure is another area to keep in mind.

Is it instant messaging? Do you want persistent chat groups available to help with collaboration? Lync 2013 is fantastic in this area, but you will need to set up user accounts that will administrate the “chat rooms,” and decide on whether you want public, private, or secret group rooms. It does take a bit more documentation and you’ll definitely need to keep an eye on things when employees leave or join a group.

So which feature is it? Believe it or not, the answer in my opinion is: The feature that you need the most at the moment.

I know. Trick question, right? However, think about what our lives as administrators really revolve around. We are constantly putting out fires and building things that then need tearing down later. So it’s important to understand the features of Lync Server 2013, and what the “gotchas” can be when administrating them.

Until next time, Lync on, my friends!


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