Don’t be Scared of Migrating to Skype for Business

Three steps to prepare for a Skype for Business migration There are plenty of things to be scared of this Halloween, such as an army of polyester “Elsa” clones, oddly themed food (spaghetti and eyeballs, anyone?!), or the dreaded “gummy tummy.” But one thing that shouldn’t be sending chills up your spine is the idea of ditching your organization’s current unified communications (UC) solution and migrating to Skype for Business. While there are some key points to keep in mind when executing the transition, migrating to Skype for Business comes down to one word: Preparation. When you think of it
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Keys to Successful Skype for Business Installation

The question was asked at VXMadness, “Is Skype for Business (Lync) ready for primetime?” Partners are hearing the buzz from customers and are worried about Lync issues popping up. The Lync panel assured our partners it is a product that is ready for primetime. The problems occur when clients don’t properly prepare for a successful Skype for Business installation. Skype for Business is About Outcome and Culture Shift To ensure a positive quality of experience, you need to ask questions pre-deployment. Engineers can design a perfect Skype for Business installation, but if the business hasn’t done their homework about how
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Six Lync Issues to be Aware of in Competitive Situations

At VXMadness 2.0 we had a lively Lync panel discussion with experts in Lync and Skype for Business implementations. They took questions from the audience and offered advice and suggestions. Amy Freeman, owner of Global Communications, LLC, asked a question about Lync issues. She was concerned about competing against other phone system vendors and wanted to know what limitations Lync has that they will encounter. Because Microsoft owns the desktop, they have the advantage for that user. Office applications dominate most organizations, and users are comfortable navigating these programs. Adding IM, presence, and screen share features inside Office applications they
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Skype for Business vs Lync vs Skype

Skype for Business vs Lync can make anyone’s head spin.  We have had several customers and partners ask, “What is the difference between Skype for Business, Skype, and Lync?” Skype for Business vs Lync It’s not Skype for Business vs Lync, but rather Lync becomes Skype for Business. We still hear the Lync name, though, because the Office 365 rollout is not yet complete. Once all users are upgraded to the Skype for Business platform, that will fade into history. When Microsoft bought Skype in 2011, it had many in the tech world shaking their heads and asking, “Why?” Paying
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Life Without Lync

My morning was crazy. I had backed up plumbing in the house and the dog threw up on the carpet—all before 6 a.m.! Then when I finally make it to my desk for my morning conference call, Lync wasn’t working. I recently upgraded from a MacBook Pro to an iMac with a 1 TB flash hard drive. Ahh, life is good. Except when it’s not. Like today when no one in my company could get on our call. Was it my new computer?  I had to start from scratch and download every program, add-on and plug-in one at a time.
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Mobility on My Terms

Unified Communications means lots of different things to different people. Some think of it as getting their voice mails as text messages. Others think it’s dual ringing their desk and cell phone. For me this week it was taken to a new level. I was scheduled for a conference call and was told the agenda was to discuss our Partner Marketing Program. I figured this was easy enough. I do a couple of these a week, last typically 20 minutes, and consist of me walking the partner through the marketing guide and answering some questions. At the same time, we
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Microsoft Lync and Skype: What’s in a Name?

Recently Microsoft announced that Microsoft Lync and Skype will become one. Starting in 2015, Lync, their Enterprise phone system and collaboration engine included in Office 365, will be rebranded as Skype for Business. What many people don’t know is that the idea of Microsoft Lync and Skype joining forces has been cooking for a while. Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype in May of 2011 started them down this path several years ago—though the development teams for Microsoft Lync and Skype have been combined for several years — what was telling was how the Lync development team integrated into the Skype team
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Unified Communication made better by Office 365. Is this the gateway to True Collaboration?

Unified communication is what I strive for. I believe Microsoft Lync is transforming enterprise communication. Of the Fortune 100, 90 are already using Microsoft Lync, as are 70 percent of all Fortune 500 companies. According to Nemertes, Microsoft Lync is now equal to Avaya in terms of mind-share for companies looking for a new IP telephony platform. Lync is here to stay and is gaining market share. Most companies that utilize Lync initially use the IM and Presence functionality. A big factor in this is that Office 365 is driving people to the cloud for their mission critical desktop applications. To
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How to Deliver UC to your Customers: Sell Lync

“Why am I writing about Lync?” you ask? “Because I hate being lied to…”It is probably my least favorite thing in the whole world. Most of you probably feel the same way. But, somewhere along the line, we were all lied to about Unified Communications. UC was supposed to be easier, faster, less expensive, and just as robust as my old copper lines and simple phone system. And along with all those benefits I was supposed to have better communications, because my phone, PC, and mobile devices were all going to interact so seamlessly I would have an amazing “George
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What I Learned from Microsoft WPC 2014 in DC

Microsoft wpc was a great show and as a first-timer, what can I say? Microsoft is going after Enterprise Voice (EV) and they’re like a locomotive going full steam ahead. They did this show in style and they took over our nation’s capitol city. This time it’s not about the PBX. It’s about transforming the way company employees communicate – desk phones being replaced with tablets, smartphones extending the experience with Mobile Lync apps all tied together via SDN (Software Defined Networking) – wowser! Trust me, they are studying EVERYONE with a Directory infrastructure that is getting into UC –
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Platte River Technology Showcase – Baseball, Cloud Technology and a Cold One!

Set in the heart of downtown Denver, Coors Field is a fantastic spot to host a technology forum. And to my luck, Platte River Networks held their annual Platte River Technology Showcase at the Coors Field Rooftop last week. It’s the newest hot spot at Coors Field – a perfect mix of seating area and concourse with just enough room to house the booths of the vendors participating in the technology showcase. The goal? Support our partner, meet every person and company, assess their needs, offer a solution, and make new friends. Plus we get to enjoy a great game of
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HABIT #5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

This is the fifth post in our 7 Habits for Highly Successful Communication Managers. As we work to be less reactionary (Habit #1 – Be Proactive), have a clear strategy (Habit #2 – Begin with the End in Mind), and work to prioritize tasks (Habit #3 – Putting First Things First), we must have an overarching goal for everyone to win (Habit #4 – Think Win-Win). From Habit #4, Think Win-Win, we move to Habit #5, Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. According to Steven R. Covey, “Communication is the most important skill in life.” You spend years learning
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Why Universal Communication Makes Me Hate Email Less

I use email all day every day. I send hundreds of emails a week. It is a critical part of our business and we couldn’t exist without it. So why do I hate it? I can’t count all the ways, but in summary I think it is because it has turned from a communication tool into a CYA (cover your a**) tool, an “avoid real interaction” tool, an “I’m too busy to function.” tool, and an excuse that makes us feel like we are working, when sometimes we are just avoiding real work. You all know what I mean. We’ve
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Reflect, Reset, React – What does Microsoft Lync mean to a traditional telecom dealer?

I am lucky in my job because I get to meet with dozens to hundreds of telecom dealers each year discussing how they are moving their businesses forward.  These meetings are always fascinating and often enlightening.  Today one of the primary questions almost all of them are asking is: What does Microsoft Lync mean to me?  It is a fair question after all; Microsoft has been promising to win the Unified Communication game for years and, according to most accounts, has failed miserably so far.  That being said, it is almost universally agreed that this industry is at a major
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Habit 4 Think Win Win

This is Habit 4 Think Win Win, the 4th post in our 7 Habits for Highly Successful Communication Managers. As we work to be less reactionary (Habit #1 – Be Proactive) and have a clear strategy (Habit #2 – Begin with the End in Mind) and work to prioritize tasks (Habit #3 – Putting First Things First),we must have an overarching gold for everyone to win. Habit #4 says Think Win-Win. Think Win-Win isn’t about being nice, nor is it a quick-fix technique. It is a character-based code for human interaction and collaboration. Technology for the masses is fascinating. Most of
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UC Strategy – Habit #2, Begin with the End in Mind

So to dovetail into Habit #1, Be Proactive, you need to know where you are going or you will never be able to be strategic – you will spend all day every day putting out fires and dealing with what comes up never moving toward an overall UC Strategy. If you do end up accomplishing something strategic, it will have been because of luck and not because of pre-planning. The Cheshire Cat said it best when he was talking with Alice in Wonderland. ALICE: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” CHESHIRE CAT: “That
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