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 help justify this, IT departments are often reluctantly allowing the Lync applications to be utilized. Many times once a few users discover and use the robust Lync offering it spreads like wildfire.
Here are some suggestions to help increase the benefit of Office 365 and Lync and achieve true unified communication:
Utilize hosted Lync to enable voice with your Office 365.
Hosted Voice makes calling simpler, more efficient, and can cut TCO for running a phone system by as much as 50 percent. Implementation of Lync voice is possible and the risks can be lowered when you work with the right partners to make it happen.
Embrace Lync video.
Lync Video transforms companies. It enables organizations to work together differently: Make remote workers feel connected, allow teams to collaborate better, train employees more efficiently and interact with customers in new ways. Lync allows users to use video in the same applications they are used to using on a daily basis. Many video investments have gone underutilized, however Lync video is easy, and users embrace it faster and more completely than bulky room systems.
Make Lync part of your employee outreach program.
Lync removes time and space limitations. We no longer have to worry about geographic location. Teams can talk and collaborate at the push of a button. Because of the flexibility of the infrastructure a user can plug in and truly control their presence, as well as access to other individuals.
Use Lync to help with a strategy for BYOD.
There is a lot of talk of BYOD but Lync enables this strategy in new ways. The experience on the platform you choose is more consistent than ever before. With all the communication routed through the Lync infrastructure it can be reported on and tracked regardless of the device. Often a user’s experience is better on a device they are passionate about using (Those people lined up at the apple store—still to this day—for the iPhone 6 for example).
Utilize Lync to better enable remote workers and telecommuting.
Gartner studies show that after compensation and health benefits the number one employee benefit millennials look for is flexible schedules. I have already mentioned this, but Lync for remote workers makes telecommuting much more effective, whether users that need to work from home on occasion, to the full time home user or remote office worker. Microsoft Lync connects people to co-workers and business processes in ways that many businesses are just realizing.
Save the conference call with video.
With the proliferation of conference calls in today’s business climate, thousands of hours are wasted because people don’t know how to speak up, or have a real conversation. People simply take turns not listening. Conference call etiquette is improved on video because it forces people to pay attention to body language and be present on the call. It also minimizes distractions and lessens the negative impact while maximizing the positive parts of communication. Enable video on every call. Make it part of your routine so calls are effective again.
Encourage employees to find new ways to use the technology.
Don’t assume you have thought of everything. The ability to communicate in near real time will change the way employees’ engage, think, and behave. Allow and encourage innovation. Your survival as a company depends on it.
Spend time teaching employees how to use the technology.
Training dollars spent on UC systems are almost never wasted and usually have an exponential rate of return. Create environments where employees train each other and share ideas. Set aside time specifically for training. Don’t allow the fear of something new to keep people from embracing a powerful business evolution.
The world of true Unified Communication – the ability to talk to who I want, when I want, where I want on the device that I want is going to continue to change the way business is done.
Instant Message and Presence are starting points of a journey, not the destination. Consider the power of a true collaboration system and realize the incredible ROI and overall company benefit it can bring.