Microsoft Lync: Making the Most of Your Investment

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This article excerpt, by Martin Large, originally appeared here: http://bit.ly/1ak8R8h

Lync is heralded as a complete unified communications solution for business that brings together a number of technologies in one easy-to-use application – small wonder that many organizations have decided to invest in the technology.

According to Microsoft, organizations can expect to see:

  • 5-30 percent reduction in travel expenses
  • 30-95 percent reduction in audio conferencing charges
  • 15-30 percent savings on real estate and facility costs

However, the reality is that many organizations are not reaping the rewards from the deployment.

To use Microsoft Lync effectively requires a cultural change in order to embed the new ways of working into the organization that Lync creates. One of the best examples is email. Emails have become the defacto way to communicate in many organizations and Lync could be a great way to reduce the number of emails per day and improve efficiency. How? By sending an instant message (IM) instead of an email. People tend to respond more quickly to an IM than an email. And remember that an IM can be recorded within Microsoft Exchange so governance can easily be maintained.

Another great feature is presence. It enables you to see when colleagues are available and how best to contact them. Industry statistics claim that using presence management in Lync equates to a saving of 30 minutes per person per day – that’s 16 man-days per person per year!

Once you have Lync, you can become part of the “Lync Federation.” Lync Federation allows you to connect with customers, suppliers and partners who already have Lync, but for those organisations that don’t, you can use the Lync Web App to ask them to join a Lync Meeting. The system offers a range of communication modalities to choose from – you can escalate an IM to a VoIP call or set up a video meeting. And you can move seamlessly between these modalities as they are all part of the Microsoft Lync platform.

Lync is also now entering the meeting room. Microsoft’s internal studies have indicated that it takes an average of eight to 12 minutes to begin a meeting using technology. Little wonder that solutions such as SMART Room System for Microsoft Lync have come along that reduce the start-up time for an active session with full access to audio, video and presentation data to just a single click of a button! The system has proximity detection – an innovative feature enabled by sensors that automatically detect user movements to turn the display on when you enter the room and power off when not in use.

The solution simplifies the collaboration experience for both virtual and face-to-face participants and provides seamless online collaboration through sharing of real-time video, voice and data. After all, what’s the point of being able to hear and see each other if one party still has to write everything up on a flipchart or dry whiteboard and then wait till the others on the videoconferencing call see it and then write their comments on their flipchart/dry whiteboard? Seems archaic, doesn’t it? Using a SMART Board, presentations can be annotated over using digital ink and all participants can share and add their contributions in real time. At the end of the meeting, the annotated notes can be sent out immediately. Meetings become more productive and effective.



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