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Implementing Microsoft lync: Lessons learned killing PBX

Shane O'Neill | March 8, 2011
Entering a phoneless world when switching over to VoIP and a unifed communications suite has cultural and technical challenges. The Marquette University IT group offers three tips on transitioning from PBX systems to Microsoft Lync.

Use of videoconferencing in Lync also varies from department to department.

"You'll see more videoconferencing in the fund raising department because they have remote offices," says Smith. "Some faculty are using it in the classroom, and business school students will use it to do their first round of job interviews rather than fly to New York."

Smith recommends running unified communications like a project, rolling it out building by building and having IT people in place to make sure the process runs smoothly.

Give Users Training, and Then Follow Up

While some users will jump all over Lync's voice and video features on their own, most will need some hand-holding, says Smith. To this end, Marquette IT offered training for users before beginning the migration to Lync.

"First, we did training classes and offered a Web site with lots of documentation," says Smith. "Then we migrate them. We follow up immediately and then three weeks later, ask if they have any questions, if they're interested in more advanced features or if they're happy with the way it is."

Keep Phones to Help with Transition

After Marquette had terminated its Siemens PBX phones — but before rolling out Lync — users had VoIP-based Polycom phones that worked with OCS R2.

People with older Polycom phones — button-less devices with a USB connection — were forced to use the soft client (OCS R2 and Lync) to make calls and many users felt overwhelmed by the abrupt shift, says Smith.

But users with newer Polycom phones (the 600 series) had an easier time moving to Lync because the 600's have an LCD screen with a keypad, menu, speakerphone and calendaring features.

"The newer Polycom VoIP phones look and act like regular phones," says Smith, "and it's important for people to still have a normal phone as a fallback when moving to a soft client like Lync."

What's been the biggest adjustment as Marquette's faculty and staff migrate to Lync?

"One-touch dialing," says Smith. "You click on a person now, and people are getting used to not knowing anybody's phone number or extension anymore."

 

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